BUYERS GUIDE - SOFT-ROADERS
Ford upgraded the Territory for 2015 and sharpened pricing, with list prices for 4WD models down by $3000.
Sadly, this was the last Territory model, with Ford’s Australian production closed down in 2016.
More than 155,000 Territory SUVs have been sold across Australia and the Territory Mk II was made more attractive to buyers.
The proved, 4.0-litre petrol and 2.7-litre 140kW/440Nm V6 common rail turbo diesel engines continued to power the restyled vehicle and new features, including Ford’s Sync2 system, were added.
Sync2 features included automatic Bluetooth phone connection with 000 in the event of an accident that caused the airbags to deploy.
More than 70 per cent of Territory customers favoured the V6 TDCi engine.
The Territory SZ MkII TX rear-wheel drive MLP was $36,9901, compared with $39,990 for the outgoing SZ Territory TX RWD and the range-topping Titanium TDCi all-wheel drive is $56,740, compared with the outgoing SZ Territory Titanium TDCi all-wheel drive at $59,990.
Standard on all models were a reverse camera, eight-inch high-resolution touch colour screen, voice control, DAB+ radio, Sync2 with emergency assistance and front parking sensors.
On and off road
Our test mount was a Titanium AWD seven-seat diesel model with optional tan leather upholstery. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a towbar fitted ($550 option), so we couldn’t check out performance and fuel economy while towing.
Mixed driving in 3000km of city and country conditions saw fuel consumption in the 8.6-9.7L/100km bracket. That’s not very good, in comparison with the latest two-litre diesels from Asia and Europe, but the 2.7-litre Ford-Peugeot engine does have better engine braking than the smaller fours, so it should suit towing very well.
A 75-litre fuel tank is marginal for long-distance touring – particularly if towing a caravan.
Being based on the Falcon platform the Territory is a big vehicle that’s wider than most SUVs. Second-row seating has ample width for three adults, in contrast to narrower Asian vehicles that are somewhat squeezy.
However, the third-row pair is strictly for small kids and comes with twin car-seat tethers. Converting the Territory from five- to seven-seat capacity is easy, thanks to clever design that employs a fold-down sat back and sliding seat cushion. With the second and third rows folded the Territory has a huge flat-floor luggage area.
Although the under-frame spare wheel is steel, not aluminium like the road wheels, it is full-sized and is fitted with a full-sized road tyre.
Like most modern diesels the 2.7-litre rattles a little at idle, but is silky smooth and quiet once the Territory is under way. It’s well-matched to a six-speed auto box and shifts are jerk-free.
We reckon the Territory would have much better economy if the transmission had taller overdrive ratios that dropped engine revs when cruising, because this grunty engine doesn’t need to spin at 2000rpm at 110km/h. However, given its limited production
life, the Territory is unlikely to score an eight- or nine-speed replacement.
Ride and handling on bitumen surfaces are excellent and comparable with luxury SUV levels. Ford’s experience with suspension tuning for Australian conditions shows up in excellent ride and handling qualities on dirt and gravel roads as well.
We were quite surprised at the Territory’s off-road abilities as well. The combination of supple suspension, relatively long suspension arms and wide track gave the Ford very good fire trail ability. Traction control hardly needed to intervene in situations that have seen all but the best SUVs – Land Rover
Freelander II and 2015 Jeep Cherokee – struggling for grip.
The Titanium model’s navigation system was one of the best we’ve used, for town and bush driving, and the screen clarity was first class.
With pricing ranging from $45,000 to $57,500 for the AWD variants the Territory is a seven-seater with superb performance and road manners, plus a handy amount of bush ability.
The Territory was replaced by the Ranger ute based, ‘real-4WD’ Everest wagon in 2015.
Check out our video test: