Yes, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve read the title, now you’re preparing your Disqus comment on what SUV would have been a better option. I get that.
But please do hesitate, because the Endura, for us, is a very worthwhile vehicle. This particular Endura? Trend, Magnetic Grey, FWD and no options.
As many of us here are car fanatics, it’s probably worth kicking off with our opinions about the drivetrain. So, for this great Southern land, the higher-powered version of the EcoBlue engine unfortunately wasn’t on the cards. However, we obviously do get a lower-powered version producing to the tune of 140kW - an amount that we were happy with, along with a good claimed fuel consumption. When paired with Ford’s newest 8-speed automatic transmission, it provides us with a drive that is smooth and refined; especially for a diesel.
Owing to the longer ratios of the 8-speed, the Endura is able to pull away without much fuss and without dropping gears. Ford’s intelligent all-wheel drive system simply wasn’t justifiable for us, especially due to the fact that it's another $4000. Other options were available such as panoramic sunroof, and alternative alloy wheels. As for the wheels, Michelin tyres wrap the 18-inch wheels, but as manufacturers often change tyre choice this may not be the case for you.
From the perspective of handling, it has inherent SUV characteristics that we weren’t used to, but did acknowledge before driving. As we opted for the entry level Trend, we received a suspension setup that provides a smoother ride in comparison with the ST-Line trim variant above. Fortunately, it's not an overall soft setup, however for an SUV of its type, I expected slightly more wheel travel than experienced.
The exterior for us is a highlight. Sure, we aren’t receiving the much sportier body kit of that found attached to the ST-Line, or the more posh fittings glued onto the European Vignale (more on that later), but the aggressive headlights, and over-exaggerated taillights are a nice look, and are found on any Endura.
The wheels aren’t spectacular, and the design isn’t luxurious, sporty, nor interesting. But keeping in mind that it’s an entry guise, it’s simply a “satisfactory” mark from me for the overall styling. Oh and the LED headlights? Superb.
With the exterior pretty well talked about, its probably appropriate we enter inside.
Immediately in the Endura Trend we are greeted with not-so-nice cloth seating. A strange choice considering other Trend-badged Fords do offer leather interior. So a bad mark for Ford there, but as we continue onto the dash, the status quo of the Ford vehicles in the past remains. Despite the the infotainment cluster being very easy to use, it isn’t remotely spectacular to look at. But it is improved with the B&O sound system (Optional in ST-Line and Titanium), and the SYNC3 is fantastic, while being rather simple to use - especially when compared to other systems such as that in Mitsubishi.
Otherwise SYNC3 functions as a good gateway to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
One of the highlights of the interior, especially for the driver. Is the fully digital driver cluster, with all readouts digital. It is most useful for controlling entertainment on-the-go, and without having to focus down on the primary 8-inch colour touchscreen.
Gently stepping into the second (and final) row, the occupants are reminded of what is up front. However for comfort; it's hard to fault, both front and rear. There's ample headroom, plenty of foot room, reclinable rear seats, and handy charging sockets.
So, I would happily talk about the third row of seating… but there isn’t one. For us it wasn’t a consideration, however those wishing to replace their Territory or wishing to upgrade to a seven seater, an Endura is likely not going to be the answer. So in lieu, the boot offers a good amount of space (common for many SUVs really) with the cargo net keeping items in place far easier.
To describe the interior in a fews words: spacious, leather-free, quiet, rather boring, comfortable and soft!
In terms of interior build quality, it's good. It won’t match European Ford vehicles for sure, and may struggle against Japanese rivals.
Lastly, the Rotary E-Shifter is nicer to use than many would guess or even bet. In fact, it can feel like a weapon system found on a Bond car sometimes!
Safety is obviously very important, so the seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking, evasive steering assist, and lane-keep assist that can be found standard on all variants helped tick that rather large box. Naturally, some more advanced features are reserved for range-topping Titanium variants.
The Endura is only twelve months old, meaning ownership costs have unsurprisingly been minimal. However the $299 service plan helps to keep costs low (for the first few years at least).
If Ford are considering bringing a refresh to the range, I’d like to see the addition of partial leather seating, similar to that found in ST-Line variants. Also, a rear cargo blind wouldn’t go astray either.
As for the rest of the range, I find it hard to understand that the Titanium variant actually loses some over the ST-Line, such as body kit, black interior headlining and better handling suspension. This begs us to think that Vignale really would make an ideal replacement for Titanium trim variants, or perhaps an adjustment of.
Ultimately the Endura is perfect for us, and we are still happy with the choice after having the car for twelve months. So for those considering updating their existing SUV, or simply wanting a new family car, despite the lack of noise made at launch, the Endura is a quiet achiever and may surprise you on a test drive.
Any questions? I'll answer them below!