The Ford Endeavour generated quite a fan following when it was launched in India over 10 years ago. It was big, brash, and really quiet American! It was however, a little rough around the edges. And, a few years later, when the Toyota Fortuner was introduced it did not stand a chance frankly.
But this is an all-new model. In the rest of the Asia Pacific region, its known as the Everest, but Ford wasnt able to trademark that name in India so itll continue to be called the Endeavour when its launched at the Auto Expo next year - if not even slightly sooner, perhaps in January 2016.
The first thing that strikes you when you set eyes on the new Endeavour is that it looks really good. And you can be sure that it is still as imposing as its predecessor. The trapezoidal grille that makes up the Ford family face finds its way onto this butch SUV, and it is actually quite nicely executed in this avatar. In profile, it is a bit more sedate but still adequately muscular with bulging wheel arches and large wheels. The front fender also proudly states which engine and gearbox you have under the hood. The number of gears, of course, is a constant - since both the manual and automatic versions come with six-speed transmissions.
We only got to sample the automatic, which is Fords 6R80 box thats shared with the F-series range of trucks. Do not forget, the F-150 pickup is the bestselling vehicle in the United States. So it does not come as a surprise that the gearbox responds quite well. Moreover, the Ford engineers tell us that the transmission will learn your driving habits within an hour of you being behind the wheel - and then adapt the way it shifts to suit your driving style. Unfortunately, we did not get quite that much uninterrupted time in the car so I cannot confirm their claim. Suffice to say that the gearbox was quick to respond when shifting manually in Sport mode. In fact, I would even have liked paddles behind the steering wheel to change gears. Now before you think that Ive gone completely bonkers demanding steering mounted paddles on a machine that weighs two-tonnes, has a ladder-frame chassis, and a solid rear axle, remember that this is a Ford - and Fords are known for their impressive driving dynamics. So, while the previous Endeavour may have been an anomaly in that respect, this one more than makes up for it.