I have a microwave oven at home. My mother insisted on buying one after promising many delicate foods. Unfortunately, there are only two duties for the oven now- to boil water and heat food straight from the refrigerator. Unfortunately, this is the same case with SUV buyers in the country. Many buy 4x4 equipped SUVs, but most of the time the journey is on flat, tarmac roads. Many consumers have no clue what their SUV can actually do in an off-beaten path.
Ford India launched new generation of its flagship SUV, the Endeavour last year. The SUV boasts of Terrain Management System which lets you tackle every kind of surface with only a turn of a dial. To give a first-hand experience of the off-roading prowess of Endeavour, Ford conducted 'Great Ford Endeavour Drive' for select customers and media in Bengaluru on Sunday (March 5).
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Being an off-road junkie, I snatched the opportunity from my colleague. The Endeavour I drove for the expedition was the top-of-the-line Titanium variant. It is powered by a 3.2-litre engine that develops 200bhp at 3000rpm and 470Nm of torque coming between 1750-2500 rpm mated to an automatic transmission. The Endeavour comes with Normal, Snow and Mud, Sand, and Rock modes, Hill Descent Control, 225mm ground clearance and 18-inch wheels. Hence, it is clear that Ford India's flagship SUV got the basics right for off-road adventure.
On the driving seat, I had to encounter a downhill as my first obstacle. With the SUV on the 4x4 high mode, I pressed Hill Descent Control. The system essentially takes care of the optimum acceleration and braking required on its own. So I took my foot off both the pedals and just steered the SUV. For every downhill, there should be an uphill. I have engaged the Rock mode for my next obstacle and with gentle acceleration, the SUV passed the uphill section with ease and without scratching its underbelly.
Next challenge was a slush pit. If you are hard on throttle here, the result will be wheel spin which is power loss and futile. There is a possibility of vehicles getting beached as well. With the traction control and Sand mode in the SUV, the tyres got right amount of traction. Endeavour passed that obstacle like a knife through butter.
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Then there was boulder section that tested articulation of the SUV. For this hardcore section, I engaged 4x4 low and pressed rock mode on. With fair amount of zigzag motion, Endeavor competed that patch. The section also saw Endeavour's two wheels on air and other two wheels on ground many times.
The last obstacle was the most thrilling one. The Endeavour had to pass a drop which is almost 30 degree one. The steep decent means extra care while throttling and braking. With spotter giving me instructions, I gingerly accelerated SUV towards normal land. At one point I was able to see the ground on my windshield. The section also tested precise approach, break over and departure angle of the Endeavour.
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Ford Endeavour is definitely not an 'all show and no go.' It is one of the capable SUVs in the market that lets you go off-road without any addition modifications. The Terrain Management system in the Endeavour is a commendable job from Ford. The SUV has got great approach, break over and departure angle that lets you pass obstacles unscathed. Off-roading is fun and when you are in a really capable SUV like the Ford Endeavour, it gives you confidence to push hard.