Deus ex machina
When American muscle grinder, Ford brought the Endeavour (Everest in the world market) to India in 2003, it appealed to the ethos of the alpha males...
When American muscle grinder, Ford brought the Endeavour (Everest in the world market) to India in 2003, it appealed to the ethos of the alpha males like a land yacht would. Colossal and completely American, this tank on wheels redefined the size of SUVs in India.
The car stayed true to its nature and even itself, with most major updates being as cosmetic as a few sticker job or some vinyl changes. Very gradually it lost its exclusivity, and the Endeavour (though, was the flagship of Ford in India) wasn’t spinning money as much as the newer entrants to the segment did.
But that was until last year. As the bells of the 2016 rang, Ford treated India with a delightful surprise. They got the Mustang to India. Now, Ford is here with a new and exclusive Endeavour. This is a very calculated car, staying true to the man-of-war image.
The new Endeavour is unlike any SUVs the country has seen. The tough-looking nose combines a trapezoidal grille, LED DRLs and high-intensity discharge headlights. Ford says the bonnet of the new Endeavour is “muscular”, the front bumper “rugged” and the sides “chiselled”, while the rear-end is “sculpturally refined”. We’re not sure whether they’re talking about an SUV or a Calvin Klein model, but either way we have to admit it’s a good looking piece of kit.
As you settle into the driver’s seat of the Endeavour you contemplate metaphors of climbing giant peaks or moving mountains; or perhaps even referencing Sir Edmund Hillary’s “climbing for the hell of it” anecdote. But it all seems surplus to requirement… for the world it is the Everest.
The cabin is genuinely impressive, and is head and shoulders above everything else in this class. Sit on the supple and supportive electrically adjustable leather seats, and the large screens in the gauge cluster and the center console bathe you in a warm glow. The steering wheel and the shifter both feel soft and grippy to the fingers.
The car is equipped with Ford’s SYNC 2 infotainment system. The 8.0-inch touchscreen offers easy access to the audio system, climate control, sat-nav and telephony functions, and is operable via voice control in case your hands are busy twirling the wheel off-road. The 10-speaker unit includes a sub-woofer and is also equipped to offer Wi-Fi, CD, USB and SD card connectivity.
The only thing that gives you a window to complain is the infotainment system. The touch response is sometimes so bad that it might remind you of the good ol’ days when Chinese phones with TVs and annoyingly loud speakers were doings its rounds. Even those, if my memory serves right, had poor touch response.
Drive and handling
This is possibly the best part about the Endeavour. The car handles much smaller than the size would have you believe. As we were driving it, it constantly felt we were in a much more compact vehicle. The steering is just overly assisted when crawling along parking lots. Combined with the extremely tight (for its size) turning radius and the rearview camera, parking the Endeavour might be something your 80-year-old grandma can do.
Upon gaining some speed, the steering clearly firms up, and despite the lack of road feel, the car handles well at a fast clip. Body roll and body dive are both controlled well during cornering and braking. The SUV handles the muddy and rocky terrain with aplomb. Ride height is good, and the suspension soaks up the bumps like a duck takes to water. Overall, it is great both on and off the road.
Like we said, this is the Deus ex machina for Ford in India, which means "god from the machine". It also means a plot device wherein a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. This is a feat with higher endeavours, by now it deserves to be called by its real name.