Ford Territory-replacing Endura zooms into view

30 January 2018

IT WILL have taken quite a while by the time sales start at the end of 2018, but at long last a large Ford SUV will take a – if not the – place vacated by the demise of the Australian designed and built Territory, which went out of production during 2016.

Only a part replacement? That’s because, for all intents and purposes, only one iteration of the latter will be replaced. More on that later.

The Ford corporate nose photocopier has been working overtime, as this face is familiar in everything from Fiesta up!

The vehicle in question is the Endura, a mid-to-large SUV that is known elsewhere as the Edge. Engineered in the USA and built in Canada, it’s been around in one form or another since 2006, and sits above the Escape mid-sizer in the brand’s model line-up.

Now, none of this is actually news if you’ve been following Ford Australia’s fortunes over the last few years, but what is new is that the company has finally revealed exactly what the Endura will look like come November.

That’s because the facelifted second-generation model was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit just a few weeks ago, featuring a number of design and feature updates that strive to breathe fresh life into the current generation launched Stateside back in 2014.

Don’t get too excited by the huge wheels and racy detailing – this is the ST high-performance 2.7-litre turbo V6 we’re not getting. Pity.

Nothing too radical has changed, but what is different does give the Endura/Edge a more contemporary visage. Sleeker than before are the now all-LED headlights, bookending a very wide grille. Restyled bumpers with reshaped air intakes, mildly tweaked tail-lights and a revised tailgate complete the exterior makeover.

Inside, it’s as if Ford has raided the Jaguar parts bin, because the gear shifter is actually a rotating knob; the instrumentation is now more digitised than we’re used to in Blue Oval cars, and there’s been an upgrade to the multimedia system (including in-car Wi-Fi) to improve connectivity. As with every single other facelifted model in the world today!

Driving either the front or all four wheels will be a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, so we’re expecting exceptional fuel economy here…

More importantly, there are a number of active safety and tech advances, bringing AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking), post-collision braking (to stop a hit vehicle running into another object), evasive steering assist (which helps steer around stopped or slower vehicles to avoid a crash) and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane centring. All are standard, and are on top of the existing forward collision warning, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, and hill-start assist.

Built in Canada, the Endura will be positioned as Ford’s luxury SUV flagship, though a sporty ST-Line will also be offered

Unfortunately, there are a number of things Australians won’t be getting in their Endura that may disappoint Territory owners looking for a replacement from the same family, starting with petrol engines.

This means that the Detroit show hero car, the Edge ST, is a non-starter, since it is powered by a 250kW/515Nm 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6.

Note the Jaguar-esque rotating gear knob – a hint at where Ford would like its brand to rise up to? The dash is neat if conventional otherwise.

Instead, the Endura will employ a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, driving either its front or all four wheels via (we understand) a six-speed Powershift dual-clutch transmission. Whether we see the single-turbo version that in the existing Edge in Europe produces 132kW/400Nm or the 154kW/450Nm bi-turbo is as-yet unknown. At least they’ll probably be very economical – aided by start/stop tech, in EU guise, the combined average fuel consumption figure is just 5.8 litres per 100km!

Another thing that may hold the boxy Ford SUV back is its lack of three-row/seven-seater passenger capability. Based on the Mondeo mid-sized sedan platform, it’s only made as a five-seater in Canada (though there is an elongated seven-seater version for China only).

Unfortunately for Ford fans hoping for a Territory replacement, the Endura will only offer five seats… no third-row version is available

Ford’s response to this, predictably, is that the Australian-engineered, Thai-made Everest wagon provides all the three-row seating (plus superior towing) that a family could need. Note, though, that the latter is a separate chassis vehicle while the Endura/Edge is a monocoque.

Based on European pricing, Ford will most likely position the Endura as a flagship SUV, which means it might kick off from well over $45,000 for the Trend or equivalent, and of course significantly more for the luxury-focused Titanium and racy ST-Line variants that are expected to round out the range.

Here is what the 2019 Ford Endura looked like prior to its recent facelift – as the 2015-2018 Edge; it was never sold in Oz.

So that’s all we know for now about the big SUV that’s going to be a replacement of sorts for the much-loved Territory. Further pricing and specification details will be released sometime closer to the launch date.

It’s been a long time since Ford has had anything in the Territory space, but the question is, is this Canadian five-seater diesel SUV worth enduring?

Australia’s only ever locally designed, engineered and built SUV will always be a hard act to beat. Here is a last of the series SZ Series II.


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