Out­side the square

The Ter­ri­tory was a gam­ble that paid off, writes GRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars 2004- 2006 Ford Territory -

FORD took the brave de­ci­sion to ven­ture into un­known ter­rain when it de­cided to build the Ter­ri­tory SUV. Ford Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Ge­off Po­lites made the de­ci­sion, which could have had dire con­se­quences had it not suc­ceeded.

Po­lites read the mar­ket cor­rectly and the Ter­ri­tory has been a sales suc­cess since ar­riv­ing in 2004.

Ford was a one-car com­pany and re­ally needed an­other vol­ume seller to keep afloat when sales of big cars like the Fal­con were in de­cline.

MODEL WATCH

THE for­mula Ford fol­lowed for the Ter­ri­tory wasn’t new. SUVs had been around for years and Ford had built them in other parts of the world.

A sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence with the Ter­ri­tory was that it was built in twowheel drive and all-wheel drive.

It was cor­rectly recog­nised that many SUV buy­ers wanted a roomy wagon for fam­ily trans­port, and liked the high driv­ing po­si­tion that gave them a bet­ter view of the road. The least of their pri­or­i­ties was an abil­ity to go off the road.

In fact, hav­ing the ex­tra weight and com­plex­ity of the ad­di­tional driv­e­line cost them money at the pump.

Apart from the en­gines, gear­boxes and some driv­e­line com­po­nents there wasn’t much in com­mon with the Fal­con. It was fun­da­men­tally a new car from the ground up.

It had a longer wheel­base than the Fal­con, but was shorter over­all. Its shape was neat and clean, its lines un­clut­tered and pur­pose­ful.

Inside it was roomy enough to ac­com­mo­date up to seven adults with the op­tional third row, with plenty of space for ev­ery­thing a fam­ily needs to take with them.

It had the same 182kW 4.0-litre, dou­ble-over­head camshaft, six­cylin­der en­gine as the BA Fal­con and the same four-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion with se­quen­tial sports shift.

Though it rode higher than the Fal­con, the sus­pen­sion was familiar stuff, al­beit re­fined. At the front was Ford’s vir­tual pivot sus­pen­sion that has since been adapted to the Fal­con, and the con­trol blade in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion.

Brakes were disc front and rear, with anti-skid elec­tron­ics, trac­tion con­trol and grade con­trol for of­froad safety on the all-wheel model.

The TX was the en­try model, with stan­dard equip­ment in­clud­ing air­con­di­tion­ing, trip com­puter, ad­justable ped­als, power win­dows and re­mote cen­tral lock­ing.

Step up to the TS and you got dual cli­mate con­trol air­con­di­tion­ing, cruise con­trol, six-stacker CD sound and al­loy wheels.

The Ghia had even more, in­clud­ing power adjustment for the driver’s seat and auto dim­ming on the rear view mir­ror.

An up­date in 2005 brought a sixspeed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, and an­other in 2006 added a 245kW turbo en­gine.

ON THE LOT

THE Ter­ri­tory is pop­u­lar, so ex­pect to pay plenty for them.

An en­try model 2004-2006 TX rear- wheel drive will cost $ 18,000-$ 25,000. The bet­terequipped TS goes for $20,000-$29,000. For both mod­els, add $2000 for all-wheel drive.

But the best equipped Ghia runs from $25,000-$32,000. The later turbo all-wheel drive model is $30,000-$35,000, with the Ghia ver­sion $40,000-$45,000.

IN THE SHOP

THE Ter­ri­tory will han­dle rough roads, but it was never de­signed to ven­ture too far from the beaten track. Check the un­der­body for dam­age caused by off-road driv­ing.

It hasn’t been with­out its dra­mas and there are plenty of un­happy own­ers out there.

There was a prob­lem with ex­ces­sive wear of the front lower ball joints, which would be­come sloppy and even­tu­ally make a knock­ing noise. Ford dis­cov­ered the prob­lem quite early on and deal­ers re­placed the joints un­der war­ranty.

It would hap­pen as low

as 50,000km, so be mind­ful of any knock­ing noise you might no­tice. Check for a ser­vice record as any Ter­ri­tory that hasn’t seen the inside of a Ford dealer might have missed out on the ball joint swap.

Re­ports of rust are quite com­mon on Ter­ri­to­rys. It’s rust stain­ing rather than ac­tual panel per­fo­ra­tion at this stage, but it looks ugly and should be cause for con­cern.

The re­ports sug­gest the rust is vis­i­ble in the en­gine bay, around the fuel filler and the rear win­dow.

IN A CRUNCH

Safety sys­tems, in­clud­ing anti-skid brakes, elec­tronic brake force dis­tri­bu­tion and trac­tion con­trol, make a com­pelling case for the Ter­ri­tory’s safety. Elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol was stan­dard on all-wheel drives and Ghia two-wheel drives, adding even more safety.

Dual front airbags and side cur­tain airbags were stan­dard on TS and Ghia mod­els, but op­tional on the base model TX.

ANCAP crash test­ing rated the Ter­ri­tory at four stars.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

SUV suit­able for fam­ily use, but beware of re­li­a­bil­ity nig­gles.

Ride on: the Ford Ter­ri­tory was per­fect for buy­ers who want roomy fam­ily trans­port with a high driv­ing po­si­tion.

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