The SUV market in Australia is one of, if not the most hotly contested markets when it comes to new vehicles. In particular the 7 seat SUV market, there are 16 manufacturers offering SUV's in 7 seat configuration.
The Ford Territory has been one of the popular choices for families since 2004, and since then, more than 150,000 Ford Territory's Australia wide have gone to new owners, making it one of the most successful models ever built by Ford Australia. The recent SZ MkII update marks the end of an era as Ford Australia closes its Broadmeadows and Geelong factory doors for good in October 2016.
This review takes an in depth look at the 2013 SZ TX entry level model, fitted with the ever popular 4.0L in-line 6 cylinder engine mated up to the ZF 6-Speed Automatic gearbox, and the 7 Seat option ($2500 extra).
Having purchased this vehicle just shy of 12 months ago as an ex factory staff driven vehicle, my partner is the main driver of the vehicle, which is predominantly used for taking the kids to school before commuting to work, as well as delivering cakes to parties, or driving up to the central coast to visit family and friends. I do drive it when we are all going places, on a rare occasion! Over the past 11 months the car has travelled just shy of 20,000kms without a drama.
Last week saw the whole family travel up to Queensland's Gold Coast for a holiday, and naturally, to save some money on flights and car hire as well as an opportunity to see the countryside, we decided it would be a great excuse to load up the Territory and drive up.
So last Sunday we departed from Sydney in the wee hours of the morning, kids rugged up, iPads at the ready, my partner did the first stint of driving to the iconic destination of the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour. After a brief stop to recharge the batteries it was my turn to take the wheel. The car performed effortlessly, very user friendly in the sense of everything is easy to reach, without having to read the owners manual to figure out how to pair the Bluetooth on your phone.
Over the course of the week, the car ate up near on 2000kms of road between Sydney and the Gold Coast, and only used 2.5 tanks of E10 fuel from Sydney to the Gold Coast, driving around from theme park to theme park, and back to Sydney again. With these having a 75L tank capacity, that equates to 187.5l over a week, bringing fuel economy to 9.38l/100km, which for a car fully loaded in the boot and 2 adults and 2 kids, is very impressive in my opinion (Ford Australia boasts Extra Urban figures of 8.0L/100km).
Servicing wise, intervals are 12 months or 15,000kms. The Territory does come under the Ford's Service Price Promise, where Ford publishes the maximum price you will pay for a Standard A or B logbook service at a Participating Authorised Ford Dealer. This gives you peace of mind knowing that whatever dealer you take it to for service, you will not pay more than the price quoted. For more information please see this link;
One added benefit is also the offer of a free loan car to all service customers when they bring in their car for a scheduled service.
If there is one gripe I do have with this car, it would be the 3rd row. Unlike some of its competitors, (Holden Captiva, Mazda CX9) it does not offer the option of folding down just one side, so as to have more storage. As mentioned, it is only a minor gripe.
Looking on carsales.com.au the cheapest 2013 SZ 7 Seater TX Petrol can be had for $26990 with 58000kms in Victoria. Considering they were priced at $39990 plus on roads PLUS $2500 for the 7 seats, it does represent great value. To give an indication, a brand new SZ MkII in the same configuration can be had for $44789 (as priced on ford.com.au website).
I get asked a lot whether I would recommend the Territory - my absolute honest answer?