Endura may be the name Ford has tagged its medium-sized SUV with, but Sean suggests a better name might have been ‘Enigma.’
I’m going to stop shy of calling the Ford Endura a solution looking for a problem, because, whether Ford’s marketing people like it or not, the Endura is and always will be perceived as the replacement for the much-loved Territory.
Territory was viewed by many as a very cool truck: it just didn’t fall into Henry’s predilection for being LHD, so other markets wouldn’t/couldn’t take it.
Of course, when the Aussie plant closed, Ford NZ lost Territory – and potentially market share – so, how to get it back?
Someone at Ford NZ noticed the Canadian-built Enigm... sorry, ‘Edge’ – which became ‘Endura;’ the result of a copyright name clash – which sits a shoulder shrug above the existing Small Escape and a knee dip below the Large Everest.
Ford NZ quickly secured some right-hand drive Endura models in a ‘here-for-a-limited-time-only’ deal, to effectively cover a big gap in its SUV erm, territory.
These are the heavily specified ST-line models and will be replaced in late 2018/early 2019. For now, today’s Endura will keep the Blue Oval brand in the minds of those looking for a medium SUV.
For all the ST-Line Endura carries a spectacular array of gidgits and gazmos, there are elements of the SUV, which could set it back from the immediate competition.
Endura was – with the exception of models for China – only ever presented as a five-seater, rather than seven. In Endura’s favour, this means greater boot space – accessed by the powered tailgate – and the fact there is no chance of your three rear seat passengers lacking legroom.
Endura also comes to us with one powerplant option, and it’s a good ‘un; the twin turbocharged Duratorq bi-turbo boasts a 154kW power output at 3750rpm and 450Nm of torque from 2000rpm, so even if you’re not a diesel fan, you’ll like as not be happy with this one.
While driving, the engine comes across as immensely strong, complementing the overall well-planted feel of the Endura, which feels more solid in just about every respect compared to anything else in class.
Endura presently runs its power to its standard 20-inch alloy wheels via a six-speed auto with All-Wheel-Drive; and that’s it. That’s a tough ask when other transmissions on competing product are sporting 7 to 9 ratios to play with. The replacement model will likely see an octo-cog transmission.
Where the current ST-Line Endura does shine however, is the gadgetry. Name any three-letter safety acronym you like; Endura’s got it and it has Ford’s super-trick SYNC 3 with Apple Carplay and Android Auto infotainment suite too. The heated seats for rear passengers to complement the heated and cooled front seats, hints at the level of onboard sophistication the Endura offers.
Endura has a look of sophistication to it that’s hard to fault and a Ford family look too. From the driver’s perspective, it feels pleasantly ‘trucklike’ which fits in with the rest of Ford’s current market offerings – Ranger, Ranger Raptor etcetera – but has that air of refinement and on-road acceptable attitude of a top end SUV.
Should Ford have waited for a possibly more comprehensive range of Endura-badged product? Possibly, but those with clearer crystal balls than mine are only ever going to know.
Meantime, Ford NZ has a good spread across the SUV range bearing the Blue Oval, and that’s an Endura-ing proposition until the new model arrives.