FORD AUSTRALIA HAS been promising a diesel Territory almost since the
petrol model lobbed way back in 2004. Finally, the diesel is here – so
we slung a caravan behind the new model to see if it makes an better tow
tug than the petrol models before it.
Plenty of fresh sheetmetal
and interior bits go into what is essentially a heavily made-over
2004-2010 Territory. The basic structure remains the same, as does the
mildly refreshed 4.0L petrol engine. But the 2.7L diesel is all-new for
the local Ford.
test through East Gippsland wasn't all plain sailing. At 1680km on the odometer, the
Territory was trailered away after it developed a loud tapping noise.
Product Communications Manager Peter Fedeyev said, "Early indications
are that the engine failure was a one-off, which appears to have been
brought about by a bearing failure.
"There is no indication that this is an issue on any other engines, as this is the first time we have seen this failure."
that test, I’ve clocked up more than 350km in another diesel Territory,
and this one didn’t skip a beat. Ford is not the first company to have
an isolated engine failure, but let’s hope, for their sake, that ours is
the last Territory to do so.
new dash and centre console blend in nicely to what has to be one of
this century’s better SUV interior layouts, with multiple seating
options and heaps of storage space.
The V6 diesel is one of the
smoothest in the business – it is nothing like the clattery diesel you
might expect. A harmonic vibration intrudes at around 1600rpm, but
that’s it. It is a really smooth diesel.
Turbo lag, that annoying
soft response turbodiesels often suffer at low rpm, is not the
impediment it can be in other diesels. Yes, there is a small pause as
the turbo spins up, but then it simply gets on with delivering heaps of
torque in a predicatable, smooth manner.
The Territory has not lost its superb handling manners. It is still the best handling SUV in its class.
We got an
average fuel consumption figure of 9.2L/100km without a van behind, and
an average of 15.8L/100km while towing an 1800kg caravan.
Territory had excellent performance with a caravan behind, powering up
hills easily and comfortably at the speed limit. Engine braking on
declines was also excellent.
When ordered with the heavy-duty tow
package, the Territory comes with a load levelling kit, but
unfortunately the torsion bars supplied were not correct for the
application. Despite this, we were able to tow confidently with the
Territory – aside from fore-aft pitching, it was as solid as a rock on
the road. Clearly, with the correct WDH torsion bars fitted up, it’d
level out nicely.
Ford won’t be the first car company to have an
engine fail, and we hope our test car’s problem was a one-off. Provided
it was, I have this to say: Plenty of get up and go, great handling,
decent fuel economy (at last!) and a nice stable chassis suggest the new
Territory will be the answer to many caravanners' prayers.
For the full report, see the latest issue of Caravan World
WORDS Phil Lord PICS Stuart Grant