NZ-set Endura’s American equal updated

The US-market version of the large sports utility Ford is bringing here this year has just been updated. How long before those changes reach the NZ market?

TECHNOLOGY enhancements and the addition of an outright performance version to the lineup meted the North American version of a new Ford sports utility coming here soon have excited the local distributor.

However, even though Ford New Zealand is hopeful that the updates announced overnight for what we and Australia are calling the Endura – but the rest of the world knows as the Edge – might appear on the car here, it cannot say if initial examples of the model will benefit.

“It is possible (the cars coming this year) will have the updates, but it is too soon to confirm,” communications manager Tom Clancy says.

Meantime, it is also revved up about the new Edge ST, which will take centre stage at the Detroit motor show and hits US streets later in the year, but again is uncertain if that will be available for export.

This has an even racier look than the ST-Line Endura that arrives here in March as a $73,990 starter course to whet Kiwi appetites for a fuller range of cars arriving later in the year.

The ST also backs up its sharp styling with far more sizzle, swapping out the NZ-bound 2.0-litre diesel for a 2.7-litre twin turbo petrol V6.

Ford cites the six-cylinder having 205kW power and 515Nm torque, a big lift over the diesel which is expected to provide 154kW and 450Nm.

Clancy says his office would likely have interest in the ST, but it all depends on demand and availability.

“We would look into it if it is available in right hand drive. If it makes sense and there is some demand for it, we’ll see what we can do. It’s a pretty sharp-looking vehicle so it could be a definite goer here in New Zealand.”

The hot Endura enters new Territory for Ford; until now the only ST models have been pure road cars. The derivative has fulltime four-wheel-drive and adopts selectable traction control, ST-tuned sport suspension, sport mode with paddle shifters and an optional performance brake package.

Externally, it is set apart by a wide, black mesh grille, deep side skirts, dual exhaust outlets and optional 21-inch wheels.

The racy edition was revealed by Ford in the run-up to the Detroit motor show, where the whole refreshed range will be displayed.

Clancy points out that what head office is showing off is “effectively the 2019” but that does not mean that the styling and specification revisions incoming to North America, for public availability around mid-2018 there, won’t also stand a chance of reaching NZ, if not this year then at some point.

The ST-Line will definitely be the current edition, he said. Other versions arriving later might benefit from the changes, but that’s speculation.

There’s no doubt that the tweaked styling and fresh technology would be beneficial for Endura, given its primary foes here are the Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Highlander. The first is especially well-equipped while the latter is set to be improved, with active safety tech initially restricted to the priciest version to spread across the whole range.

Forward collision warning, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitor with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping alert and assist, and hill-start assist are already on the current Endura, though whether these will spread across the entire NZ model line is not known.

The updated edition adds three new technologies. These are post-collision braking, which automatically brakes after a collision to prevent a second one; evasive steering assist, which helps steer around stopped or slower vehicles to avoid a crash; and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane centring. These will be standard in the US.

Extra technology features include FordPass Connect, which includes a Wi-Fi hotspot with access for up to 10 devices and remote locking using the FordPass app.

Options in North America include a wireless charging pad, 12-speaker Harman audio system, and the new Ford Plus Alexa app, which helps users navigate media content, appointments and shopping for everyday items.

The updated car is easy to pick out. It has a new full-LED headlight design that separates it from the front grille and includes an LED daytime running light signature along the top and outer edge of the headlight cluster.

Ford North America has so far only revealed the ST and a Titanium version. The latter sports a new, wider chequered grille, redesigned front apron and restyled LED foglights that give it a more modern look.

Changes at the rear encompass mildly tweaked tail-lights, the removal of the tail-light strip running across the centre of the tailgate, a sportier rear bumper and a flatter area around the numberplate.

Inside the Endura loses its gear lever in favour of a rotating knob selector. Whereas the current model has a traditional look instrument display, the update removes the tachometer, places the speedo in the centre of the display and has digital screens either side.

The Endura is coming here from Canada and only formats in a five-seat version. There is a seven-seater, but for now it is built purely in China and is solely for sale there.