The Raakshas comes home - a.k.a. Ford Endeavour.
This blog post covers my purchasing and ownership experience of Ford Endeavour. Please note I won't be writing about the tech specs etc. as that you could get it from Ford website. This is purely a purchase, delivery & experience blog. Hope you'll enjoy reading and sharing !
So it was the time again in my life when I got the urge for upgrading my ride and true road companion to a better ride and more capable than my currently owned Mahindra Scorpio. The reason - well just the urge for a better capable car but on of our drives where we got stuck on a melting glacier, with snow slush, negative temperatures and literally no oxygen, it gave me a reason to move on to a better capable SUV than the existing beast. In the transition, it also gave an opportunity for our beloved family toy car Hyundai Santro to give way for its sibling and big sister Hyundai i10 Automatic that can help my wife and dad have a smoother, better and clutch-less driving experience. In this post, I'm documenting my research, purchase and post-sales process so that others can take an informed decision for their purchases.
So it all started back in 2011 when I bought my first SUV, a Mahindra Scorpio, 2wheel drive variant and literally made use of it for On and Off road expeditions all over India. It is a vehicle I trust and can blindly recommend anyone to buy it without a second thought. The vehicle deserves a solid applause and it's a vehicle that will not let anyone down provided you know and understand its limitations and strengths. Scorpio served me well for almost 6 years without any major issues other than regular wear and tear and that too was minimal.
The servicing experience could have been better though and this is one area where Mahindra need to improve a lot and I mean a lot if they would want to retain a customer for life. Even thought Mahindra today has good fan following and increasing customer base, they in my opinion lack customer centric it's and do not seem to have a winning customer experience team who can retain a customer for long. Well anyway that's my opinion and it's totally based on my experience with the brand.
As it was an urge to upgrade, the only options I could think of were in order of priority for me was
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
I have been always admiring about Mitsubishi Pajero and always wished to buy it someday. The only question was when ! And this was the time when I started my process of shortlisting the SUV's I would consider to buy, it topped the list. I began the process of researching about it and found out that it's a very reliable car for Indian roads and would serve well for some good years to come. It does have the capabilities I would want in my next SUV and is just above the price bracket I wanted to invest in the new SUV. So I called the guys in bangalore for test drive and the guys came promptly on the day I asked them to come. Test driving the Pajero AT (the only variant) was fun. I took it to extreme off-road terrain, on road, slush, gravel, mud, rock and what not and it didn't disappoint me. I was pretty convinced that this is the suv I want and seriously started looking at buying options. While doing the research and talking to few of my friends, I understood that the car is truly a good piece of off-roading machine BUT the only and biggest downside is the Mitsubishi service network and whatever exists, is only a joke. A lot of people have been complaining about the service network and the current ones do not get the service, a premium car segment customer would expect to get specially from a Japanese company like Mitsubishi. This was a bummer and I started contemplating the decision and finally dropped it as the car service and network is important specially when you plan to do off-roading and that means you'll break a lot of stuff and would want the parts to be available on demand. Well, that was the end of my dreams to own a Pajero 😭
This pushed me to look at alternatives and here Toyota was the second choice for me so started looking at it as the next bet. I called but dealerships at Bangalore for details and test drives. One of them responded out of 3 with a positive response that he can get a vehicle for TD. The dealer promised to come on a day we agreed and did not turn up 😒 I called them again and got another date and time. This time he called one day before the scheduled TD and assured me he will be there with the vehicle but it will be a manual WHEREAS I was only interested to buy an automatic variant, so I refused to take the TD of the vehicle. After couple of weeks, another dealer promised a drive and literally came for it as well. I was happy that this will help me TD Fortuner AT, too-hoo!
So finally he came and we did the test drive on the same track what we used for Pajero and immediately my reaction was that Pajero wins here. But the nay issue was the post sales service which I didn't wanted to take risk with. I liked Fortuner for its abilities on off-road and on road but felt that it was well suited for a long distance highway cruiser than a true off-roader or a family city SUV. The downer was its truck like feel of the steering, yes it was heavy and heavier than my current Scorpio which made me think if that's something I can live with in city traffic and highways and the answer was - confusion !!
Luckily in about few weeks Toyota announced the arrival of its new variant in India but it was 4months away. I was ready to wait as there were no other SUV's I could bet on and hence decided to wait. In the mean time I started researching on the new variant of Toyota Fortuner and Pajero as well so that I can track their entry and plans for India. I also thought why not test drive Mahindra Rexton and Hyundai SantaFe very well knowing that they're not off-roaders But an urban cross overs. I still wanted to test drive them just for my satisfaction. So I started looking at the dealers who can provide me a test drive and believe me I have not been able to drive them even till date after trying for almost 4-6months. This really pissed me off and I decided I won't want to give business to dealers and brands that do not even have a test drive vehicle....so I dropped it from the list.
One fine day, in office while talking to one of my colleague, he mentioned why not try Ford? And I said what Ford? And he said yes, the all new Ford Endeavour looks good and is pretty capable SUV with a decent network and company backing. It just made me think and I started researching for the new Endeavour. I saw the pics and videos on the Endeavour and immediately liked it. The style was butchy, meaner, beasty, the interiors looked premium, the styling was as per my taste and pricing was something I could stretch for if the mechanics are good. I thanked my friend and left office for a immediate test drive. Went to the showroom and the test drive vehicle wasn't there and neither they had a display vehicle that I could look at, but he promised me to get a vehicle in next few days for a test drive and I had no other option but to leave the place hoping to see it in flesh soon.
The guy came on next weekend for a test drive and the top end 3.2 AT variant which is what I wanted to drive and see. So all good on that and we went for a TD. The guys who came from the dealership were not aware much of the 4x4 features or if the car had some of the features I asked but knew only the stuff they were trained on. Anyways, so I took the test drive vehicle through my favourite track which is just few kms from my place. The terrain there is a mix of rocky road, mud road, gravel, sleep inclines, declines, slush, pit holes, strippers and all that would would want to do in a 4x4 vehicle. So the vehicle performed wonderfully well on all terrains and conquered everything I threw at it much better than Fortuner and in fact Pajero as well. I liked the wonderfully light steering wheel of Endeavour as that added to driving comfort. Here's a list of things I noticed on first drive and I liked / disliked
Super light and fun to drive smooth steering
Engine power is just awesome for on-road and off-road drive
Whisper silent cabin, adding to the overall experience of driving this mammoth
Good visibility from the cabin and the seat hight (coming from Scorpio I liked the high seating)
Comfortable seating for drivers and co-passenger and middle row. Last row is a fight to get in and get out although once you're in, it's manageable for short drives
Overall interiors are very good, practical and luxurious
Gear shifts are at the right times and the ratios are good. No stress on the engine at any times. Even I climbed a hill at around 45 degrees and it just climbed without any effort - of course with proper controls and setting it to use rock mode. The TMS is awesome and one of the winning features of this truck.
TPMS - Terrain Management System. Is the best feature and made me take the decision on this vehicle. It's effortless system where you turn the knob and the system adapts to the settings you want to use. It comes with 4 modes, Snow, Mud & Grass, Water & Sand and Rock mode.
Other than this, it comes with 4x4 differential locking, hill decent control, traction control and creeping features and makes a huge statement with these off the road.
Sound system - being a music lover, I wanted a SUV with a good sound system and where I can enjoy my kind of music without having to change it to third party vendors and after market systems and Endeavour music system seemed just Awesome on the test drive vehicle. The system I tested was Sync 2 and had all the bells and whistles I needed or would have liked to have. The bass is a little low compared to what I like to listen to, but was just adequate.
Sun-moon roof - now this was something I used to admire always and wanted to buy a vehicle with it primarily because I love it and it makes it possible to do some awesome photography from that opening. So when I saw the moon roof feature, it was an instant winner in my mind.
Dislikes or I would say some of the shortcomings in Endeavour
No option for keyless entry - now this is something which was not a deal breaker for me but would have loved to have this feature. Not sure why Ford doesn't include it in this premium segment when they have in smaller cars...just amazes me.
GPS - When I bought it, this option was not there in Sync system and it was not possible to have factory installed system. You had to rely on external GPS systems or use Google maps on a phone. Now again this was not a deal breaker as I use MapmyIndia anyway and google maps. But as of today I understand that Ford has bundled the GPS as well in the current version of the car and if I want it, I need to shell out another 1.3lakhs INR for it. Now sincerely I think it's overpriced and somehow I feel when you use that system, you need to take off your eyes off the road, look at the screen which is now t at eye level and then look back again on the road for you to drive using the in build GPS. I tried this with mapping google maps through Android auto option and didn't like it. So, no regrets on this.
Literally, I don't see any other shortcomings in the vehicle other than I mentioned above from an otherwise feature rich vehicle.
After doing the test drive, I was very much inclined on this vehicle and almost made up my mind to go for it. As I wasn't convinced on the service network part, I spoke to few of my colleagues and friends who were Ford users to get their feedback. I was a little disappointed by the feedback I got but not so worried as it was not too negative other than higher cost of maintenance and last of customer centric sales. I gave it a thought and decided to get some more feedback and live examples and take a decision. I spent almost few weeks to decide on it vs. Fortuner or Pajero or Creta + Thar, Tucson + Thar, Thar + EcoSport but then finally convinced myself to pull the trigger on Endeavour itself. It was a hard decision and I decided to take the risk and see how it works. In this time Toyota announced the launch of The new Fortuner and that lead me to the confusion again that should I wait another few months or go for Endeavour itself! And I decided to wait for Fortuner to launch.
After few months, Fortuner finally arrived in India and not to my surprise this time, there was no TD vehicle available for almost 2 months. I kept on calling the sales guys at Toyota dealerships and all I got was false promises on getting a vehicle for test drive. I was offered to drive the 2wd version which I refused to drive. Once I went to one of the showrooms specifically to see if they have a vehicle and if I could test drive it but I was not obliged. The vehicle was only available for display and the sales guys was asking me to see the vehicle and buy it :(( This attitude of Toyota was really an experience for me and never thought that this is how Toyota expects the customers to spend their money on a product that is not even available for a test drive!! Well - this helped me to drop the Toyota from my list of cars I would want anytime in my future forget about now. Anyway to I concluded that it's Ford Endeavour and started channelising the resources to purchase the vehicle.
In the mean time, one of the sales guy from Ford dealership called me and invited me for a Ford Endeavour off-road event where they wanted to show the capabilities of the mighty Endeavour to the prospects like me. I decided to go there and see and experiences the vehicle once again. It was a marketing event organised by Ford and dealerships together. The event was good but the customers were really made to wait very long times to try the vehicle because of limited availability of vehicles. Anyway so I drove the vehicle there along with my wife and an "instructor" who was so called expert on the off-roading but knew very little about the vehicle other than the marketing terms. So we drove the vehicle and decided to book it as we were seriously impressed by the capabilities.
I told my sales person to come and collect the booking amount and send me the final offer on the price. The Sales guy sent me the offer with "0%" :(( discount and no freebies !! I was stunned at this and called him again to see if there's some scope for discounts. I was told NO discounts sir and there's a waiting period of 3m at least which was ok for me but now that the anxiety was at it full, I didn't wanted to wait for long... but had no choice. I called up few other dealers and got the same message, no discounts, no stock and it was clear that I need to wait. The response from the sales guys was so cold that I felt like that I'm begging them to sell the car to me. They showed literally no interest in talking or closing the deal.
I later understood that most of the dealers are struggling to get the stock of the new endeavour 3.2 AT Titanium version which is the top end version and hence they're pressuring customers to take the Trend version which is the lower end with literally some of the features missing that I needed like the Sunroof. So I decided to wait for it and finally gave the booking amount to my dealer of choice, Metro Ford.
Now, the purchase experience was a mix bag. I wouldn't call it a wonderful experience but neither it was a bad one. The sales guy was pretty ok, returned my calls sometimes on time and sometimes not so I had to speak to his boss few times to get things moving or get updates. I booked the Titanium 3.2AT version in Golden Brown colour and was told that the colour is not in stock and the waiting period is 2-3M. As I was ok with waiting, I told them to move ahead with the booking.
Suddenly in few days time, the sales guy called me and told me that there's an expected price hike again from Ford on the version I've selected and if I want to save around 2.5% (around 82k) they can offer a Sunset Red colour that is a car in transit to their showroom. The car was booked by someone else who had some issues with the loan and got cancelled so they can offer me the same vehicle but the colour is not the one I was asking for. This again created a lot of confusion and I started thinking about the colour and if it makes sense so spend 82k INR for brown colour that I liked. Finally after lot of discussions and deliberations, we decided to pull,the trigger and take the sunset red colour and save those hard earned money. I called the sales guy and told him I'm ok with the colour and once he gets the vehicle in stockyard, he can send me the pics and also let me do the PDI.
It was an exciting moment and was eagerly awaiting for the car now :) Finally the sales guys went me the pics on what's app.
Saw the vehicle and the heart was beating fast and the anxiety was at the top. Sales guy told me to come to the showroom for the PDI and approve the vehicle so that they can do the registration next day to avoid any delays. This was a request from me to deliver the vehicle on Thursday as I had to leave for a long road trip on Friday. The dealer cooperated and did all the stuff as per my request. I did the PDI on Wednesday, inspite of them not working on a Wednesday because of a national holiday, they made the sales guy come for the PDI which was really appreciable.
Vehicle was sent for registration next day and was made available for delivery on the same evening. It's was about 5pm when we went there for taking the delivery of the all new Ford Endeavour. Here are some pics of the golden moment
Pre Delivery Inspection (PDI) Pictures
The delivery experience was pretty good other than the drive to the showroom took us almost one hour which is usual in bangalore traffic. We were greeted by the sales person and his boss, both of them were familiar with me till now and knew that I'm a high expectation customer :) Anyway so we had to wait for them for about 40-45 minutes to arrange the documents as they had to come from the head office. After they got the documents, we completed the documentation quickly and took the delivery. They covered the vehicle with a silk cover and then we were asked to uncover it .. well it was fun and very memorable.
The sales guy handed us the keys, documents and everything and we were ready to roll. So we thanked everybody, gave a small gift to the sales guy and drove off the showroom.
I would like to thank the sales guy who helped me with everything during the sales process. The experience was good and at the end it was a relationship well made. Thanks ARJUN !
Driving it home - the very first drive
Awesome - yes that's how it was and was a big step up for me coming from Scorpio. The ride was plush, luxurious, smooth, powerful, exciting and what not. Loved the engine response, the calmness of the cabin, the stars from the moon roof and the awesome ride quality. I was very happy and was very excited of-course :) to drive the beast home.
It took us almost an hour to reach home again to pick my parents from home and then proceed to the temple for thanking GOD and taking the blessings. Spent some time at the temple, took the blessings and did the car Pooja. By this time we were already late for dinner and all of were starving.
We had plans to go for dinner after the temple visit but unfortunately the restaurant would have closed by then. So we decided to feast ourselves at Dominos with Pizzas.. and that was sooo memorable :)
A dream came true after such a long time of planning and selecting a dream car. It was a dream driving the Endeavour home for the first time. The only thing that bothered me in Bangalore traffic was the continuous beeps of the proximity sensors whenever someone came close to the car. This is one feature I would want to probably remove when driving on road specially in Bangalore as it continuously keeps beeping keeping me stressed all the time while driving the mammoth.
in our new Ford Endeavour
The Raakshas - as named by my friend :))
Ever since I've bought the new vehicle, I've been looking out for reasons to drive it :) We could do some fun drives near our house where we had good landscapes and terrain for having fun with the beast. Posting some of the experiences and fun drives we had with our Raakshas :))
Roadtrip to the beautiful konkan beach, 1400kms from Bangalore
So we started early next day for a roadtrip in our new beloved SUV that was not even having a number plate. The SUV was registered but we didn't get the number until next day so we carried on without the number plate and surprisingly no one stopped us all the way to Mumbai and coming back to Bangalore as well.
All excited to drive the mean machine on highway and on the beaches, we started around 5am in the morning. The route we took was Bangalore-Tumkur road-Belgaum-Kolhapur-Pune-Anandgaon. It was a beautiful drive and was something I will remember for life. We reached Pune by about 7:30pm and stayed at our friends house. The drive itself on highway was awesome.
Some of the differences I felt in comparison to Scorpio and some things I liked are
The vehicle was powerful and brings smile on my face with every throttle. It's very powerful and quick to respond.
Cabin noise at even 100km/hr was nil. Loved the super quiet cabin that's helps in enjoying the music in the car.
Handling of this vehicle is far better than Scorpio even in high speed cornering
Brakes are excellent and I felt good confidence even in situations of high speed braking or while turning or suddenly manoeuvres.
Cruise-control. This was something new for me as I had never driven a vehicle in India with this feature. It was a blessing to have this feature on the highway, so I enjoyed it to the fullest and experimented with all that it had to offer. My final assessment of this feature is that it's good for relaxed driving but takes out all the fun of driving on highways. Also I felt extremely sleepy as there was nothing to do while using cruise-control. So I switched to traditional driving wherever I felt I need to stay awake. Also another point to not is that when you drive with the cruise control, the vehicle maintains that speed no matter if it's a incline, decline, turn, road dips, rumblers etc and you need to take the control back which is fairly easy by just pressing the accelerator or brake. Lovely feature though!
The steering feels very light at lower speeds and equally balanced when the vehicle picks up speed. Very responsive and accurate control.
The adaptive music system keeps the noise from entering into the cabin and providing super smooth and silent drive.
On our drive we drove into various terrains. Be it slush, water, rocks, tarred roads, bumpy and broken roads and beach as well and the vehicle performed well. I was scared to actually take it into the beach waters as that can lead to corrosion so I avoided that. But overall the trip was fun and memorable in our new beast. After 3 days of driving fun, we returned back home on 4th day with loads of memories.
Accessorising and dressing up the beast
As with any new thing and specially a car, you would want to accessorise it with the best of your imagination and needs to make it complete and customised based on your preferences, I also was longing for this ever since I bought it. So I decided to take the beast for much awaited dressing up at a nearby 3M store. After talking to the store consultant, I was recommended to go for under chassis coating, paint protection and the nomad mats which is what I went there for. So I decided to do the last two and also put a sunscreen film on the windscreen (CR 70) to make the cabin cooler.
I had installed the sunscreen windshield film in my earlier Scorpio vehicle, so I decided to do it for this vehicle as well as it really helps in hot climate. The process took almost full day of work for all the three. The experience was not very good with this outlet of 3M as they couldn't install the film properly and left a lot of scratches and bubbles on it. The overall installation process also was not very good as the guys installing were all over the car and soiled almost 4 seats with liquid and grease. I told them several times to keep a plastic cover on the front dashboard while using the water spray as if the water seeps in the speaker on the dashboard, it may get damaged. The guy only used a towel and did not cover the speakers well as well :(.