My 1,400 KM Road Trip From Bombay To Kumaon, In A Ford Endeavour 2.0

By Rishad Saam Mehta

When I was growing up, I was fortunate to be around people who were passionate about cars. It was a time when new cars weren’t so readily available off-the-shelf, so second-hand cars were sought after and these would often be decades old. Yet, they would be looked after with love and affection because they had to spend some more decades with the new owner.

The one sentence I remember hearing often was – There is no replacement for displacement.
Meaning that if nothing can compensate for the reduction of cubic capacity. This was gospel truth in the days of naturally aspirated engines, especially diesel ones because common rail injection technology was as yet many decades in the future.

Photographs by Rishad Saam Mehta

Anyway, long story short, when I found myself at the wheel of the new Ford Endeavour with the new EcoBlue 2.0-litre engine, being conditioned as I was during my childhood, I had a fleeting feeling of misgiving. The previous models had been powered by 2.2 and 3.2 litre engines and this was a 2.0 l engine – the cubic capacity of an engine that usually powers a mid size sedan. The SUV it was meant to power was certainly heavier than a sedan and at times the engine would be called upon to drive all four wheels.

But engine engineering and efficiency has come a long way since my childhood because this Ford Endeavour had me beaming in no time. This new Endeavour’s endearing factor is its new 10-speed gearbox. The first in the world!

Some gearboxes are like hesitant hunters; just like they can’t seem to decide what prey to go after, these gearboxes often hunt gears and choose the wrong one that puts the tachometer needle above or below the powerband. Other gearboxes latch on to one gear and seem reluctant to let go like that irritating aunt at a party who is determined to change your status from ‘single’ to ‘settled’.

But the Endeavour’s 10-speed gearbox is the perfect partner to the new engine. It almost tangoes with it and the result is, honestly, harmony.

On my drive over the dual carriageways from Bombay to Delhi the Endeavour was on song, never straining, never shirking. The gearbox ensured that the engine was always at its efficient best. At times when I would watch it change I would feel that just like my Apple Music playlist, it too was on shuffle mode. Because, it would not follow sequence, but that is the beauty of it. It breaks sequential protocol and just goes to the gear which is right for the engine at that instant. So it will go from the third to the fifth to the second to the seventh to the fourth to the sixth perfectly matching throttle inputs and the flutter of the rpm needle. And all this is done lightening quick giving a sense that the gearbox is supremely confident about what gear to be in, at what time and for how much duration. There is no drama or emotion, moving up, moving down or moving on.

So my 1,429-km drive to Delhi was a breeze. But coming up were the Himalaya and here the gearbox would have to give up its casual fling status and sort of have a relationship – at least with the lower gears because that is what I would need on the curvy roads over steep inclines.

Fortunately the gearbox played the role of loyal partner as well as it had played the flirty playboy while on the plains. It would latch on to one gear and stay with it until it was time to move on without the engine loosing torque. On flat straights it would once again become the social butterfly.

So as far as the engine and gearbox are concerned the new Ford Endeavour is right up there with others in its segment.

Another aspect that endeared me to the car was the fact that with the 2nd and 3rd rows of seats folded flat you have a flatbed – for two. Of course you need to pack light so that you can shift your luggage to the front seat area but effectively you can really sleep comfortably in this car. I did it on the way back from Delhi to Bombay and I haven’t slept that well in a Business Class suite.

This is a great car for unhurried long-distance road trips where one might encounter smooth tarmac, river crossings and dirt trails too. It does it all with great gusto. And I am already looking forward to my next (and even longer) trip with it.

Rishad is a famous travel writer & photographer who recently spent 8-days exploring Kumaon in a Ford Endeavour. His journey to #DiscoverMore of lesser known places is captured in a three-part series.

Episode #1: Mumbai to Kumaon


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Episode #2: Watch Rishad #DiscoverMore in Kumaon


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Episode #3: Munsiyari & The Tiger Reserve at Vanaghat


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