Ford Territory: Driving to new ground

Ford Territory: Driving to new ground

We experience the improvements found on Ford’s strong-selling crossover

By Dylan Afuang

THE LATEST Territory crossover that Ford Philippines has said sold 5,000 units since its April 2023 launch — adding to the 20,000 units sold by the nameplate’s first iteration — seemed like the perfect vehicle for road trips.

It had the ingredients for being such, as made apparent during an experiential driving event the company had staged. The event featured the model’s two variants, the Titanium (P1.335 million) and the Titanium X (P1.599 million).

And although this wasn’t the occasion’s deliberate objective, we were also able to observe the improvements of the newest vehicle over its predecessor — even when the former is built upon the same structure of the original, much of which was derived from a Chinese vehicle.

Before setting off, the new Territory already made good first impressions. It dropped Ford’s design touches oddly mixed with Yusheng’s sheetmetal of the previous model, in favor of seamless curves and subtle bulges. The crossover’s cohesive styling is the result of the Chinese-penned “Progressive Energy Through Strength” design language.

While it measures a few millimeters narrower than the old car, this compact crossover’s dimensions are larger elsewhere, which lends to its more sizable road presence — and most notably, opens up more room inside the cabin for five passengers and the stuff they may bring along for the journey.

Aside from being more spacious than before, the interior room feels that it exceeds the class average. The cockpit is roomy even with the wide center console, and two rear occupants can sit cross-legged when the middle seat isn’t occupied. Cargo area is as expansive at 448 liters with a wide opening and accessible loading lip.

In the Titanium X variant, that cargo area can be accessed through a powered tailgate. Shared between the two variants are comfortable power-adjustable driver seats, keyless entry with push-start ignition, digital climate controls, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto projected upon a 12-inch touchscreen.

On the move, we didn’t find controlling the climate functions and the driving modes through screens neither intuitive nor safe. On the other hand, the sharpest driving mode maximized the already brisk 158hp and 248Nm of torque output of the 1.5-liter turbo engine, and quickened the shifts of the smooth seven speed dual clutch automatic that spun the front wheels.

The Territory also steered a tad sharper than it used to, the cabin better insulated the outside noise, and the ride exhibited a serene quality. Even though the laid-back crossover is better suited to highways than on back roads, there’s a newfound quality in its driving experience.

Once driving ended, proximity sensors and a 360-degree camera made parking easier, or we relegated the task to Ford’s Active Park Assist technology (standard on both variants), while the Titanium model features blind-spot warning and standard cruise control, and lane-keeping assist, frontal collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control are found on the X.

All of these — and the Territory’s five-year warranty or up to 150,000 km, whichever comes first — make it an attractive choice for roads short and, quite possibly, long, too.