Our road-test editor likes comparison tests. Forever, he is thinking up possible comparisons. For example, if you suggest a new E-Class test, he will want it to be compared with the Audi A6 (see elsewhere in this issue) and when you want to do a Porsche 911 story, he will want to bring in two older generations of Porkers to make the story interesting (in the pipeline for the last 24 months or so!). So when we wanted to test the Toyota Fortuner over a longer period of time, our man, rather predictably, came up with the idea of Fortuner vs Nissan X-Trail vs Ford Endeavour. One thing led to another and the Toyota never came for the encounter, which meant us comparing apples to oranges. Well, so be it, we thought.
If we have to justify this story, in a contrived manner, then it is possible to do so. Both are SUVs, for heaven's sake! So what if one of them is based on a crude pick-up truck and the other is built like a proper car? So what if one behaves like a, er, pick-up truck and another drives like a car? So what if there is a ‘marginal’ difference of Rs 5 lakh in the price that we need to ignore?
Honestly, if you are in the market to buy an SUV to impress the Sharmas next door, then there is nothing to beat the Ford Endeavour. It is big, and in the Indian SUV market place, XXL rules. Buy one even if you are never going to use the third row of seats or its four-wheel drive system and block your neighbour’s parking lot every now and then – only to apologise by blaming the sheer size of your ego - I mean SUV.
The Nissan is more sophisticated but smaller. It looks purposeful but does not dwarf cars parked next to it. It has only two rows of seating and has a capable all-wheel drive system. And, as mentioned earlier, it costs more. Yes, it is smaller and it costs more, dear prospective Indian SUV buyer! You are still reading? Congratulations, because there is a story to be told after all.
The Endeavour just went through a facelift and emerged with too much make-up on its face. Let us admit it, this is a truck and it is old. The earlier model looked honest and that was going with its character. Now, the rounded off lighting structures try and cover up its age and fail miserably. Fit and finish is good, but not comparable to that of the Nissan. The X-Trail is an evolution of the last generation car – that means it continues with an angular theme, which makes it easy to spot even on a crowded street. The front end is slightly fussy, with lots of parallel lines, but the overall effect is more towards Land Rover than Hummer. We like.