Oil on trou­bled quar­ters

The diesel vari­ant for Ford’s SUV was the last piece in the jig­saw

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - USED CAR -

NEW

AF­TER watch­ing fam­i­lies shift from sedans to SUVs, Ford re­acted by de­sign­ing one of its own based on the com­po­nents in the Fal­con parts bin.

The Ter­ri­tory was the re­sult and Ford hoped to stem the flow of red ink by en­tic­ing buy­ers to buy its big new wagon in­stead of aban­don­ing the brand.

It was a bold move and for the most part suc­cess­ful. Buy­ers jumped on the band­wagon as Ford an­tic­i­pated but it wasn’t as happy a story as hoped for.

Qual­ity prob­lems plagued the new car, there were se­ri­ous sus­pen­sion is­sues, and ul­ti­mately buy­ers wanted bet­ter fuel econ­omy than the big six­cylin­der en­gine could de­liver.

Ford worked away at all of the is­sues and the qual­ity im­proved. The front sus­pen­sion was re­designed but it wasn’t un­til the SZ model of 2011 that the ul­ti­mate piece of the jig­saw was put in place.

That was a turbo diesel en­gine, bring­ing the sort of econ­omy Ter­ri­tory buy­ers had long sought. The 2.7-litre V6 joined the 4.0-litre six-cylin­der Fal­con en­gine.

Ford be­lieved it would be so pop­u­lar that it was re­leased on all vari­ants: TX, TS and Ti­ta­nium. It was avail­able in all­wheel drive and rear-wheel drive ver­sions, while the old petrol six was only avail­able in rear-drive.

All mod­els were equipped with a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

On the road the turbo diesel pulled well, which was just what car­a­van own­ers wanted, and de­liv­ered de­cent fuel econ­omy.

In keeping with pre­vi­ous Ter­ri­tory se­ries, the SZ was com­fort­able, its cabin was flex­i­ble whether in five or seven-seat con­fig­u­ra­tions, and was quiet and smooth.

NOW

Re­port­ing on pre­vi­ous Ter­ri­to­rys usu­ally in­volved long lists of grum­bles from own­ers com­plain­ing about bits that failed and fell off, wore out pre­ma­turely, rusted or were just plain frus­trat­ing.

By the time the SZ ar­rived the lists had shrunk to the point own­ers were mostly pos­i­tive in praise of their cars. Own­ers have be­come quite a happy bunch, most of whom say their cars have been re­li­able.

The ma­jor­ity of our re­spon­dents owned diesels, which says much about the shift in Ter­ri­tory sales, and were happy with the en­gine. A cou­ple com­plained about turbo lag, the hes­i­ta­tion when ac­cel­er­at­ing away from a stand­still.

The econ­omy is the good news, as the av­er­ages — of 8.0L/100km or so on the high­way and 10.0L around town — are handy for a big, heavy wagon like the Ter­ri­tory.

One con­cern­ing re­port was of a diesel en­gine with a spun bear­ing at a mere 60,000km. It’s likely to be a build is­sue, and hope­fully a one-off.

One owner told us of a wa­ter leak in the front pas­sen­ger’s footwell. That’s not an iso­lated re­port and it’s worth check­ing for damp­ness or wa­ter en­try.

Check electrics and run win­dows up and down, as switches can be a prob­lem.

The auto trans­mis­sion can also be trou­ble­some. When test driv­ing lis­ten for a solid thump or bang at low speed. Ex­pect diff bushes to wear, as well as the front sta­biliser bar bushes.

OWN­ERS SAY

Ken Ham­mond Our 2012 diesel RWD is quiet, smooth, com­fort­able and trou­ble-free. It han­dles our 2.2-tonne car­a­van ef­fort­lessly. The only neg­a­tive is turbo lag but you get used to it. Tim Mathews My Ti­ta­nium diesel AWD, bought two years ago, has done 75,000km. I do a lot of coun­try driv­ing and find it drives very well, is com­fort­able and the AWD gives a sense of se­cu­rity in bad weather. The tyres were changed at 65,000km, and so far I haven’t had to re­place the brakes. Noth­ing has needed fix­ing. Terry Owen I drove a TX diesel RWD as a rep’s car and found it spa­cious, there was plenty of stor­age, it was eco­nom­i­cal, and had the best trip com­puter ever. But I didn’t like the turbo lag, the trans­mis­sion was harsh, there was no re­vers­ing cam­era in the base model and the Blue­tooth con­nec­tion was dodgy. Hank Piper My 2011 TX diesel AWD is the best ve­hi­cle I have owned in 46 years of driv­ing. The cabin is com­fort­able, quiet, func­tional and has loads of stor­age. The 12-month/ 15,000km ser­vice in­ter­val is a god­send and the costs are very rea­son­able. I tow a 2.7-tonne car­a­van, and I av­er­age 8.5L9.0L/100km. Mark Moes My 2012 TS RWD with 110,000km is a great all­rounder. I like the size and also tow a camper trailer. I like the torquey petrol mo­tor, the clever in­te­rior, and the double tail­gate. The only prob­lems I’ve had are wa­ter leaks in front pas­sen­ger footwell, and a rear brake light keeps blow­ing. Lind­say Whitta My Ter­ri­tory is an ex-po­lice 2012 diesel AWD. It has plenty of room for the fam­ily, is great for long dis­tance trips, has good econ­omy with enough power for over­tak­ing at high speed, and the han­dling is good for a ve­hi­cle of its size. I had to re­place the trans­mis­sion. It over­heated at 124,000km. Robin East I bought a demo 2011 SZ Ter­ri­tory Ti­ta­nium diesel AWD. I was happy with it al­though there were a few is­sues fixed un­der warranty: re­place­ments for a win­dow switch, cen­tre seat belt, rear win­dow seal, brake booster, stop light switch and front and rear diff seals. At this time I found the Ter­ri­tory great to drive, eco­nom­i­cal and very ver­sa­tile. At the be­gin­ning of 2015 I passed the car on to my daugh­ter, who had to re­place a CV joint boot and the diff bushes. Later that year a loud knock­ing noise was caused by a spun big-end bear­ing that blocked off the oil sup­ply. The en­gine had to be re­placed at a cost of $9000, 50 per cent of which was cov­ered by Ford. It has only done 62,000km. Max Schultz In 2015 I re­placed my 2010 Ter­ri­tory with a 2013 SZ TX diesel that had done 63,000km. It is com­fort­able, firm on the road, the up­dated dash and in­stru­ments are much bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous model’s, the econ­omy is good, and tow­ing 1800kg is a breeze.

SMITHY SAYS

Roomy, com­fort­able tourer with plenty of tow­ing power, par­tic­u­larly in the diesel.

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