Ford Australia and NZ has just launched its 2011 Territory at a press event held in Canberra. The 2011 Territory is a result of a $230 million AUS investment by Ford that saw 800,000 kms of testing to extensively update its popular mid-size SUV. Car and SUV was there to experience the mechanical, design and equipment upgrades that feature in the reworked Territory.
At first glance the 2011 Territory may look like little more than a facelift of its long-serving predecessor but under the surface major changes have made the Falcon-based SUV a much more tempting prospect. The big news is the inclusion of a diesel engine for the first time in the Territory range. For use in both all-wheel and rear-wheel-drive variants is Ford’s 2.7-litre Duratorq TDCi turbo diesel motor. It’s a competent unit that produces 140kW of power and 440Nm of peak torque from 1900rpm. It’s also quite smooth and fairly quiet being helped by extensive sound-deadening as part of the upgrades. Fuel economy isn’t bad either with the diesel mill achieving 8.2l/100km combined in rear-wheel drive form and 8.8l/100km in all-wheel drive guise. That figure drops to around 6.5l/100km while motorway cruising and with a 75-litre tank it will be a long time between filling up. Towing capacity for the diesel Territory is 2700kg braked for the all-wheel drive model and 2300kg for the rear driver.
While Car and SUV would certainly prefer the diesel option, some people still love their petrol powered SUVs, for them there is an inline six-cylinder engine shared with the current FG Falcon. This unit pumps out 195kW of power and 391Nm of torque. While it doesn’t feel as well suited to the Territory as the diesel mill it’s a strong free-revving motor and is offered as the standard powertrain. Fuel economy figures for the petrol Territory are 10.6l/100km combined. The petrol model is available in rear-wheel-drive only and has a towing capacity of 2300kg.
All 2011 Territory models are fitted with Ford’s ZF-based six speed auto transmission, these gearboxes provide smooth changes, particularly when mated to the diesel mill and have a sports mode and sequential changing for self-shifting.
On the road, the upgraded Territory felt more agile and far more refined than its predecessor thanks to a completely re-engineered suspension tune that includes new springs, dampers and stabilisers. This new set-up combines with serious improvements in minimising noise, vibration and harshness for a much more relaxed and quiet driving atmosphere. Ford claims the Territory can beat more expensive competitors in this area and it’s easy to believe – it’s very quiet in the cabin.
Another mechanical update is the addition of a Electric Assisted Power Steering (EPAS) system, which also sees use in the US-market Mustang. It’s tuned for our roads and although it may be a touch light on occasion for some tastes, it is precise and nicely predictable. While driving the Territory on dirt roads the EPAS system relayed very little vibration or slip through the wheel.
To update the Territory exterior aesthetic there’s a new front end with replaced upper and lower grilles, the headlights, bonnet and front bumper have all been refreshed. There’s new LED lamps on the high-spec models and the C-pillars and rear lights have also received treatment. While the SZ Territory doesn’t look “all-new” it has been nicely modernised and will continue to be one of the more distinctive SUVs on our roads.
Inside, the Territory has a complete dashboard redesign with many Falcon design cues. On the top spec models there is the new Interior Command Centre (ICC) a high-mounted eight-inch touch screen which looks sharp and controls a variety of equipment. Family practicality is a definite focus in the cockpit and there’s a huge range of clever small storage options, 12-volt outlets and cup/bottle holders. There is also a lockable drawer under the driver’s seat and armrest bins to stash away valuables. In NZ all Territory vehicles will have seven-seats as standard and while the third row is best suited to kids it’s a handy part-time seating option. Both the third and middle row of seats fold flat to create a long loading area. There is also a handy split tailgate that opens the whole hatch or just the glass which is ideal for loading the Territory up with gear.
Previously the highest specification for the Territory was Ghia spec, that’s now renamed Titanium and buyer’s who pony up the extra cash to get the best can expect some serious fruit. Full leather interior, 18-inch alloys, roof-mounted DVD player, ICC touch screen, Bluetooth, rear camera and satellite navigation are all fitted to the Titanium.
The next model down is called the TS and is also well equipped with a seven-speaker audio system, 18-inch alloys, reverse camera, ICC 8-inch touch screen and Bluetooth included.
The entry-level TX model is available with the diesel or petrol engine and comes well specified with automatic climate control, four-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, power windows and side mirrors, reverse sensing system and an Interior Command Centre (ICC) fitted with a smaller 5.8-inch monochromatic LCD screen. 17-inch alloys are standard and there are over 30 interior storage compartments including a wet area under the rear floor.
Safety improvements on the new Territory see it fitted with a dynamic stability control system that includes roll over mitigation and a reworked front crash structure with a driver’s knee airbag now standard across the range.
Overall, the 2011 Territory is an impressively updated SUV, the model’s traditional strengths of practicality and driveability have been nicely extended and the increase in safety features and standard equipment make it an attractive prospect. Diesel power took a while to reach the Territory but the new Duratorq TDCi engine is well-mannered and strong. The ride is better balanced and the level of refinement when driving the 2011 Territory was surprisingly good. Bottom line is that the updated Territory is well tailored to NZ roads and is definitely worth a closer look for anyone looking to buy a mid-size SUV.
NZ Pricing and availability will be announced very shortly, check back for details. To find out more click here to visit the Ford NZ website.