It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a decade since the first Ford Territory rolled out of the factory and into the hearts and minds of Australian families.
Big wagons weren’t unheard of when the Territory launched in 2004, but the Ford was certainly the most successful in Australia – with well over 100,000 local sales on the books.
As Ford plans to end local production, the Territory name may continue – but it won’t be related to the faithful wagon that Australians have grown to know and love.
Now entering its final years alongside its Falcon brother, I took the SZ MkI Territory Titanium out on the town for one last hurrah.
I picked up my Winter White Territory Titanium AWD TDCi diesel from Motorama Ford and it’s impressive from the get go. Styling cues on the Territory have been shifts rather than movements in the past ten years – a more aerodynamic front has been installed, in line with Ford’s new Kinetic Design.
Inside the Territory shows why it consistently tops the sales charts, with three rows of leather seats, electric front seats, Ford Interior Command System; which houses the reversing camera and all your climate controls, and a rear DVD entertainment system – Ford has pulled out all the stops for the final model of their family adventurer.
Since it was launched, the Territory has been praised for its car-like handling dynamics. The undisputed leader of Ford’s current SUV lineup represents ten years of fine-tuning by Australian engineers to our driving conditions – so there’s a lot to like.
Under the bonnet, the Titanium comes standard with Ford’s 2.7L V6 Common Rail Diesel, capable of churning out 140kW/440Nm. It’s quiet, too – like any diesel worth its salt, there’s no clatter when firing up or driving, and power is delivered seamlessly from the minute you press your foot down.
For such a large car, there’s a marked absence of body roll when cornering, while handling manages to stay lively despite hauling over 2.1 tonnes.
The Territory has always been at the top of the list of active families who need lots of room. Ford has clearly taken this to heart over the last ten years, and built the Territory to balance executive style with the everyday needs of growing families.
The rear DVD entertainment system (mercifully available with wireless headphones) will keep the back seats happy, and Ford Interior Command System up front puts you in control of the action, including dual-zone climate control, sat-nav, audio and phonecalls.
Third row seating is ideal for younger children, but thanks to a sliding middle row ¬– legroom can be extended at a pinch, in case you find the car fully loaded on the weekend.
The Territory also has a class-leading amount of space with the third-row activated, and is positively gargantuan with them folded flat into the floor. Having a permanent five seat set up is a no-cost option on all standard seven seaters in the Territory range.
Fuel consumption is a standout on the Territory; Ford says 9.0L/100km in a mix of highway and city driving. Around Brisbane, I managed to get it to 10.2L/100km – better than the official figures of 10.5L/100km in pure city driving for the AWD model.
Optional towpacks are available and they’re a must-have if you have anything bigger than a trailer or a tinnie to carry. The standard additional towpack lets you drag over 1600kg, while the heavy-duty option lets you load 2700kg.
Service intervals for the Territory are set every 12 months or 15,000km – whichever comes first.
The Territory has always been mindful of the family budget. The diesel was introduced with this model and has been a welcome addition while petrol prices skyrocket.
The Territory range starts from $38,990 (RRP) for the TX petrol RWD all the way to the range topping Titanium Diesel AWD (as tested) for $56,740 (RRP).
All prices are Recommended Retail Price, and exclude dealer delivery, stamp duty, registration and any premium paints, accessories or options.
The Ford Territory has been the first name for growing families since its launch. Now in its twilight years in Australia, ten years worth of family road trips, grocery shopping and school runs have made this and its MkII the best Territory yet.
While the MkII has updated gadgets on the inside, families that need a practical and durable can get a great deal on brand new MkI models.
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