Just a month ago, Ford USA decided to end production of anything other than SUVs and the Mustang, which is a nice way of sliding into the fact that Ford New Zealand has desperately needed a mid-sized SUV since the Territory bowed out a year ago. It also explains why, even though the Ford Endura is due for a facelift later this year the pre-facelift vehicle has just gone on sale here.
And if you were wondering, this vehicle is known as the Ford Edge in areas outside of Australasia, as Toyota owns the rights to the name here.
Like the Territory the Endura is based on a passenger car, in this case the Mondeo rather than the Falcon which donated its mechanicals to the Territory. The Endura is currently available only in one trim level, with a twin turbo 2.0 litre four-cylinder diesel and a six-speed dual clutch gearbox.
Now the diesel Territory was powered by a 2.7-litre V6, but since the Endura’s 2.0-litre unit has 154kW and an impressive 450Nm on hand I don’t think anyone is going to feel like the Endura has slug-like performance. There’s a bit of lag when starting off, but after that the SUV surfs forward on a wave of torque.
The dual clutch gearbox works extremely quickly – as you would expect, but the real surprise is how quiet the Endura is at speed. Since the engine has so much low rpm toque it can remain in a very high gear ratio as the Endura motors down the road.
There’s also sound cancelling technology, which further lowers engine and road noise, making the Endura a good long-distance cruiser.
The ride and handling combination is pretty much run of the mill, semi sporty SUV, with a ride that soaks up most of what the road can throw at it, and handling that is secure and slowly devolves into gentle understeer.
The Endura’s interior is very well put together, and everything feels pretty solid. The front seats are wide and comfortable, and both have ten-way power adjustment. The rear seats are also comfortable, and the outer seat positions have airbags built into the seatbelts.
As the Endura has a sporty/luxury specification it comes with a lot of spec, including heated and cooled seats in the front and heated seats in the rear. There’s also an electrically heated windscreen, dual zone climate control, active noise control, power tailgate. The interior mood light can also be set to a range of different colours to suit your taste.
The Ford Endura is more than a replacement for the Ford Territory. While the Territory was an impressive vehicle, it was ultimately hampered by not being part of a Ford global program, so quality of trims and engine choice were limited by investment and platform. The Endura, at least in present trim has plenty of high specification and refinement that should see it gather up sales from people keen to move out of their Territory.