What is it?
The Endura ST-Line is the mid-spec variant of Ford Australia’s newest large SUV.
It shares a sports body kit and interior trim with the powerful twin-turbo V6 ST version – which isn’t available here and is called the Edge ST overseas – and rides on a sports tuned suspension set up, but is powered by the standard 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine.
How much does the Ford Endura ST-Line AWD cost?
The diesel-only Ford Endura range starts at $44,990 for the Endura Trend FWD, and capped off by the Endura Titanium AWD at $67,990.
The ST-Line sits in the middle, priced at $53,990 for the FWD and $57,990 for the AWD. That $4000 premium for all-wheel-drive traction applies across the Endura range.
Highlights from the standard feature list include autonomous emergency braking, full-LED headlights, ambient interior lighting, sports seats with suede trim and leather accents, heated and cooled front seats, and a driver’s seat with 10-way power adjustment and memory settings.
Our Endura ST-Line AWD test car also featured an optional panoramic sunroof ($2500), 12-speaker B&O sound system with 180-degree split parking camera ($1000) and Blue Magnetic paint ($650), which pushed its retail price to $62,140.
Who is this car for?
The Endura ST-Line is great for someone seeking a well-appointed yet economical large five-seat SUV that can tow and carry a lot of stuff, while being enjoyable to drive.
Is the Ford Endura ST-Line AWD easy to live with?
While new to the Australian market, the Endura is actually a facelifted version of the 2015 Ford Edge meaning the dashboard is similar to older Ford models.
The 8.0-inch infotainment screen is located a little low within the dash, but it does use Ford’s latest Sync3 infotainment system with inbuilt sat-nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone pairing. You also get a CD player, which is becoming increasingly quaint these days.
The interior fit and finish has a quality feel to it, and the suede and leather trim sports seats look good and offer excellent back support and side bolstering. They're also heated and ventilated.
The rear seats have reclining backrests and will fit three adults, albeit a little snugly. Rear passengers get their own air vents, 12v and 240v sockets and heated outboard seats.
Boot space is a generous 800 litres, which is well above average for large SUVs, though you might have some trouble fitting taller, bulkier loads because of the raked-forward tailgate glass. The boot floor lifts to reveal a space-saver spare tyre and several storage compartments.
Does the Ford Endura ST-Line AWD drive well?
Like the rest of the Endura range, the ST-Line offers an excellent driving position and a quiet, smooth ride that makes it an excellent companion for long journeys. Despite its size, it feels relatively nimble around town with light, but nicely-weighted, steering.
The sports-tuned suspension and torque vectoring control improves handling over the Trend and Titanium variants without compromising ride comfort, even on the ST-Line's huge 20-inch wheels and low-profile tyres. For a big SUV it feels surprisingly composed through bends, making you feel like you’re driving a low-riding wagon.
Despite its size, the Endura is still manageable in tight spots and easy to park. It’s quiet, too, with good soundproofing that’s enhanced by electronic active noise cancelling. Great for highway cruises, then, and that's improved even further by the Endura's semi-autonomous drive mode, with active cruise control and lane-keeping assist that's easy to set up and operates smoothly.
The 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine, matched with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, feels more than adequate, and features a sports mode that provides noticeable oomph for when you want to get up to speed a little quicker.
Fuel economy is claimed by Ford to be an ultra-low 6.7L/100km on the combined cycle. However, our real-world test saw it burn a more realistic 8.5L/100km on average.
The Endura Trend might be the better value proposition of the range, but the ST-Line represents the sweet spot for anyone happy to spend a little more for a well-equipped, sharp-looking large SUV that’s fun to drive.
You won’t regret paying the $4000 extra for all-wheel-drive either, which makes better use of its 2000kg towing capacity and will take you on moderate dirt tracks and icy conditions with confidence. Capable and flexible, then, but the sportiest Endura is nevertheless best suited to long highway trips, where its admirable comfort and spacious cabin make it a likeable device for eating up kilometre after kilometre without fuss.