Isaac Bober’s 2019 Ford Endura ST-Line Review with Price, Specs, Performance, Ride and Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict and Score.
In a nutshell: The Endura ST-Line adds a little bit of visual muscle and some handling tweaks to the Endura line-up.
2019 Ford Endura ST-Line Specifications
Price From $53,990+ORC Warranty five years, unlimited km Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety 5-star ANCAP rating Engine 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel Power 140kW at 3500rpm Torque 400Nm at 2000-3000rpm Transmission 8-speed automatic Drive Front-wheel drive (as tested) or all-wheel drive Dimensions 4834mm (L), 1928mm (W), 1732mm, 2849mm (WB) Ground Clearance 186mm Kerb Weight 1976-2077kg Towing 2000kg Towball Download 200kg Boot Space 800 litres Spare Space saver Fuel Tank 64 litres Thirst 6.7L/100km claimed combined
The Ford Endura arrived in Australia towards the end of last year, going up against established seven-seat rivals like the Mazda CX-8 and CX-9, Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota Kluger. But there’s a difference and that is the Endura is a strict five-seater and so straddles segments, competing with smaller vehicles like the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson and so on.
Watch our video review of the 2019 Ford Endura ST-Line
What’s the price and what do you get?
The Endura ST-Line is intended as the sportier middle child in the Endura line-up which consists of the entry level Trend and top-spec Titanium. But, there’s more to the ST-Line than just looks because it runs a different damper tune for a slightly more aggressive handling set-up.
The Endura can be had as both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, our tester was a front-wheel drive variant; the all-wheel drive adds $4000 to the listed price and that’s universal across the range. The ST-Line is priced from $53,990+ORC (as tested) or $57,990+ORC for all-wheel drive (which we recommend), and the key visual differences are black highlights instead of silver, side skirts, black roof rails and 20-inch alloy wheels riding. All up, this thing looks more aggressive than either the Trend or the Titanium.
Additional equipment includes seats finished in a combination of suede and leather, ambient lighting, heated and cooled front seats, a memory function for the driver’s seat, powered tailgate, aluminium pedals and a rear cargo net and blind.
Our test car was fitted with the standard sound system but you can cost option it with a 12-speaker B&O system and we tested this out on the Endura Titanium and, if you like your music then you’ll need to spend the extra on this system. The standard sound system is good, but the B&O system really is next level.
What’s the interior and practicality like?
There’s not a whole lot of difference between the models when it comes to the interior but the ST-Line is, at least, the most interesting of the three. There’s contrast stitching on the door cards, some faux carbon fibre flashes on the dashboard and some ST-Line badging.
But the main event is the seats which are a mix of leather and Alcantara with contrast stitching. The shape of the seats isn’t a whole lot different to the seats on the regular Endura models and so they’re stilll comfortable and there’s good adjustment too, but these seats are much grippier than the regular seats.
The dashboard has hints of Ford Territory and while the materials used don’t set new benchmarks for the segment they’re nice enough that you don’t feel like you’re being short-changed. And the switch gear is neatly laid out even if, like in the Ford Everest, the buttons are a little fiddly to use on the move.
There’s good vision all around the vehicle from the driver’s seat and a wide-angle reversing camera and surround view helps when parking.
There’s good storage space in the front of the Endura with two cup holders, one deep and clearly designed to hold a bottle while the centre console storage is one of the deepest bins I’ve ever seen. There are door bins and bottle holders, although I struggled with my 1L water bottle; it’ll hold a 500ml water bottle no problems. There’s also a deep bin at the base of the centre console.
Over in the back there’s room for three adults with the seats well shaped and the floor largely flat. Head, leg, knee and foot wiggle room is all good, and there are rear air vents and a 230V powerpoint in the rear, which allows lower powered household electronics to be used. The back seats can be folded down from the seats themselves or via switches in the boot.
The boot itself is a great size, offering 800 litres with the back seats in use. And because the boot opening is nearly the full width of the tailgate, loading and unloading bulky items isn’t a problem. There are sturdy tie-down hooks mounted to the floor; there are also tie-down hooks on the floor in the back seat for when the back seat is folded down and that’s something I’ve not seen before. The rear tailgate on the ST-Line is powered and it opens and closes via a button on the tailgate, via the key fob or from the front of the car.
What are the controls and infotainment like?
The Endura ST-Line gets an 8.0-inch infotainment screen and runs Ford’s SYNC3 system which, while not particularly graphically appealing, is one of the best native systems on the market. It offers native sat-nav, voice control with natural speech recognition as well as Apple and Android connectivity.
My one gripe is with the audio controls…you get a large central volume knob but the controls either side of it are quite small and fiddly to use. And the same goes for the climate controls. You end up using the steering wheel controls for audio or the touchscreen, and the touchscreen for climate which is not ideal but, hey, it all works.
The steering wheel, and this seems to be a Ford thing although plenty of other car makers do it too, is heavy on buttons. For me, it’s too much but familiarity will no doubt see it become less daunting and you can control everything from the audio to cruise control and even some of the active safety.
Behind the steering wheel is a partial digital display and while it’s not quite as cool as some of the digital displays from, say, the Volkswagen Group it’s not too bad. But it’s not perfect, for instance, I’m a fan of the digital speedo read-out but if you want to look at something, like, say, the distance to empty this will block out the speedo until you go back, and there are different controls on the steering wheel for the two digital windows.
What’s the performance like?
There’s only one engine available in the Endura range and that is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine making 140kW at 3500rpm and 400Nm of torque from 2000-3000rpm. Interestingly, this engine is a single-turbo version of the bi-turbo engine in the Ranger/Ranger Raptor and Everest.
This engine is perfectly suited to this car and whether you’re travelling on your own or with the family on-board and all their gear there’s plenty of grunt with a nice progressive throttle. My week with the Endura ST-Line involved plenty of highway, town and twisty mountain road driving and the thing handled it with ease; it’s a very easy and relaxed car to drive.
And this is, in part, down to the eight-speed automatic transmission which offers nice crisp shifts and good throttle response, meaning you always seem to be in the right gear at the right time. This engine and transmission has clearly been tuned with ‘drivers who like to drive’ in mind.
Our test car was a front-wheel drive variant and if it was my money, I’d be stretching for the all-wheel drive. With 400Nm of torque getting to the road via the front wheels, the same wheels that also need to steer the vehicle something has to give. And with peak torque arriving at 2000rpm and around 80% of it on-tap before then you do get a bit of torque steer (that sensation of the wheel being tugged) and some chirping. But, to be fair, that really is only if you stomp on the throttle. Feed it in gently and you shouldn’t have any issues.
What’s it like on the road?
The Endura rides on a modified version of the Mondeo’s platform which is a vehicle well regarded for its ride and handling. And the Endura offers a much nicer on-road ride than the Everest but given that thing’s derived from a commercial vehicle (Ranger) you’d imagine that to be the case.
Ford’s engineers haven’t gone down the same road as some of this car’s competitors and offered a plush ride that gets sloppy in corners. The Endura is indeed a comfortable vehicle but it, at the same time, seems to relish corners with good body and weight control.
The ST-Line takes that a step further with stiffer springs and an improvement in roll resistance as well as 20-inch wheels. Sure, this firmer ride can seem a little too firm at very low speeds with some thumpiness across speed humps and the like, but as the speed increases so too does the suspension’s bump smothering ability.
Across the Practical Motoring road loop which includes some horrible pock-marked section of bitumen the Endura was comfortable and composed. And through the corners, this Endura ST-Line proved to be one of the most dynamic SUVs at this price point we’ve driven.
And the thing is also incredibly quiet. We drove down a section of dirt road and the car was just as quiet as it had been when driving on the highway. And that’s in part down to good insulation but also thanks to a noise-cancelling system which keeps the cabin hushed.
What’s it like off the road?
Our test car was a front-wheel drive so we didn’t go ‘off-road’. The most we did was a section of well graded dirt road and both grip and ride comfort was fine.
Can you tow with it?
Yes, up to a braked maximum of 2000kg but the usual caveats apply. Know the weight of your trailer loaded, it’s towball download and the weight of your vehicle loaded to avoid being overweight.
Does it have a spare?
There’s a space saver spare under the boot floor which is distance and speed limited to 80km/h.
What about ownership?
Ford offers a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is 12 months or 15,000km and the first four services are capped at $299.
What about safety features?
The Endura gets a five-star ANCAP safety rating with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection; this is a radar and camera based system monitoring active safety. Roll-stability control and post-collision braking and evasive steer assist and traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control is also standard across the range.