The hottest segments ruling our market are indeed SUVs and when it comes to the flagships in this space, it's the big beasts - the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Endeavour. The Fortuner has always been the King of the Hill and the new second gen car has already blazed away to 10,000 orders in less than 3 months of launch. The Ford Endeavour came to us much earlier in February last year and has steadily been making strides too with over 7000 units delivered till now. Now besides the obvious bulk and grunt, these two cars have a lot going for in terms of what segment shoppers today are looking for. Three row seating on both - check, navigation systems - check, touchscreens with connectivity options - check, electric tailgates - check! And if that wasn't enough to impress you, daytime running lights are also standard on both.
So subjectively then you need to decide which one you think looks better. The new Fortuner has lost its macho styling and has opted for sophistication and some sleekness. It gets a bit confused given the proportions of the car in my view though. The new Endeavour is certainly a lot prettier and hangs on to the masculine and squarish character that many SUV buyers like and is the more congruous design then. The Ford Endeavour is the longer of the two at 4892 mm and even has a longer wheelbase of 2850 mm. It's wider as well, though it tends to look visually narrow. The Endeavour and Fortuner are both about the same height.
|Dimensions||Toyota Fortuner||Ford Endeavour|
|Length||4795 mm||4892 mm|
|Width||1855 mm||1860 mm|
|Height||1835 mm||1837 mm|
|Wheelbase||2745 mm||2850 mm|
|Tyre Size||265/65 R17, 265/50 R18||265/80 R18|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||80 litres||80 litres|
Inside, the cabins are both well-appointed, but again the Endeavour's design comes across as smarter and more attractive because it's simplistic. The Fortuner is extremely comfortable and appears roomier and has nicer plusher seats. But what about the third row? There isn't too much space in the third row of the Endeavour while it's certainly a lot easier to get into the Fortuner's. So when it comes to the third row even though physically things are similar in terms of actual space; the sense of space is a lot more on the Fortuner and the seat itself is a little bit more comfortable too.
The only advantage the Endeavour has is that in the top-end variant, the third row is electrically foldable, which is extremely convenient. The top-end Endy also gets a semi-auto parking assist which is impressive. Both cars have parking sensors and reverse cameras of course and on the Fortuner all equipment and safety features are standard across variants unlike the Endeavour where only the top-end Titanium+ gets it all.
You can get a Ford Endeavour with two diesel engine options, while Toyota offers a 2.8-litre motor tuned to churn out 175 bhp and peak torque of 420 Nm in the manual transmission variant. The torque goes up to 450 Nm in the automatic variant. The manual and automatic get both rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive options. So Toyota caters to a large profile of buyers really. So does Ford as it has a more powerful diesel engine on offer.
The Endeavour comes with a 3.2 litre, 5-cylinder diesel which is good enough for 197 bhp while its peak torque stands at 470 Nm. There's only a 6-speed automatic transmission with this engine and only four-wheel-drive. The second diesel is the smaller 2.2 litre, 4-cylinder which makes 155 bhp and gets 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission options. The auto comes only in 2 wheel drive while the manual comes in just 4X4 on this engine variant.
|Diesel Engine||Toyota Fortuner||Ford Endeavour|
|Power||175bhp @ 3400rpm||197bhp @ 3000 rpm|
|Torque||420Nm @ 1600 rpm (MT),450Nm @ 1600 rpm (AT)||470Nm @ 1750 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed AT, 6-speed MT||6-speed AT|
|Drive||4WD/2WD (AT), 4WD/2WD (MT)||4WD (AT)|
Now the biggest advantage you get on the new Fortuner is that it's such an improvement on the last car. The last one was certainly a benchmark and a bestseller and in many ways this one just takes that and makes it better, because even though Toyota retains the ladder-on-frame chassis with this car, it's just so much smoother so much nicer than the old one in the way it handles. It doesn't have that excessive roll which we'd been used to. I am happy to report that it doesn't have that bouncy feeling and it just gives a nice and comfortable ride - something I had mentioned in my first drive review of the Fortuner too. It has a telescopic/height adjustable steering wheel that I like (and is missing in the Endeavour - which only gets a height adjustment).
The Fortuner also gets paddle shifters which aren't very quick - but still nice to have, especially when driving yourself and not handling the reins to the chauffeur - as many Fortuner owners tend to do. Paddle shifts are really necessary in a big car brute of an SUV like this but for the record, the Endeavour doesn't have them. It is also really disconcerting that when you are sitting in such a big tall vehicle - you want to try and get the ideal seating position - and it's steering does not come with telescopic adjustment and just goes up and down.
There is not even a question of comparing the last Endeavour with this one, I mean they are like chalk and cheese, this is such an improved product that it's pointless talking about last car and I have to say that it's just the level of refinement on both the engines on the Endeavour that really surprises you. While you are very happy with the performance and the pickup and the overall driving dynamics on this car what irritates me a little bit is that a lot of the engine noise filters in to the cabin. This despite the noise cancellation feature Ford offers on the Endy!
But while the Fortuner has been engineered a bit more thoughtfully, the Endeavour is the more satisfying car to drive. Handling and ride comfort are superior on the Ford, though the Fortuner's seats as I had mentioned are more comfy. And then the Toyota has another clear advantage - it's got a petrol variant. Most of the other SUVs in this class do not and I think that's a very significant advantage that Toyota has played with right from the very start.
Sure the petrol may not attract too many bookings right away, but it's not a volumes strategy that Toyota is playing here. What makes it even smarter is that the petrol Fortuner drives rather well. The engine is very refined and the gear changes are quicker. The 2.7 litre petrol engine makes 164 bhp and is available with a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox but only in a rear-wheel-drive layout. The Endeavour does not have an answer to this petrol-powered Fortuner and so it is the only full-sized SUV to get a petrol motor. Other petrol SUVs are the smaller Honda CR-V and way more premium Mercedes-Benz GLC.
Now the prices. The petrol Fortuner is offered in two-wheel drive only though you can get a manual or auto at ₹ 26 to 27.61 lakh. The diesel starts at ₹ 27.5 lakh for the manual 2-wheel drive, and tops off at ₹ 31.12 lakh for the auto 4-wheel drive. The fact that all models have the same trim and only differ on powertrain makes the Fortuner decent value. The Endeavour by comparison starts much lower at ₹ 23.78 lakh for the 2.2-litre diesel and goes to almost ₹ 28 lakh for the 2-wheel drive automatic. The beefier 3.2 litre engine is only available with 4x4 and an automatic gearbox as I said, and starts from ₹ 27.68 lakh and goes to just under ₹ 31 lakh (all prices ex showroom Delhi).
|Model||Price (ex-showroom, Delhi)|
|Toyota Fortuner||₹ 26 lakh to ₹ 31.12 lakh|
|Ford Endeavour||₹ 23.78 lakh to ₹ 31 lakh|
So which car should you buy? The answer is quite simple really, if you prefer to stay on the right side of the diesel controversy and future proof yourself; the petrol Fortuner is a capable and contemporary car to buy. Throw in Toyota's infallible reliability and even the diesel is a no brainer. So while the Fortuner may make more sense to buy overall, the Ford Endeavour is the better car in terms of performance, design and equipment - provided you can spring for the Titanium trim. And so it is the Endeavour that wins this battle here - just as it won over our jury and knocked the Fortuner out to bag the Fullsize SUV of the Year at the NDTV Car and Bike Awards 2017.