CDAA’s Test drive of the Territory.
We’ll today I was called by my dealer (Kym) to take a Territory Ghia for a spin. Although I’m not in the market for these at the very moment to say these new Ford’s had my interest, as a family car would be an understatement.
On paper with the exception of the power output, theses car offer everything I really need at the moment. What I was able to do today was see if what was on paper, was able to come to fruition and exceed my expectations. Well enough at least to distract me from the performance of the 182 Barra I6 being an issue
Initial impressions were excellent with the car having a great presence on the road, much better than in most of the media photos in my opinion. The fit and finish of the vehicle was excellent and a slight improvement on the BA Falcon’s. There were many subtle features like the alloy-look inserts on the internal door arm handles, which lead me to believe they may be making an appear on BA Series 2. As a series 2 potential purchasers, this was very reassuring.
The Territory interior appointment was excellent, very car like and miles ahead of everything I have seen in the similar price bracket. To be frank if you were in the market for a new 6 cylinder family wagon or light SUV, to not consider one of these would be mad IMO. To compare it’s looks, dynamic’s, enginnering and overall finish over the BA wagon and Commodore wagon leaves you wondering why this type of car wasn’t developed by either manufacture in Australia years ago.
Well I must say that for the first time when I would have liked a sales person to show me all the features the car had to offer, Kym simply handed me the keys and sent me on my way. Initially I was delighted with this, but soon realised I was in a car that I was not overly familiar with and to some degree a tour would have been beneficial. Putting this aside, I hopped in, bucked up and took her straight into peak hour traffic mounting the left rear wheel over the curb as I went (Opps…always a good exit with someone’ else’s car! )
Well the Territory was the most car like SUV I have ever driven and I felt relatively comfortable almost immediately. Inside the Territory was very quite and I found myself kicking back the engine just so I could hear something! You tend to sit lower than a Falcon when driving these cars, which had me feeling a little lost in the cabin. The thing is a glasshouse with excellent visibility, but I couldn’t buy one without very dark tint (….and no, it’s not for nose picking
As for ride and handling there was none of that typical 4x4 jiggle or roll. The car feeling very balanced at all times and in all conditions (limited to my 30min drive). On the downside the car felt somewhat floaty in comparison to the XR8, which is not surprising, but what was surprising was the firmness of it’s spring set up, which actually felt firmer in the ‘Ghia’ version than the XR8!
Before I drove the car I had to look under the bonnet (bloke thing) to see how they shoehorned the barra 6 into the engine bay. Well the good news was it looked totally lost in there, with plenty of room for either a turbo or a V8 (alloy 5L crate motor anyone??
). The bad news is for those performance nut’s (like me) although the power is class leading and certainly adequate, it felt rather breathless and lethargic when punted hard. This was even when encouraged a little using the SSS mode. Considering the target market and in comparison to what’s currently on offer by other manufactures (both SUV’s and wagons etc), I do not think this would be of great concern to the majority, only the minority…..like me?
We’ll after my test drive I was very impressed and think Ford have done a magnificent job. The designers have done wonders with integration and styling for such a vehicle, having said that they have also allowed for further enhancements and improvements in future. A hell of a lot of thought and engineering has gone into these cars and you know it as soon as you take a good look and drive one.
But moved… I wasn’t for this car did little for my passion for driving. I was left longing to get back into the comfort, sound and feel of my XR8. I drove back into the dealer and saw my purple machine parked in the background, it was then that I realised that this car, the Territory was not for me right now. Ford, you have done a magnificent job and I do believe that I will own one of your Territory performance model variations in the near future.
P.S. I know it’s been a while since I wrote you all a test drive article and yes, I do know I still owe you all one on the GT……it’s coming..