Got a call from the Sales Exec inviting me for TD yesterday. But since I was out of station then, I could go today only. Along with my cousin Rushi, I went at nearby Dealer in Innova. While I was walking inside the showroom, I saw 5 people sitting inside the Test Drive vehicle of Endeavour, all excited and ready to go for TD. While I walked nearer, I saw the driver cranking the engine but engine was refusing to fire up. We just stood there for a min but vehicle failed to start up. We walked inside the showroom and observed the vehicle from the glass of Showroom. After appx 15 mins, that group of 5 just gave up, got down from the Endeavour and went away in their Swift Dzire. I could not help laughing. I was wondering, How long to wait for TD? But luckily for us, the car just started up within 5 mins and I got keys of New Endy. I had lots of expectations from the car since it was my 1st drive in 3.0 Endeavour (could not get TD of older 3.0 Thunder+)
The moment keys were handed over to me, I was surprised. I checked again if the keys belongs to Endeavour. There were 3 keys in the bunch along with a remote keychain. The size of the key is soo small, that it can be easily mistaken for keys of a Bike/ scooter. Now a days people like to flash the keys of their machines. But nobody will flash the keys of his Endy for sure. I started the car and it started smoothly and idled silently. I shifted the Gear lever in D and the moment I accelerated, car moved forward enthusiastically. The acceleration is pretty strong for the size of vehicle. But what disappointed is engine noise level inside cabin and overall refinement. The engine noise is to be heard to be believed. It was clearly higher than Fortuner (and Innova too). The route mentioned was hardly of 2 kms (and it was a straight one) since vehicle was not yet registered else I was planning to drive to nearby hill. Since it was a straight road, could not judge handling of the vehicle but ride was something which bothered as well. Even on small undulations, the rear suspension was bumpy (bloody leaf springs). Gearbox was pretty responsive in upshift and downshifts but there is no gear indicator which I feel is very necessary for for Auto vehicles. Within no time, it was time for U-turn. I turned and realised that turning radius is not as tight as that of Fortuner. I had to reverse. While I shifted to reverse, the central Touch-screen display, showed crisp picture of behind. While I again shifted to D, the Display again displayed clear and detailed map of surrounding area (Q7 too has got GPS Navigation in its MMI but its not functioning, the reason being "Indian maps not yet ready"-SHAME). Since it was a drive of just 2 kms, I could not judge the vehicle well, but I got a fair idea of what the vehicle is like and there was nothing which impressed me except the central Touch Screen.
Priced at 18Lakhs (ex-showroom, ouside octroi/cess limits), the Endy is priced competitively but here are few of the features which are missing (surprisingly):
1. Trip Computer.
2. Climate Control.
3. Audio controls on steering wheel.
4. Gear indicator.
5. Self-contained Remote Key.
6. Option of manual transmission in 3.0
And few features worth mentioning are:
1. Bluetooth Connectivity for phone.
2. Central Touch Display with DVD player/ 6-CD Changer/ Satnav/ Reverse Display, etc
3. Gear lever with 7 modes for P-Parking, R-Reverse, N-Neutral, D-Drive, 1st gear, 2nd Gear and 3rd Gear in that order. Last three modes best used while off-roading when u prefer manual gears.
Now after driving both Endeavour and Fotuner and knowing their prices too, I guess Fortuner is a better bet considering the Overall Refinement, Ride quality, Fuel efficiency (Fuel efficiency of Endy not yet known, But it will be less than Fortuner for sure) and Toyota brand which stands for Reliability and cost + quality of service.
P.S. Havn't commented much about interiors and exteriors of Endeavour as it is already covered at Scoop: Facelifted Endy to take on Fortuner (Pg.2)
along with pics.