Here’s a machine that really ought to be a lot further up the charts, but it lost out because of a few very specific reasons. Well, let’s start with all the things that we like about the new Endeavour. For starters, it looks good. It really is very big, but it manages to take all that brawn and make it quite beautiful. And with a front grille as imposing as the one on the Endeavour, you can bet that people will be scurrying to get out of your way. But for all its butch appeal and off-road prowess – the four-wheel drive version that we have here has a Land Rover-like terrain management system that lets you choose between different modes to tackle surfaces like rocks, snow and sand – it’s really very good on road as well. Body control is excellent and the ride quality is nothing short of exceptional.
Honestly, some of us felt that the Endeavour would have a very good chance of being in our top-five this year. But it’s best efforts were thwarted for the following reasons – for starters, we have a very competitive field this year and the spread of points is incredibly tight. Furthermore, the Endeavour lost a lot of points in the Lap Time stakes with a time of just over 3 minutes. In truth, the 3.2-litre 197 horsepower test car we had on hand seemed like it was a little down on power compared with the many times that we’ve driven it in the past. Needless to say, based on how it’s performed on the road on previous occasions, we expected it to be more competitive at the track. Another area in which the Endeavour lost points was in the Value for Money department. While the Trend variants of the 2.2-litre and 3.2-litre models have dropped their prices quite dramatically off late to compete with the new Toyota Fortuner – up to `2.82 lakhs for the entry-level 2.2-litre model – the 3.2 4×4 Titanium model that we have here remains just short of Rs. 30 lakhs (ex-showroom) in the capital, which translates to an on-road price of over 36 lakhs – which is a lot!
But if you take the price out of the equation for a moment, you find that the new Endeavour is not only the perfect vehicle in which to climb the steepest cliff face in Ladakh, but also a very comfortable machine in which to tackle gridlock in the city. The cabin is incredibly spacious and comfortable, and it’s extremely well put together to boot. So, if you want a machine that can tackle the back roads as easily as it handles the boulevard – this is it.