When it came time to upgrade the Mitsubishi Verada I was looking for something with a bit more room and, plainly put, easier to get in and out of. I was looking at various auctions, dealers and private sales for an Adventra or Territory as I still like Aussie built cars that are good value for money.
Over the years I've owned a few different types and styles of cars, from my first ‘76 Corolla RWD coupe to a CV8Z Monaro in Fusion Gold (selling that is my only regret to this day). I've owned rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive cars and my preference is the former by a country mile. I can see the benefit of FWD from a packaging and manufacturing point however they should be thrown in the dustbin of history with the gradual release of some decent RWD EV's in the form of Honda's Urban EV, which by their nature can have tighter steering which is suited to city driving.
I ended up purchasing from auction an ‘07 Terry with close to 270000km on the dial. Upon picking it up, I gave it a good once-over and drove it back from Melbourne to Adelaide on a permit and was not disappointed with its reliability.
The one thing I love about the Terry is that it has space to not feel claustrophobic, and given its age and judging by interior condition of mine, it was a valued family hauler with durable plastics and cloth/leather trims. Coming from driving plenty of Holdens it took a little bit of acclimatising to the trip computer and cruise control functions, however once learned became relatively intuitive. Externally, the Territory is a relatively unassuming and inoffensive design with clean lines, and apart from the A-pillars has good all-round vision.
On the technology front, there's not really much to say other than for its time it was lacking in features that were standard in a lot of cars of the time. The interior dash lighting was also an interesting choice, using an orange backlit display for the stereo and gauge clusters.
Driveability is pretty decent for a vehicle of this size and age. I wouldn't say it inspires on the performance front unless you're talking about the traffic light Grand Prix, as steering is neutrally weighted with reasonably quick response at speed, while light when manoeuvering in shopping centre carparks. If you use this as a daily prepare to spend a lot of time at the servo filling it with Go Juice, especially doing the urban school or work run. I tend to average 12 litres per 100 kilometres with a mixture of urban and highway. The engine has plenty of torque to get off the line, however I think would have been better mated to the 6-speed auto vs the 4-speed that it comes with.
Reliability has been pretty good in just under one year of ownership so far. I've only done some basic maintenance and replaced some worn components. All up, I've spent less than a grand including full service, auto transmission service, and a leaky exhaust. One thing to watch for is ball joints, and I was lucky to have bought this car with relatively fresh parts in place.
I would definitely recommend a Territory for a family on a budget, as it's big, torquey and great for the weekend away. If you’re pretty competent and want to save money on repairs, you can tidy these up with little cost or you can take it to a trusted mechanic. I've also seen quite a few examples with the seats folded flat and a cage for those who want to use them to lug the tools of the trade around.