7 / 10
Five years on and it’s still just as fun to drive.
Launched in 2004 as Australia’s take on the all-road going station wagon, Ford’s Territory was an immediate success with the public.
It wasn’t until late 2005 that Ford decided to go down the forced induction path with the Territory. Ford took the engine from the XR6 Turbo and moved the front-mount intercooler to a top-mount unit, giving the Territory a new-found snarl and design.
The Ford Territory has remained largely unchanged since 2004, likewise with the Turbo model. With the latest SYII upgrade, Ford announced that it would only offer the Turbo model in Ghia guise, leaving us with the car pictured above.
The concept of the turbocharged Territory is great – in theory. The inherent issue lies with the car’s weight, some 2.1-tonnes. We will talk about the impact of this more later.
Inside the cabin, the Territory is still a great place to be, despite its age. The Ghia specification picks up leather seats, colour TFT screen, six-disc CD-player, electric driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control and a flip-down Apline 10.2 inch DVD player with wireless headphones to entertain the kids.
The seating position is quite high, giving the driver a feeling of power over other motorists. The Turbo model also picks up a sports steering wheel that sits snugly in the hand and lends to effortless cornering.
The generously sized boot is great for transporting kids to and from sporting events, likewise with the weekly shopping. The in-house built cargo blind is a total disaster though. The cheap, folding cargo blind doesn’t sit flush with the edges of the boot and is a nightmare to use, it certainly looks like a Territory afterthought.
Visibility out the front and rear is excellent. The Ghia comes with a reversing camera and one that Ford should most certainly be proud of. The reversing camera is crystal clear during daytime and exceptionally bright at night time (one point that dogs many of its competitors). The night time clarity also helps due to the privacy glass fitted to the Ghia.
Seven seats can also be optioned on the Ghia Turbo. Our test vehicle was fitted with the seven seats and they proved to be very easy to erect and drop back into their flat folding cubby hole. Don’t expect to fit anyone older than 10 in the third row though, it’s a pretty tight squeeze.
The dual-opening tailgate is a great idea (with one button for the main tailgate and one for the glass section), but the glass on our test vehicle always felt like it wasn’t closed properly and was flimsy.
Sitting at the top of the Territory tree, the Ghia Turbo retails for $66,820, with the third row of seats a no-cost-option. While the Ghia model is the most expensive, the Territory range starts at $39,890.
Behind the wheel, the Territory Ghia Turbo is an extremely versatile vehicle. It feels well balanced on the road and takes all bumps with aplomb. The steering is more on the heavy side, but works well with the whole package. The only let down is the brakes. The pedal feels very spongy, with most of the braking occurring at the latter end of pedal travel.
If you didn’t think the naturally aspirated Territory had enough power, you are sure to be gobsmacked with the Ghia Turbo. Packing 245kW of power and 480Nm of torque, the turbocharged 4.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine is keen for a play whenever a boot load of throttle is thrown at it.
The induction noise, along with the menacing exhaust note leaves a smile on the face each and every time the throttle is flattened. Torque is channelled through a six-speed ZF Sachs automatic transmission that does an excellent job of managing the whole package.
A tiptronic mode can be selected, along with a sports mode that aggressively holds gears and shifts down high in the rev range of the previous gear as required.
While the Ghia Turbo hauls in a straight line, it’s left in the lurch when it comes to cornering. There is an exceptional amount of body roll and when it has had enough, it throws in the towel and understeers with intent.
The only downside to this exhilarating package is the fuel efficiency (or lack thereof). Our test car didn’t see an average fuel consumption under 14.5L/100km, despite spending over 60% of the time behind the wheel on the highway.
At highway speeds, the engine seems to be teetering on boost, meaning the lightest throttle application sends the turbo into a haling flurry.
It’s hard to imagine how anybody could afford to pay for the amount of fuel this car consumes, especially when you consider it will spend most of its time in city style driving conditions.
The SYII Territory meets Euro IV emissions, so won’t see any changes until the new model arrives for the 2011 model year.
If you are interested in buying a diesel SUV, I would hold off until Ford releases the diesel Territory. If it’s anything like the current model, it will be exceptional value for money and the type of thing we love to see coming out of Australian manufacturers. It’s likely to pack the same amount of torque as the turbocharged petrol Territory, but will consume far less fuel.
If, on the other hand you’re after cheap thrills, it’s hard to go past the Territory Turbo. If it wasn’t for the ludicrous fuel consumption, I’d recommend it in a heartbeat.
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*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer and does not include dealer delivery, on-road or statutory charges.