FA­MIL­IAR FORD FREIGHTER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - USED CAR - GRA­HAM SMITH

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.

OWN­ERS SAY

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)

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