Size, rather like those people who appear out of nowhere when the Will is about to be read, is relative and the Ford Territory is a prime example, being big in small spaces and small in big spaces.

Let me explain. The Territory is 4,6 metres long, 2,1 metres wide and 1,7 metres tall and is larger than its immediate price competitors in the medium SUV market. Out on the open road, these dimensions are barely noticeable and it is only when in city traffic or seeking a parking bay they make themselves felt.

Ford Territory Titanium front view

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However, far from being cumbersome or unwieldy, the Territory has a comfortable solidity to it with the kind of presence that makes other road users sit up and take note. The square bonnet design also means the front corners are always visible to the driver so precision manoeuvring is a breeze (backed up by a high-definition rear camera).

This set of dimensions has allowed Ford to create one of the roomiest rear seating accommodations on the market and certainly the best in the class – with enough legroom for Eben Etzebeth to stretch out in absolute comfort.

Added to that, there is still 442 litres of luggage space available and this rises to 1 422 litres if Eben is removed and the seats folded flat.

Ford Territory Titanium rear view

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In the same price bracket the Ford Territory Titanium (R707 000) comes up against the Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i S, Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0TSI 140kW 4Motion R-Line and Volvo XC40 B3 Essential and all of them share nearly identical standard specifications.

Under the hood, the Territory is powered by a 1,8-litre four-cylinder turbo-charged EcoBoost petrol engine that produces 138 kW of power matched to 318 Nm of torque. The EcoBoost engine, which features Auto Start-Stop, is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT).

Gear selection is handled by a rotary e-Shifter located in the centre console, in combination with an electronic parking brake. Drive is delivered to the front wheels with four Selectable Drive Modes available, comprising Normal, Eco, Sport, or Mountain to optimise power, torque and fuel efficiency according to the driving conditions.

Only the Volkswagen offers a smidgen more power and torque than the Ford but, does so at the expense of fuel economy – Ford claiming 7,0 l/100 km and Volkswagen 7,2 l/100 km. In reality the actual consumption of the Territory over the test period was 9,3 l/100 km, inclusive of a trip to Potchefstroom and back.

Initial fears at the coastal launch event the 1,8-litre engine would be a tad small for the big vehicle were rapidly dispelled and it is quick to respond, willing to work and never feels as if it were running out breath. This impression fully repeated itself on the Highveld with the turbo doing exactly what it was designed for.

In fact, it is quite easy to think you are pootling along at 80 km/h when your actual speed is much higher.

Ford Territory front grille closeup

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While the Territory is very much a family car and will wear all the relevant caps of daily commuter, soccer team transporter or golfing buddies’ companion, it truly relishes the long road where it provides a comfortable enclave and both a stable and sure-footed ride, aided by the 2,7-metre wheelbase.

The suspension works efficiently to iron out road ripples and, while it has a ground clearance of 190 mm, is not intended for anything more than well maintained dirt road activity.

The Ford Territory’s interior is dominated by strong horizontal lines and the double-deck console design, a feature of the Trend and Titanium models, includes a wireless phone charging facility.

The seating in the Titanium model stands out with two-tone Peacock Blue and Domino full leather trim.

Ford Territory Titanium interior driver view

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It has a 12,3-inch high-definition digital instrument cluster and a 12,3-inch landscape infotainment touchscreen that can be operated by the user’s finger or a rotary controller on the centre console.

A Bluetooth audio system is integrated into the centre touchscreen, providing wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity. This is complemented by steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

On the safety front, all Territory models come equipped with an extensive range of standard driver assist and collision mitigation features. These include Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control, Emergency Brake Assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Hill Launch Assist, Hill Descent Control and Ford’s Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

A total of six crash bags are provided, comprising dual front side, and curtain bags. Vehicle security is taken care of with the smart key Passive Entry and Passive Start (PEPS), supported by a Thatcham-grade alarm system and immobiliser.

Ford Territory Totanium on the road

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The Titanium model goes a step further with the addition of the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Warning with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Change Assist. It also boasts a Traffic Jam Assistant, Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Adaptive Cruise Control.

Included as standard is Ford Protect comprising a 4-year/120 000 km warranty, 4-year/unlimited distance Roadside Assistance and 5-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty. The recommended service interval is 15 000 km or annually, whichever occurs first.

Colin Windell


Check out the launch video with Alan R