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The 245kW turbo six from the Falcon XR6 could well have been applied to the Territory as early as its 2004 launch.
However, concerns about the engine’s thirst meant that the hot version of the crossover had to wait until a six-speed automatic could be attached to it.
That way Ford could gear it out and mitigate its thirst a tad.
It seems to have worked, because the turbo-charged six creates its peak at just 2000rpm, which means it requires much lighter throttle openings than the ordinary Territory, and can surf along from low speed with very little drama.
Also, having six gears to shuffle through means the big Ford is so nonchalantly relaxed that even when the fuel bills grow as you exploit the car’s full performance potential, it doesn’t hurt that much.
There has to be a proviso here and that’s that the Territory Turbo will down fuel like a camel drinking if you exploit its full performance ability most of the time; and don’t expect to sip gas in slow traffic and while commuting – the big Ford will not defy physics and chemistry at the same time.
The car’s 245kW (that’s 329 horsepower if your prefer ponies to electrickery) is so deliciously seamless and undemonstrative to passers-by, that it draws little attention to itself and shovels out great wads of power and torque from idle to 5000rpm.
The six-speed automatic is a honey, or down a slot manually by using the floor-mounted lever, it would be even nicer to operate some wheelmounted paddles to execute the same changes.
With the longesttravel suspension in the indigenous Australian car line-up, the Territory uses it well.
The just over two-tonne up-toseven- seater manages bumps and holes nicely, never jarring and always able to react without wavering when those obstacles are mid-bend.
On the open road, the car’s ride quality is sumptuous, but well-planted.
It doesn’t wallow over backcountry undulations and when things get twisty, popping the transmission down a slot and guiding the vehicle through a curve is as close as you’ll get to emulating a car in a large SUV.
With the Ford’s lightly turbo-charged in-line six, the linear swell of urge from 2000rpm upwards is pleasingly easy to manage and even on the loose, talcum-lubricated roads of the high country, the Territory is always easy to keep balanced, assisted by wellweighted, accurate steering with plenty of good information coming through the rim.
Driving on snow is impressive too, with that predictable throttle being a boon on slippery surfaces, where the Ford’s standard ESP can also lend a hand when understeer finally manages to take the upper hand.
There are two versions of the Territory Turbo.
There’s the Ghia Turbo with leather and all the fruit, and the XR Turbo which uses cloth trim and has nearly all the fruit.
Other differences include a standard rearview camera for the Ghia – it’s an option in the XR – curtain airbags and a six-stack CD player.
Outside, the cars can be separated by their alloy wheel designs (same size, different spokes) and some subtle badgework, but from a distance, unless the big bonnet letterbox intake is in view both turbo versions look largely like any other Territory.
Either car’s cabin is a very pleasant place to be, however, with the same terrific ergonomics as the Falcon, albeit on a deeper dash and fascia platform.
Hot Falcons and FPVs notwithstanding, there are few who wouldn’t agree that the Territory is the best thing to wear a Ford badge out of Australia.
Now there’s a turbo version of the machine, it gets even better.
- © Fairfax NZ News