The Endeavour, launched in 2003 was Ford’s fourth product to launch in the Indian market after the Escort, Ikon and the Mondeo. It was amongst the first of the many full-size SUV’s to come here.The Endeavour was based on the Ford Ranger pick-up series that was sold in markets like Australia and the middle east.
It was sold as the Everest in other emerging markets such as Thailand and the Phillipines to name a few. In fact, the Ranger and Everest shared many of its components with Mazda models, notably the Navajo full-size SUV and the BT-50 pick-up truck. This was because Mazda was in a technical collaboration with Ford back then and the latter had a sizeable amount of stake in the Japanese manufacturer.
The year 2003 saw a lot of launches taking place in the SUV space here. These include the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Terracan, Maruti Suzuki Vitara and the updated Mitsubishi Pajero. Suddenly in no time, the premium SUV segment was formed here consisting of these models.
To make it more competitive, the affordable SUV segment below was breathing down its neck. Mahindra launched the Scorpio at around the same time and Tata brought forward the Safari petrol in order to get a good chunk of sales in the segment. This made it tough for the models sitting above, but the CR-V and the Endeavour thrived under pressure, leaving others to falter.
Speaking of the Endeavour, one of its strong selling points earlier was a strong 2.5 litre turbo diesel engine sourced from Mazda. This engine produced 110 BHP of power and 243 Nm of torque. The Endeavour was offered in both 2WD and 4WD variants, with the latter being in good demand.
Another such reason was the large dimensions of the vehicle which gave it an imposing feel on the roads. Back in the day, there was nothing quite like the Endeavour in terms of size. Handling was also never in question, with the engine having great pulling power despite feeling a bit underpowered in the specifications front.
The Endeavour was launched at a price of Rs.14 lakh and with the features it offered, it felt like money well spent. Though reliability was not the best in the segment, it made up for it on the drive and fuel consumption front. It was offered in only a diesel variant as Ford were adamant on getting the car to start well.
The year 2007 saw the Endeavour receiving a much needed facelift. It featured a lot of changes both on the exterior and the interior. The most noticeable one is the exterior design, in which the front and rear of the vehicle were revised. It even got a new interior which was more attractive looking compared to the first model.
But, the major change on the facelift was the bump in power it carried. The 2.5 litre diesel engine now made 143 BHP of power along with 330 Nm of torque. The following year, Ford also launched it in a Thunder + variant, making it the most powerful SUV in its class.
Powering the Thunder + was a 3.0 litre turbocharged diesel motor, making 154 BHP of power and 380 Nm of torque. Thus, the Endeavour Thunder + was directly put into competition with the recently launched Pajero facelift. The Endeavour was a superior model compared to the Pajero and was rightfully winning the battle back then.
Then came the Toyota Fortuner in 2009, which massively impacted sales of both models. The runaway success of the Fortuner prompted both automakers to give a response. While Mitsubishi stayed back, Ford introduced another facelift of the Endeavour in 2010.
Though a minor facelift, it was an important one in Ford’s point of view. This was because Ford wanted to cash in on the better ride progress on the Endeavour, which was better than the Fortuner. They slightly reduced the suspension of the car and the engine was placed horizontally compared to the previous model.
This allowed for better power delivery coupled with decent handling which gave way to a great driving experience altogether. Ford also slightly tuned the engine outputs for the Endeavour facelift. Thus, the 2.5 litre and 3.0 litre turbocharged diesel motors became the smoothest ones in its class.
But, sales were not at the level of the Fortuner despite showing a steady increase. On hindsight, the Endeavour reached the 2 lakh sales mark in the year 2013 and Ford launched a limited edition model of it. Since then, sales fell apart due to less demand and interest of the consumers in the segment.
Ford finally launched the second generation of the Endeavour to the Indian market in 2015. It looked light years ahead compared to the outgoing model. The Endeavour also ditched its wide-body chassis in favour of a more flexible and appropriate one.
Ford claimed that it was an all new vehicle back then and the big Ford looked pretty impressive on paper and also in real world conditions. It was launched at a time when the Fortuner was also nearing a new update. It was offered with a choice of two new diesel engine options.
These include a 3.2 litre turbocharged motor along with a 2.2 litre one. While the former made a massive 197 BHP of power and 480 Nm of torque, the latter came with 158 BHP of power and 385 Nm of torque. The former was amongst the most powerful engines offered among its price range, which was around Rs.30 lakh.
Unfortunately, the 3.2 litre motor had to be discontinued this year as Ford were not willing to upgrade it to the BS-VI emission norms. This managed to dissappoint a lot of enthusiasts and kind of took away the power game from the Endeavour, which was known for it. Ford recently launched a new 2.0 litre turbocharged diesel motor for the vehicle which complied to the emission norms.
But the legacy of the Endeavour still remains today here and it is a vehicle which continues to command a strong road presence even today. The Endeavour, despite its struggles will always be a successful product for Ford in India as it introduced us to the full-size SUV culture. Ford are readying the next generation Endeavour for 2021, which will no doubt increase its massive fan following here.
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