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Car reviews - Ford - Territory - 5-dr wagon range

Launch Story

Ford logo14 Oct 2005

By MARTON PETTENDY

FORD has improved the Territory by offering more power, refinement and economy, a six-speed automatic option and better safety.

Prices rise by about one per cent for the SY series, set for release late this month after its public debut at this month's Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.

At $39,490, the entry level, rear-wheel drive (RWD) SY Territory TX now costs $500 more than the outgoing SX TX RWD.

The changes come barely 15 months into the only locally made full-sized SUV’s life.

Perhaps the biggest news for buyers is the introduction of a six-speed automatic gearbox in the all-wheel drive (AWD) models.

Ford says the lower first gear improves acceleration, while the larger and tighter spread of ratios improves performance, deliver smoother shift quality and reduce fuel use.

The ZF 6HP26 gearbox has been revised for local conditions. It also does away with the need for additional transmission coolers when towing near maximum capacity thanks to the gearbox’s efficient cooling capabilities.

Though there are two versions of this gearbox available on the BF Falcon range – a standard six-speed auto with a 450Nm torque capacity for the standard six-cylinder engine, and an uprated version with a 600Nm torque capacity for turbocharged I6 and V8 engine mating – the Territory will only receive the former unit.

A unique transmission main case, torque converter, crossmember attachment and output/driveshaft flanges have been necessary to accommodate the ZF.

Like the regular four-speed automatic, the six-speed auto offers a Tiptronic-style sequential shift pattern, via a new and improved shift lever and ‘leather-look’ boot.

It also features an internal transmission control module that incorporates driver-adaptive software to more smoothly operate with the way the vehicle is being driven. It ‘learns’ the driver’s style and then determines a range of gearbox activation protocols.

Meanwhile the ION Model 93-4AT four-speed automatic continues in lower-line models.

It benefits from improved shift quality and software calibration for better fuel economy and refinement.

Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), hitherto reserved for the AWD versions, also spreads across the range.

The Bosch co-developed DSC system helps maintain stability when the vehicle approaches its physical limits by using the anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control system (TCS) to ‘intervene’ and control power, drive and vehicle retardation.

Cornering Brake Control is included this recognises if the car will spin around during a braking manoeuvre and rectify it by re-distributing brake pressure between the left and right wheels for optimum braking.

It’s part of a safety and driveability upgrade that also introduces the latest ABS (version 8.0 instead of 5.3) and TCS 8.0.

Both offer greater stability and control on slippery surfaces. The ABS now checks vehicle conditions 200 times per second. Pedal feel is also improved.

Engines upgrade

The Territory’s sole motivator for now, the Barra 182’s 4.0-litre twin-cam 24-valve in-line six-cylinder (I6) engine, enjoys a rise of 8kW to 190kW at 5250rpm, while the torque top is now 383Nm (plus 3Nm) at 2500rpm.

Thus it’s known now as the Barra 190.

Greater engine-speed driveability and Euro III emissions certification are the upshot of the inclusion of dual independent variable camshaft timing, dual knock sensors and increased engine compression (from 9.7:1 to 10.3:1) for a leaner fuel burn.

Fuel consumption also improves as the engine works more efficiently, aided by other benefits such as lighter materials and lower-viscosity oil, while a quieter air-intake system and power steering pump, and a smoother electronic throttle control improve refinement levels.

The continuing four-speed auto in the Territory RWD now delivers a 6.8 per cent better fuel economy (from 13.1L/100km to 12.2 according to the ADR 81/01 tests), while the ZF six-speed auto in the AWD’s 12.8 result (previously: 13.5) is a 5.2 per cent drop.

Ford believes it rates with the best I6 engines in the world.

There have been no external changes to the Territory other than the inclusion of four new colours – a silver, grey, copper and green. The TX gains an automatic headlights-on feature.

So the changes are much harder to spot, unlike objects (and people) standing behind the SY Territory Ghia model.

That’s because it now features a rear-reversing, wide-angle camera mounted behind the appliqué on the rear deck lid. It projects the image through the console’s TFT centre screen.

It has a 130-degree field of view and can cover the ground behind the vehicle up to about 15 metres.

SY occupants may notice a quieter cabin, thanks to a 10-decibel noise reduction regime.

Among these are a new lofted outer dashboard that acts as an insulator against broad band noise from the engine, quelling high-frequency annoyance noises particularly well.

Helping out are improvements in body padding and engine mounts, a beefing up of the body reinforcements around the transmission crossmember and centre bearing, retuned exhaust systems and a hushed alternator.

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