LAUNCHED during the Manila International Auto Show, the Next-Generation Ford Territory is a complete departure from its predecessor.
It is bigger, bolder, and undoubtedly better in many ways. The latest version has grown to a sizeable family mover from a smaller couple’s ride. It looks like Ford filled in the lacking elements to satisfy every rod trip, whether driving alone or with passengers.
Recently, Ford Philippines hosted an experiential drive for automotive media members to showcase this five-seater crossover SUV’s driving dynamics. The two-day drive included traversing Rizal’s zigzag roads, Laguna’s highways, and Tagaytay’s hills to arrive at the picturesque Anya Resort.
Bigger, bolder and better
Utilizing a new platform, the Next-Gen Territory has grown to a seemingly over-sized compact crossover SUV. Thanks to the pronounced integrated honeycomb grille with slim and headlights-like daytime running lamps, the fascia has a commanding look. The full-LED headlights were fitted lower in the bumper area. The roofline is higher towards the rear end, providing a larger tailgate with a hands-free function.
The two versions have minimal exterior variations except for the apparent rim size/design and the panoramic moonroof (Titanium X). The entry Titanium variant has 18-inch multi-spoke rims, while the top-spec Titanium X sports 19-inch rollers.
Inside, the first to impress is the absolute improvement in space. The higher roofline created enough head space for rear passengers. The longer wheelbase resulted in more legroom, particularly in the back area. Comfort-wise, the leather seats are perforated and ventilated (Titanium X), with 10-way power adjustments for the driver and four-way manual adjustment for the front passenger (standard). Cargo-wise, the vehicle has storage compartments and a big trunk that can hold up to 448 liters. That is enough to fit two large-size luggage and some sporting gear.
Perhaps the main highlight is the all-digital dashboard with a single broad display panel for drive information, function settings, and entertainment systems. The tech-loaded dash highlights a large 12-inch central touch screen, spread to the sides, incorporating a seven-inch (Titanium) or 12-inch (Titanium X) digital instrument cluster. There is a rotary gear e-shifter and another knob clustered with other buttons to access audio and other function controls. Even the dual-zone aircon is touch-operated.
Other premium tech features include push-button ignition, electronic parking brake, wireless charging, USB Type C and Type A charging (rear passenger access), and Wireless Apple Carplay® and Android Auto™ capability.
More powerful, convenient, and safer
Another primary enhancement is the powertrain. Motivation comes from a Ford EcoBoost 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. Even better, it is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission seven-speed wet-clutch DCT, ditching the predecessors’ CVT. Power bumped to 157 hp and 248 N-m of torque. Various drive modes are Eco, Normal, Mountain, and Sport.
Of course, there is a suite of Advanced Driver-Assist Technologies such as Active Park Assist, 360-degree Camera, Blind Spot Information System with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Hill Launch Assist and Hill Descent Control, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System. The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Aid, Forward Collision Warning, and Autonomous Emergency Braking are exclusive to the Titanium X.
The longer route via Rizal and Laguna going to Tagaytay has enough varying scenarios to test the Next-Gen Territory’s capabilities. On straights, acceleration was swift and effortless, as expected from the boosted motor. However, the new transmission played a significant role in keeping the engine within its optimum ranges. The torque registration was smooth, thanks to the seamless and timely upshifting.
When switched to Sport or Mountain mode, the gear shifting retains at higher optimum rpm ranges and does the same for engine braking. That is why climbing the winding ascents was the least to worry about. Entering and exiting tight turns were manageable, with good steering feedback and the right braking point. At the same time, the stability control took over in maintaining the vehicle’s form despite the large frame.
However, there was a hiccup in switching between drive modes as it needed to be accessed via the center display panel. A physical button would have been a better choice for switching on the fly easier. On the other hand, the combination of Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Aid was at best in terms of being reactive in real-time.
Parking made (super) easy
Participants demonstrated the 360-degree camera at the destination resort by going through tight courses and blind spots to mimic tight spaces. The large center display was a plus, displaying various view angles. Next was the Active Park Assist. As expected, when engaged, the vehicle autonomously and effortlessly handled parallel and perpendicular parking situations through the touch of a button.
Meanwhile, the Ford Territory has once again proven that it is one of the best-selling SUVs in the country today with its recent achievement of back-to-back sales milestones. The Next-Generation Territory has sold over 5,000 units since its introduction last summer. It brings Ford Territory’s overall sales to over 25,000 units since its launch in August 2020.