FAMILIAR FORD FREIGHTER
The perennial Falcon underpinned the versatile wagon
The Territory was Ford’s response to the shift away from big sedans and wagons to SUVs. It employed the well-proven mechanicals of the Falcon but delivered a high-riding family-sized wagon with a choice of rear or allwheel drive.
Shorter than the Falcon, it had a longer wheelbase. It was roomy inside, able to seat five, or seven with the optional third row, and there was room left over for luggage.
The mechanical package was mostly made up of components familiar to Falcon owners.
Power for most models came from the same lusty 4.0-litre six-cylinder with peak outputs of 190kW/383Nm that delivered ample performance and towing ability and matching thirst — claimed average was 12.2L12.8L/100km.
The optional turbocharged version of the 4.0-litre six in the Territory Turbo and Ghia Turbo upped the performance peaks to a whopping 245kW/480Nm. The extra zip came at the cost of significantly higher fuel consumption.
Two conventional automatics were available, a base four-speeder and a ZF sixspeed with sports shifting.
Ford’s decision to have the rear-wheel drive option was a smart one — it would do everything most owners wanted, for less money and less complication than the all-wheel drive.
The base TX had airconditioning, adjustable pedals, power windows, cloth trim, CD player and remote central locking.
Next up was the TS, with dual climatecontrol aircon, cruise, rear cargo cover, velour trim and six-CD sound.
Topping out was the Ghia with leather trim, powered driver’s seat and a long list of standard features.
In 2009, the Series II update added airbags, more standard features, and minor cosmetic changes inside and out. The turbo engine became available only in the Ghia. There were no mechanical changes but revised calibrations garnered better fuel economy.
The Territory was a hit with families wanting an SUV but it proved too little too late to stave off the market move. High fuel consumption was a major turn-off for people who were seeking to save at the pump when the fuel prices were climbing.
There were major problems with the front-end, with ball joints wearing out quickly and even breaking in some cases.
The front-end was revised to eliminate the problem in the 2009 Series II update, which makes that the better buy.
In earlier versions, the ball joints should have been replaced at 50,000km-75,000km.
Another common problem was splitting of the rear diff bushes, which is often heard as a clunk from the rear when driving off.
Drive shaft bearings are also known to leak, so a check underneath is worthwhile.
The ZF six-speed transmission is expensive to fix. Dealers tend to replace rather than repair them but automatic transmission specialists can rebuild if necessary.
Look carefully around the body for rust. Owners of early Territorys often complained of rust around the engine bay, fuel filler and rear window.
Ford issued a recall in 2009 to rectify a potential leak in a front brake hose. Check to see the work was done.
DARREN HOLDSWORTH: We have owned a 2008 Territory from new, covering 134,000km. I would happily buy another one. From hauling family and friends, with plenty of interior room for all, to pulling trailers and carrying bulky items in the rear, it makes family life easier on the move. We replaced a faulty fuel injector at 10,000km, steering rack at 105,000km, and the variable position pedals at 120,000km. Our experience has been a good one.
RUSS AND JO SCHULER: We have owned three Territorys since 2005. We love the highdriving position and easy cruising, and you can carry an incredible amount of gear with second and third row seats down. They’ve never let us down and we’d buy another one if we could.
BOB KING: I’ve had three Territorys. The first one was a company provided 2010 TX rearwheel drive, which I drove for 110,000km. It was extremely reliable and, apart from routine servicing and tyres, there was no fault or failure of any component. The four-speed gearbox was an issue; it overheated more than once and automatically dropped into limp mode when towing a large unloaded dual-axle trailer in hilly country.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
SMITHY SAYS The Series II update is a much better option. Avoid early SY Territorys (2.5 stars)