New Ford Endura SUV to fill void left by Territory
FORD has finally found a replacement for the locally produced Territory but it is sure to upset previous owners.
Named the Endura, Ford's new five-seat family SUV will fill the void left in the Blue Oval's line-up caused by the closure of local manufacturing in 2016.
Ford is moving away from the humble family hauler memory of the Territory and is attempting to pitch the Endura as a more premium vehicle to compete with the Volkswagen Tiguan and higher-specification Mazda CX-5s.
Ford Australia boss Kay Hart believes the Endura "sits in its own space".
"Endura presents Australians with an SUV unlike anything we've offered before in terms of equipment, design and sophistication," says Hart.
"It builds on our extensive SUV portfolio ... from the urban-friendly EcoSport, family-size Escape ... to the off-road capable Everest."
To that end, Ford has priced the Endura accordingly. The entry front-wheel drive Trend starts at $44,990 (before on-road costs), roughly on par with a mid-tier Tiguan.
The Trend progresses from front and all-wheel drive to the ST-Line grade in both drive layouts (from $53,990) and on to Titanium trim which tops out at $67,990 for the AWD version.
The latter puts the Endura into competition with luxury vehicles such as the Audi Q5.
Ford aims to justify the steep price with big tech draw cards, among them what it calls Active Noise Cancellation, which uses sound waves to block road and engine noise from the cabin in the same way as noise cancelling headphones. It is augmented by conventional sound deadening material.
Premium features include a 10-inch instrument display and an eight-inch infotainment screen that comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the brand's new SYNC3 technology as standard.
The Endura's ample safety gear includes autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition and evasive steer assist - which helps the driver set the steering wheel angle to avoid a crash. Only the Titanium gets blind spot detection and cross traffic alert.
The high-level of standard gear adds up to a well equipped vehicle as Ford looks to gain attention in a crowded, competitive market.
Endura project manager Karen Larkin says: "It's a product that we're proud to introduce, and comes from customers wanting something a little bit special, but still with a pragmatic element to going premium.
"Endura is for customers looking to reward themselves with the latest innovations and technology, with an overall high level of features."
The Endura's long wheelbase makes it the most spacious SUV in the Blue Oval's local range.
All variants are powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel (140kW/400Nm) paired to an eight-speed automatic. Braked towing capacity is 2000kg.
Due on sale in Australia in December, the Endura will be covered by the brand's five-year warranty.