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2015 Ford Territory TS AWD Speed Date
James Ward
Quick Specs
$49,990 plus on-road costs
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So, where did you go on your date?

My parents were returning from a trip to see the wider Ward clan in the UK and asked for an airport pickup. Of course, that's something a son is only too happy to provide.

Along with Ma, Pa and their luggage, the trip would require 'Terry' and I to pick up the dog and cat from their holiday stay at the pet resort - about a 140km round trip in all.

Ideal first date?

The Ford Territory is a family car, pure and simple. Any adventure in your 'Terry' needs a crew on board - older or younger - for the full experience.

It's perfectly set up for Australian conditions, so forget the cross town battle, round up the team and go for a proper drive to somewhere interesting. Have they found the Mahogany Ship in Portland yet? Worth a trip I'd say...

Hot or not?

The Territory has always been a handsome car, albeit a little plain. The latest update improves it, but doesn't really hide the fact that the car is essentially 10 years old.

With the latest SZ-II upgrade, the Territory sports a new grille and smarter alloy wheels. Our TS is the mid-spec model and while it misses out on the top-level Titanium's LED running lights, it is a generally sharp looking package - particularly in our test car's 'Lightning Strike' silver metallic paint (a $385 option).

It's what's inside that counts, what do you think of the interior?

Forgetting the dashboard for a moment, the interior of the Ford Territory is an excellent example of practical functionality.

It is comfortable, spacious - we had three adults, four suitcases, a cat carrier and a labrador and room to spare - and designed to just work. The third-row seats can be deployed or stored easily and the 'red is wrong' tabs on the centre row allow you to know you're on the right track for folding without a complex learning process.

Up front, the SYNC 2 system takes pride of place on the dash and does add a modern touch, but sadly it doesn't really improve the poor ergonomics and design of the dashboard. Most functions you need are there, but it just feels a bit old.

Standout features?

For mine, the biggest feature of the Territory is how complete it is as a package. Quiet, economical, comfortable and easy to live with, plus it's not terrible to look at... It's a fantastic all-rounder.

I will say, though, the 'coin trays' next to each of the front seats - there to catch errant coins and keys, stopping them from falling into the black hole under the seat rails - are brilliant!

Annoying habits?

While the Territory didn't put a foot wrong all weekend, it just doesn't feel like a new '2015' car.

You need to start it with a key, there is no panoramic sunroof option, forget about radar-assisted cruise control, no power boot... the list goes on. Now while these may not seem important in isolation, it goes to show just how far the world has moved ahead while Ford has largely stayed still (with this car at least).

Many competitors provide much more flash and whiz for the same money - you don't get an exciting feeling of modernness in the Terry. The voice activated SYNC 2 system is good, but far from best practice, and why navigation isn't standard (it is on the top-spec Titanium) in a $50k family car with a touchscreen already in place is beyond me.

Ready for a family?

The Territory's reason for being 'is' family and it does an excellent job of it.

You can fit three child seats across the middle, easily access the third row (for smaller children only though) and the adjustable bottle holders in the doors are perfect for school drink bottles or a myriad of chosen refreshments. Fair to note that the single bench third row does mean the car can't run as a six-seater with a bigger boot, which can be annoying.

High maintenance?

With Ford now offering capped-price servicing (listed at $275 for 15,000km intervals on our SZ-II TX Diesel) for the life of the vehicle, free loan car on scheduled services and 12-months road-club membership, running your Terry isn't a risky proposition.

We saw economy of about 10.2L/100km from the 140kW 2.7-litre V6 turbo-diesel - up from the claimed 9L/100km combined cycle - but still pretty good for a mainly urban loop and repeated requests from Mr Ward senior to showcase how much 'grunt' the Territory had.

Any deal-breakers?

While the Territory just doesn't have the polish and modern attention to detail as some of its fresher competitors, I came away from the Aussie SUV both surprised and impressed.

You won't impress your Galaxy S6-queuing friends with something new and cool, but it will do the job, quietly and comfortably.

So, is it serious or just a one night stand?

I get asked all the time what is a good, seven-seat, diesel, family SUV, and I will now put the Territory at the top of my recommendation list.

Keeping your options open?

The Korean twins of the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe are also excellent options, and while they may be more 'up-to-date', the Ford rides and drives better and for long touring miles that can make a big difference.

If it's not for you, who would you recommend it to?

Honestly, the Territory is a fantastic car. Don't let the blue oval put you off, this isn't a jacked-up taxi, but an excellent example of what Australian engineering can do to create a car 'for' our country. It's just a shame it didn't get the exposure it warranted on the global stage and the chance to move ahead with the times.

It's well priced at list and a downright bargain if you were to haggle for a deal. Definitely worth a look.