New models - Ford - Territory
First drive: Territory takes Ford to new level
After six years and $500 million in development, Ford’s Territory is a gas
23 Apr 2004
FORD’S long-awaited Territory is here – well, almost. On sale nationally from June 1 but launched to the motoring media in New Zealand this week, the Blue Oval’s all-new cross-over starts arriving in Ford dealers for overnight test drives within a week.
Territory details have been progressively leaked by Ford almost since the vehicle first appeared at the 2002 Melbourne motor show as the R7 concept.
In fact, full pricing, sales estimates and key drivetrain specifications were the only details yet to be revealed in New Zealand, where journalists drove virtual-production versions of Territory for the first time.
For the record, however, it’s worth revisiting the major Territory highlights here, ahead of the fully detailed GoAuto roadtest once we’ve lived in it for a week on home turf.
To be available in three specification variants – each with the option of all-wheel drive ($4000) and third-row seating ($1500, including a slide function for the second row of seats) – the Territory range opens with the base level, rear-drive TX at $38,990, just $2545 more than the entry level Falcon XT wagon.
Territory TX AWD adds Ford’s clever new all-wheel drivetrain (complete with intelligent traction and stability control system) and costs $42,990 - $1000 less than its most direct rival in Toyota’s base Kluger CV - but otherwise comes with the same standard equipment.
As with all Territorys, that includes Falcon’s 182kW/380Nm DOHC/VCT straight six and sequential-shift four-speed automatic (this time with useful grade logic technology), anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, traction control, twin front airbags, air-conditioning, CD sound system, trip computer, power windows/mirrors, four-way power driver’s seat and power-adjustable pedals.
Next comes the mid-spec TS variant, which will be available from September at a price of $44,790. For the $5800 price premium, TS adds a premium Interior Command Centre with TFT display, dual-zone climate control, premium seven-speaker sound system, cruise control, 17-inch alloys (instead of steel wheels), cargo shelf and net and, in an Australian first, side curtain airbags.
The $49,290 Ghia tops the range and for a further $4500 adds leather trim, leather gearknob, leather steering wheel, parking sensors, foglights, unique alloy wheels and body-coloured bumpers.
So a Territory Ghia AWD, with optional third-row seating, costs around $55,000, while the fully-loaded Kluger Grande costs about $59,000.
Among Territory’s array of options, hill descent control is a standout on AWD models (at a cost of $865), while side curtain airbags cost $800 on base models. A massive list of no fewer than 66 accessories is also available, including everything from roof rails to on-board fridges and a DVD player.
Territory’s vital statistics include a length of 4856mm (61mm shorter than Falcon), wheelbase of 2842mm, height of 1676mm, width of 1898mm, front/rear wheel tracks of 1626/1597mm respectively, approach angle of 23 degrees, departure angle of 20 degrees, ramp over angle of 16 degrees and ground clearance of 178mm.
Said to be about 30 per cent stiffer than BA Falcon wagon in terms of torsional rigidity, Territory weighs in at a weighty 2005kg in base TX, rear-drive, five-seat guise, extending to 2025kg for the Ghia, 2085kg for a TX AWD and 2100kg for a Ghia AWD.
As such, official fuel consumption figures are increased over Falcon’s to 13.1L/100km, rising to 13.5L/100km on AWD models.
Rear-drive Territorys employ Ford’s Virtual Pivot Control Link front suspension (with forward-mounted steering rack) and Control Blade independent rear suspension, together dubbed the Acutrac “handling system”.
In AWD Territorys, which add an intelligent dynamic stability control system, it is known as Acutrac Plus, while the RWD’s Goodyear Integrity tyres are swapped for more versatile Goodyear Forteras which were developed specifically for Territory and measure the same 235/60 R17.
Territory has a turning circle of 11.4 metres and three turns lock-to-lock, while its newly developed brake system employs 322x28mm front rotors with twin-piston callipers, plus 322x26mm rear discs.
Luggage space is 523 litres (behind the second row of seats), while the seven-seat option reduces the number of storage compartments from a staggering 33 to just 31.
Ford expects the base TX variant to account for 70 per cent of Territory sales, with TS adding 20 per cent and the top-shelf Ghia commanding just 10 per cent. The majority – or 60 per cent - of buyers are forecast to take up the AWD option.
The company hopes to shift a huge 12,000 Territorys in the second half of 2004, equating to no less than 2000 per month – which would make it Australia’s top-selling SUV at around double the sales volume of the most popular compact SUV (Nissan’s X-Trail), medium SUV (Toyota Prado) and large SUV (LandCruiser).
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