2014 Ford Territory MkII road test | Last Aussie frontier
SPACIOUS, quiet and comfortable. The marque two SZ Ford Territory may be the last produced in Australia, but the local team can be justifiably proud of what has been delivered.
It's no wonder Ford's Australian engineering contingent is in demand for global development projects, particularly for China, and is about to expand its team.
Ford has tweaked this variant with minimal drivetrain changes, the biggest being a new Chinese-sourced, six-speed automatic transmission that has delivered minor fuel consumption savings in petrol models.
Most notable is the pricing, which has dropped between $3000-$6500 across the range.
Each trim - TX, TS and Titanium - has three models available, including rear-wheel drive petrol and diesel, or all-wheel drive oil-burners.
Our experience this week backed consumer tastes, which sees diesel currently account for about 70% of sales.
Feeling more robust and responsive, with a strong response from low in the rev range, the diesel is one smooth mover.
The straight-six petrol is no slouch either, although you do need to work it harder for instantaneous throttle response.
Key additions start in the base TX, which now has the Sync2 system like the Falcon, along with a 20.3cm high-resolution colour touch-screen, voice control, digital radio, emergency assistance, which can alert authorities to the vehicle's GPS coordinates in the event of a crash, and front parking sensors (rear was previously standard).
Titanium models also have an option of a new tan leather pack for no cost.
Ford Australia president and CEO, Bob Graziano, is confident dealers will have no issue shifting the last iterations of the Falcon and Territory.
"As with most of our vehicles, they sell themselves. Once you get behind the wheel and you experience how good the driving dynamics are and the technology we have added to these vehicles… so I think they'll do well," he said.
"Falcon is a really important part of our portfolio, as is Territory.
"We are really proud of where these cars have come to, and I firmly believe these are the best Falcons and Territories, are the best we have produced to date."
While this may be the last Australian-made Territory, don't expect Ford to retire the nameplate like it will do with Falcon.
Expect Ford to use the "Edge" crossover to fill the void in future, with those seeking a harder-edge SUV able to opt for the Everest, which is due to be launched mid-way through 2015.
Model: Ford Territory SZ MkII.
Details: Five-door rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, five or seven seat large SUV.
Engines: 4.0-litre in-line six cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 195kW @ 6000rpm and peak torque of 391Nm @ 3250rpm; 2.7-litre V6 turbo diesel 140kW @ 4000rpm and 440Nm @ 1900rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic.
Consumption: 10.2 litres/100km (combined average); TDCi - 8.2L/100km.
Bottom line plus on-roads: Petrol: TX RWD $36,990; TS RWD $41,740; Titanium RWD $48,490. Diesel: TX RWD $40,240; TX AWD $45,240; TS RWD $44,990; TS AWD $49,990; Titanium RWD $51,740; Titanium AWD $56,740.