It’s as mild as an update gets, but new infotainment tech and a freshened look add some sparkle to the trusty Territory in its twilight years.
WHAT IS IT?
The most expensive variant in the MkII range, which includes base TX, mid-level TS and this flagship Titanium. Each is available as a rear-drive 4.0-litre petrol, or rear-drive or four-wheel-drive with a 2.7-litre V6 turbo-diesel.
WHY WE’RE TESTING IT
It’s the end of an era and has just gone on sale. The Territory that helped define the seven-seat SUV segment has had a mild tweak before it’s decommissioned by October 2016.
Toyota Kluger, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Nissan Pathfinder
THE WHEELS VERDICT
Still one of the best driving SUVs on the market, but age is wearying the Territory.
THE WHEELS REVIEW
DYNAMIC changes to the Series II Territory amount to precisely zero. After a few corners, you realise why.
Fluent steering and excellent body control ensure a succession of challenging bends is tackled with minimal leaning for what is a high-riding wagon, and there’s decent grip from the 18-inch Goodyear Fortera tyres.
Neutral balance tends to understeer if you ramp up the pace, but the Territory’s limits are higher than many soft-roaders a decade younger. Its stability control, too, stays out of play until required.
If driving maturity counted for sales, the Territory would be near the top of its game. It’s a reminder of why it was the first SUV to win Wheels Car of the Year.
It’s also respectably quiet, quelling road roar and keeping the diesel engine in check.
The car that changed the local SUV game when it arrived in 2004 is still mechanically close to that original, but now comes with extra fizz inside and some new grilles with more chrome.
The ageing 2.7-litre Land Rover-sourced diesel V6, which arrived in the Territory in 2011, still delivers a power punch that suits the Territory’s two-tonne frame. There’s some turbo lag from a standstill, but once the turbo is pumping there’s adequate torque for easy overtaking and suburban duties.
However, fuel use is not a Territory strong suit. While improvements have been made to the 4.0-litre six-cylinder petrol models – a revised ZF transmission and new torque converter – the 9.0L/100km claim for the diesel-powered Titanium model is towards the top of the scale.
Inside, the Territory’s flexibility is still a highlight, even in an era of fresher designs, with features ranging from bottle holders beside each front seat to oversized door pockets and a tray under the driver’s seat.
But the Falcon-inspired interior is starting to date, even with the latest eight-inch Sync2 screen atop the dash, though voice activation is useful for navigation functions, allowing quick and easy inputs to find a local service station or ATM.
Curtain airbags that don’t cover the third row is another memento that didn’t seem as disappointing in 2004 as they do now.
And there’s the occasional hint of penny-pinching, even on the top Titanium level that comes with a choice of black or baseball-glove brown leather; the driver’s seat is only half electric, relying on a winding mechanism for its backrest angle.
Model: Ford Territory Titanium AWD Diesel
Engine: 2720cc, V6, dohc, turbo-diesel
Max power: 140kW @ 4000rpm
Max torque: 440Nm @ 1900rpm
Transmission: 6-speed auto
Price: $42,990 (manual), $45,190 (auto)
On sale: Now
Click here to read the full range review of the Ford Territory
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