New Endura Stline sharpens Ford’s SUV edge
well-equipped in St-line form, and looks sharp with its 20-inch alloy wheels.
The Endura is a five-seat wagon, Ford leaving the truck-based Everest to accommodate customers with seven-seat needs.
The more car-like SUV is sized more like the European SUVS that Ford hopes the Endura will be compared to rather than the slightly-larger seven-seat Asianbranded SUVS that are its natural price-point rivals.
Although the secondgeneration Edge has now been on sale in North America for two years, it arrives here looking tooled up, and equipment includes a power tailgate, leather/semisuede upholstery, Ford’s SYNC III connectivity with Apple/android cellphone projection to an 8-inch touch screen, and a acronymladen safety locker with park assist, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking at urban speeds, blind spot monitors, lane keeping aid, hill launch assist, and a reversing camera backed up by parking sensors front and rear. Maximum towing capacity is 2000kg.
Driving the Endura from Queenstown into Mount Aspiring National Park at the western end of Lake Wakatipu, and back, gave an opportunity to sample the many talents of the new Ford. The 154kw/450nm 2.0litre twin-turbo diesel/six-speed automatic powertrain didn’t feel as perky as the Tiguan’s equivalent, the extra forward ratios of the Volkswagen doing a better job of processing an identical amount of driving force.
The Endura also feels a more solid vehicle on the road, a reflection of its greater mass, but it’s far from being a stolid drive.
For the rigidity and strength of the body gives a stable platform from which the steering and suspension systems can do their work, and the Endura is a frisky and agile steer on those 20-inch wheels. Lateral weight shifts while cornering are kept in check by the sturdy stabiliser bars, and the onroad handling feels as sporty as expected of an St-badged Ford.
Despite these road-holding enhancements, ride comfort is maintained over a wide range of vehicle speeds and driving conditions. Even when traversing the unsealed access tracks of the national park, long lines of potholes and some eroded creek crossings did little to phase the adaptive all-wheel-drive Ford.
The St-line is the first arrival of an Endura model range that will progressively grow in number by the start of next year. Until then, just 300 St-lines are available.