Blink twice and you’ll miss them, but these two images — sourced from a reliable location — appear to indeed be shots of the next Territory, given they feature very mild differences to the current model. With the update due so soon, it is hard to see what else they could be.
As we know, Australia’s own SUV is due for an upgrade before year’s end alongside the Falcon with which it shares its underpinnings. This pair of updates will keep both models ticking along until Ford’s Victorian factories close near the end of 2016.
The two-pronged update was funded by a $103 million investment announced at the start of 2012, which included a $34 million government contribution.
The blue oval brand is now in the second week of a rolling teaser campaign showing off bits of the forthcoming Falcon update — whether it will be called FGIII or FH remains unconfirmed — but the company has stayed largely silent on the high-riding SZ Territory wagon spin-off. (See a teaser shot of the Falcon's new nose below).
While the teaser images clearly show the revised Falcon will sport a more ‘premium’ frontal and rear design — spy images indicate the hardpoints and doors won’t change — in line with Ford’s global design language, the Territory appears to miss out on a significant facelift of its own.
That said, the frontal design of the car shown here does get some tweaks.
The slim upper grille gets a new single chrome strip design with inset badging, though the headlights that flank it look the same as before. The larger hexagonal lower intake has also been slimmed down and now features a four-bar chrome design.
The foglights on either side of this lower grille are closer to square-shaped than before and are wrapped in C-shaped chrome inserts. Beneath them sit larger fins feeding air to the brakes, and between these sits a more prominent silver-hued front splitter with four notches.
There appear to be no changes to the bonnet design or, for that matter, to the rear of the car. The only other stylistic difference we can spot is the new set of 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 235/55-R18 tyres.
Above: New Falcon headlight.
The car’s dimensions (4883mm long, 1898mm wide and 1716mm high on a 2843mm wheelbase) are unchanged.
Ford has previously said it expects to yield improved fuel efficiency to the tune of about 5 per cent though improved aerodynamics and revised (six-speed automatic) transmission tuning. This could see the rear-drive diesel version's fuel use drop below 8.0L/100km (currently 8.2L/100km).
Do not expect any significant changes to the Land Rover-sourced 140kW/440Nm 2.7-litre V6 turbo diesel engine or the Geelong-made 195kW/391Nm inline-six petrol unit. The diesel’s towing capacity remains 2700kg braked.
Specification grades appear to remain TX, TS and Titanium. As before, RWD and AWD configurations will be offered, and the TX can be had with either five seats or seven (the others have three rows standard).
Above: Ford Edge.
Little is known about what Ford will do with the Territory’s (or Falcon’s) interior, though we don’t expect to see wholesale changes. New trim details are expected feature alongside an updated infotainment system, tough the software may play through the same 8.0-inch screen as now.
Based on sales so far this year, the Territory update — minor though it may be — cannot come soon enough. While large SUV sales are up 1.1 per cent for the year, the Ford is down 32.4 per cent and is being outsold by the Holden Captiva 7 and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Still, with 5057 sales, it remains the third most popular family SUV, or the fourth if you pool the larger Toyota Prado into the mix — a respectable figure. It has also easily outsold the Falcon (3562 units).
Unlike the Falcon name that is confirmed to be culled from 2017, Ford Australia has not ruled out sticking the Territory badge onto the US-centric Edge (see above) that will replace it. By then, Ford will also be selling the Australian-engineered and designed Everest, based on the Ranger.