3 June 2011

Ford Territory 2011 car review

At $49,990 the entry level petrol Territory TX RWD represents good value, although it’s the diesel that really impressed us. However, even in entry level TX trim, there’s a price premium of $10k over the base TX petrol, with a retail sticker price of $59,990 for the cheapest diesel.

Ford Territory 2011 01
Ford Territory 2011
Ford Territory 2011 02
Ford Territory 2011
Ford Territory 2011 03
Ford Territory 2011
Ford Territory 2011 04
Ford Territory 2011
Ford Territory 2011 05
Ford Territory 2011

New car report; Greener Territory

Better late than never, New Zealand buyers are now finally treated to diesel power for one of our favourite SUVs. And it’s not just any diesel, this is the joint Ford/PSA developed 2.7 litre TDCi V6 we’ve seen in previous generation Land Rover and Jaguar product. We were impressed then, and although those models now get a 3.0 litre oil burner, the 140kW/440Nm 2.7 is still an impressive powerplant today.

The Territory’s existing in-line 4.0 litre, six cylinder petrol engine has also been given an upgrade, boosting both power and torque by 5kW and 8Nm respectively, up to 395kW/391Nm and reducing fuel consumption by 1.0L/100km to a claimed 10.6L/100km.

As well as mechanical upgrades, Ford has given the Territory a cosmetic makeover, with particular attention being paid to the grille, headlights and frontal treatment. For a model that’s been around since 2004 the latest round of styling enhancements freshen up the look and bring the seven year old SUV more up to date.

Ford engineers have covered over 800,000 development kilometres in getting the 2011 Territory to market, which has included testing not only Australia and New Zealand where the Territory is sold, but has also included 50 plus degree testing in Death Valley, high altitude testing elsewhere in the US and sub-zero testing in Sweden and Alaska.

Quieter, smoother, more refined.

One of the key elements Ford was looking to improve upon was Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) and refinement levels. They say they benchmarked the Territory against numerous competitors including luxury SUV’s such as the BMW X5 and Landrover Discovery.

While that may have been an ambitious target given that the Territory competes in a much lower price segment, they’ve managed to achieve a vastly improved level of refinement than before.

A revised front differential which now mounts on the sump rather than onto the chassis, a new active transfer case which decouples at idle, new engine and transmission mounts, a new front cross member as well as a comprehensive sound deadening package which includes a bulkhead absorber featuring a polyamide film/screen mounted in front of the firewall all contribute to superior refinement and quietness.

Three models are offered, as are choices of RWD and 4WD for diesel versions, with petrol buyers being offered RWD only. All models transfer power to the wheels via one of two six speed automatic transmissions, a ZF unit for petrol models and Ford's own 6R80 for the diesel.

At $49,990 the entry level petrol Territory TX RWD represents good value, although it’s the diesel that really impressed us. However, even in entry level TX trim, there’s a price premium of $10k over the base TX petrol, with a retail sticker price of $59,990 for the cheapest diesel.

The mid-range TS is available in RWD petrol and either RWD or AWD diesel, with prices ranging from $54,990 to $64,990.

Ghia badge dropped in favour of Titanium.

As with other models from the Ford stable, the top-of-the-range model’s Ghia badge has now been dropped in favour of a new Titanium nameplate that now identifies the range-leader, which retails for $69,990.

Automatic climate air conditioning is standard across the range, with single zone for TX and dual zone for TS and Titanium. Remote keyless entry and automatic headlights are also standard features across the range, as are Bluetooth, a USB port and 3.5mm audio jack. All are fitted with fold away seating in the rear, providing seating for 7 if required.

The TX gets a 5.8 inch monochromatic LCD information display, while the TS has an 8 inch colour monitor which, when upgraded to the Titanium model incorporates Navigation. The Titanium also upgrades the fabric trim to leather and has privacy glass in the rear.

TX models roll on 17 inch alloys, while a couple of differing styles of 18’s are fitted to TS and Titanium models, and all get a 17 inch steel spare.

Standard across the range is DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) which now features Roll-Over Mitigation (ROM), Emergency Braking Assist (EBA), front and side airbags for the driver and front seat passenger, and curtain airbags for the front two seating rows. There’s now also a knee airbag for the driver.

All RWD models have a braked tow rating of 1,600kg or 2,300kg with a heavy duty towing kit, and AWD have the ability to tow 2,700kg with the heavy duty kit. All are rated at 1,000kg for trailers without brakes.

Given the number of improvements, engineering enhancements, new components and general upgrades, the 2011 Territory is a giant leap forward and is more than the average facelift. But the diesel engine is the real clincher here, and is well worth paying the extra dollars for.

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