Small SUV looks to cash in on growing segment
WE ALL remember that some years back, Ford found great success in creating a unique market space — for the mini utility vehicle — in the Asian automobile market, which is embodied by the Ford EcoSport.
The EcoSport was a huge hit, and many other brands soon followed its lead and created their own versions of vehicles that filled that demand. Fast-forward to several years later, and Ford once again recognized the wide gap forming between the mini and small utility vehicle markets. This fresh market opportunity welcomed the new Ford Territory — a small utility vehicle that is a class above the EcoSport, and that provides great value to customers who put greater premium on utility space, while keeping to an affordable budget.
Thus, not losing any time, Ford Philippines had just over the weekend formally launched its new Ford Territory in an online event. The five-seater small SUV capitalizes on Ford’s global expertise when it comes to vehicle design, engineering and driver-assist technologies. Its introductory price starts at a very convincing P1.179 million for the Trend and P1.299 million for the Titanium+, and that already includes a free three-year scheduled service plan (for purchases until Sept. 15).
The Territory was developed by Ford Motor Co. (extensively involving its Design Studio based in Melbourne, Australia, for its aesthetics and adherence to the design principles of Ford SUVs) and its JV partner, Jiangling Motors Corp. (for the development of its engine in China).
Here in the Philippines, it is offered in two variants: Trend and the top-tier Titanium+.
“The Ford Territory will boost our growing SUV lineup as a new product borne out of Ford’s long-standing heritage and expertise in the utility segment. We are confident that the Ford Territory will offer a new driving experience to Filipino customers as a modern, spacious and technologically advanced SUV that delivers great value,” remarked Ford Philippines President and Managing Director PK Umashankar.
An important product in Ford’s Asian portfolio, this small SUV has also been meticulously tested in both of Ford’s testing centers in Nanjing, China and at the Geelong Proving Grounds in Melbourne, Australia. The resulting product boasts of a finely-tuned suspension in true Ford fashion, and of good NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) levels.
One of the things I like most about this Ford Territory is its 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine which offers a sprightly, stop-go city drive alongside commendable fuel economy. I’ve always been a fan of Ford’s EcoBoost engines; and using it on this Territory combined with CVT transmission makes for a smooth-driving, urban SUV that still has room for a bit more of fun with its Sport Mode that can be activated at the push of a button.
The vehicle is also the widest in its segment, offering commodious passenger space and ample shoulder room. Overhead is a very lovely, panoramic moonroof — an impressive premium feature for this car segment, I must say. Other bells and whistles are: Front seats that can either be heated or cooled; a 10-inch full digital display instrument cluster that you can personalize by choosing from three selectable display themes, namely: Normal, Sport, and Fashion; and, another one of my favorites, the ability to choose from seven different car ambient lighting color options, so you can always match your cabin with your mood.
Furthermore, Ford has always held great strength in its smart, driver-assist technologies, and the Territory certainly does not disappoint. Complementing its impressively large, 10-inch touchscreen — divided into four quadrants to make navigating through options quicker and easier — are four USB ports and six speakers for the Trend variant (eight speakers for the Titanium+). Of course, Apply CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard. The Titanium+ goes as far as offering wireless mobile phone charging.
The Titanium+ also has Ford CoPilot360, a suite of modern safety technologies that includes Active Park Assist — which allows the car to park itself (under the driver’s supervision) in either parallel parking situations or even perpendicular parking (a segment first). Worries are vanquished with its 360-degree Around View Monitor that allows you to take a full look at your surroundings. Of course, you also get the usual adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot information system, and lane departure warning.
Standard in both variants are electronic stability control, ABS, EBD, traction control, hill launch assist, rear parking sensors, and six air bags. Child seat Isofix anchorage points are ready on demand. A feature that I find extra delightful is that you can check your tire health at any time using a tire pressure monitoring system, which does not only show up once your tires are already going flat. You can literally monitor individual tire pressure at your bidding, by selecting the option from your display.
I had the opportunity to briefly drive the new Territory around the Bonifacio Global City, and one of the things that caught my attention was that the vehicle has commendable brakes — smooth and strong — even after a fast sprint driving on Sport Mode. What proved quite handy in stop-and-go traffic is its Brake Hold feature, which automatically applies the park brake whenever you come to a full stop. Stepping on the accelerator automatically releases the brake hold, and allows you to move forward with less steps compared to say, engaging and disengaging a handbrake.
The 10-inch touchscreen is now more easily manipulated using an ergonomic toggle, which is located on the driver’s right-hand side. There is quite a lot to tinker around with on the dashboard — but since this model is aimed at young, tech-savvy individuals… then it’s pretty spot-on for the market. Perhaps all one will need is a proper orientation session prior to driving, to familiarize oneself with the multitude of options.
The Ford Territory will be offered in six colors, namely: Ruby Red, Diffused Silver, and Panther Black for both variants; Star White specifically for the Trend variant; and Crystal Pearl White and Moonstone Blue for the Titanium+.