Car buying is not as easy as it used to be anymore. There are hundreds of options out there, with cars coming in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and configurations at every possible budget. Add to that the insatiable thirst of the Indian marketplace for big, imposing cars, which are also somewhat affordable and what we are left with is finally a narrower field of vision. Some of the largest and most rugged SUVs in India can be found for sale within 35lacs. To help you choose your next car, we came up with this Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour vs Volkswagen Tiguan comparison test.
But why these cars only?
Toyota Fortuner is an established name in India. The direct rival in its path, in terms of rugged design and utility is the Ford Endeavour. And almost out of nowhere, Volkswagen has provided us with the Tiguan which might be the most sensible choice as your daily car.
Or, is it?
We don’t know yet, but we WILL know for sure how each car stands out in different categories which will help YOU make a better purchase for yourself, if not THE best.
The new Toyota Fortuner makes the most sense, the earlier Fortuner was good, so this must be great too, right?
Yes, and no. See, the problem is that the previous Fortuner was a great car, for its price. In a segment which was dominated by Honda CRV and Hyudai Tucson at one point of time, Fortuner stood out like a body-builder on steroids in a room full of skinny teens. Its road presence, and the overall package made people overlook its shortcomings like slow speed ride quality and the interiors, which were more like the Toyota Innova, which at the time came at under 15lacs and was a budget minivan. It was tough to call it a premium package, even at that price.
And that is exactly why the new Fortuner has come into being.
In the looks department, Toyota decided to look towards its Lexus brand for inspiration. If the curves of the older Toyota Fortuner reminded you of the Toyota Corolla, the creases of the new one would remind you of the Lexus RX, somewhat. The Toyota Fortuner now is even more imposing than before and boasts a more striking design, busy and not so easy on the eyes. Now that you know that you will turn heads in the Fortuner, let’s head over to the more important bits.
It is impressive on the outside, but what about the Fortuner’s interiors?
Interiors are good, but again, not for the price. With the top-of-the-line Fortuner closing in at roughly 32lacs, we expect a little more than exposed wires in the glove-box and a lack of use of metal components. The interiors sure feel luxurious and upmarket, but a little more attention to detail would not have bothered anyone.
Toyota Fortuner’s specifications:
So, what do you get mechanically for that price? The Fortuner is available with a 2.7-l petrol and a 2.8-l diesel engine. The 2.7-l petrol unit is capable of 164bhp and 245Nm of torque. The larger diesel mill produces 175bhp and a whopping 450Nm of torque. It is worth mentioning here that only the 2.8-l diesel unit is available with 4×4. Manual and Automatic versions are available for both, petrol and diesel. The prices for all the three SUVs would be listed together towards the end of the article.
The Ford Endeavour has no chance to survive in front of the Fortuner, or does it?
Ford could not win a court-case against a spice-powder manufacturer for the name Everest, yeap, that is what the Endeavour is called in other markets, then how can we expect it to win against the segment leader, the Fortuner? Here’s the deal. This is where things get real. The forums are all tilted towards the Fortuner, however, when it comes to driving off the tarmac, the Endeavour will DESTROY the Fortuner.
Ultimately, these are Sport Utility Vehicles, emphasis ‘Sport’.
The Endeavour and the Fortuner, both are really capable off-road. The Fortuner comes with features like rear axle diff lock, Hill Start Assist Control, Hill Descent Control and Active Traction Control. The Ford Endeavour also comes with roughly the same features, it gets 225mm ground clearance, 5 mm more than the Fortuner, though. What the Endeavour also comes with is a Terrain Management System with three settings: Snow mode keeps RPMs low for greater control, while enhanced ABS and torque control help minimize wheel slip; Sand mode provides you with a more aggressive torque transfer, a more sensitive throttle response, and even wheel slip to keep the momentum going; Rock mode keeps 4WD in first gear for greater control and maximises ABS and torque transfer to help you navigate through gravel, rocks and the kind.
However, what actually sets the Endeavour apart from the Fortuner is this:
Ford Endeavour’s specifications are something which are yet to be seen in a SUV of this budget. The top-end Endeavour comes with a 3.2-l diesel with roughly 200hp and 470Nm of torque. The Endeavour is higher than the Fortuner by 5mm, has 25bhp more, and an extra 20Nm of torque. The final nail in the coffin is the fact that the Endeavour is also lighter by 340kg. Add to this the 800mm water wading capability of the Endeavour and it is clear which SUV is winning off-road.
But, there are things which even the Endeavour doesn’t do well.
Interiors of the Ford Endeavour are elegant, just like its exteriors. They are in no way flamboyant. And as for the touchscreen infotainment system, it does not get Apple CarPlay OR Android Auto. The best thing about the inside is the neat instrument cluster. It has screens on either side of the speedo which sits in the middle, providing you all sorts of information. Even the tachometer appears among other readouts, which can be seen one at a time.
And then there’s the little issue of fuel economy. The 200hp 3.2-l diesel unit burns a liter of fuel every 10.9km, which is roughly 16% lesser than that of the Toyota Fortuner, which gives 12 kilometers to the liter.
Which one is for you then?
If you want a product which is classy and elegant, then the Ford Endeavour makes a lot of sense. If you need something which shouts ‘Look at me!’, you might go for the Toyota Fortuner. Ford Endeavour is your no frills SUV, it will get you anywhere, even in some places where the Fortuner might not, because of its higher torque and bhp figures. The overall fit and finish of the Endeavour is better, however, the interiors of the Fortuner impress more.
If you live in the city rather than the suburbs, then your choice may be different. Actually, here’s the truth.
Neither of them fit in with the city environment.
The low mileage is only expected to fall further in the city, and their enormous proportions are exaggerated in traffic. Moreover, flyovers don’t require Hill Descend Control or 4×4. Sure, you can go for the less powerful variants of these SUVs, and can use them as limos, but since these are driver oriented machines, the concrete jungle is just not their habitat. However, that has not stopped people from buying them. In fact, they have been selling pretty well.
However, there’s a game changer among us.
With dimensions similar to that of the Tucson, and priced with the Fortuner and the Endeavour, and made to target the luxury segment, the Volkswagen Tiguan seems to have it all.
It’s rivals help define what IT really is.
If backseat comfort is your priority, then the Volkswagen Tiguan is for you. Moreover, despite being a crossover, you can not call it an overpriced hatchback by ANY means. It is loaded with features not seen on either of the previous discussed SUVs. The Toyota and the Ford look like what an American football player would buy, the Tiguan however, looks like it is the daily vehicle of choice of some model, who happens to tackle some mud and bogs on the way to the location of the photoshoot. It makes the large SUVs look absolutely brash, that’s how good it is. And its strongest point is its pedigree. Thanks to the tech which has been derived from cars like this:
Tiguan’s specifications are its strongest point.
You can pretty much be assured that the Tiguan is really capable. It looks soft on the eyes, seats just 5, and moreover is low slung, and it is in fact a crossover. But don’t be fooled by its resume. The Tiguan comes with the 4motion technology, which transfers torque according to grip levels to individual wheels in real time. It always helps that the Audi S1 Quattro was a part of the Volkswagen group. AWD has been a strong point common to many cars, right from the humble Tiguan to the big Bentleys. It also has a Drive Mode Selector which allows you to choose from four presets- Normal, Offroad, Offroad Individual and Snow. It also comes with Hill Descent Control.
But there’s more.
It also comes with a panoramic sunroof, 6 airbags, ABS, ESP, and despite being loaded with way more features, it weighs just a tad more than the Fortuner. A 2.0-l TDI diesel enable the Tiguan to produce 141bhp and 340Nm of torque, which is quite sufficient for it. Where it trumps the bigger trucks is its mileage, returning 17 kilometers to the liter. That is hatchback territory.
Here’s the bottom-line.
If sales figures are anything to go buy, the Toyota Fortuner is your choice of ride, hands down. It largely dominates the market. It is no doubt, a great SUV. If you need some flash and dash, there is no better SUV in this price segment that attracts eyes quite like the Fortuner does. However, if you really need to go off the road, the Endeavour is the SUV to go for. After beating around the bush, the little fact that Endeavour is lighter, more powerful and equally equipped, has finally surfaced. The Fortuner is great, no doubt, it is just that the Endeavour is a tad more capable.
So, how does the Tiguan fit into the comparison? As discussed earlier, the Tiguan too is well-equipped for off-road use. However, its weight and ground clearance bring it down when it comes to mud bogging. It is the ideal car to go for in the city, that is for sure. If your daily runabout does not require a massive SUV, then the Tiguan is for you. What the sales figures show is that the market is not yet ready to pay this amount of money for a Volkswagen yet. Price is what made the Volkswagen Phaeton a flop in the Indian market, and that trend seems to have infested the sales of the Tiguan too. However, if you are able to look past the price, it is a really capable machine.