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First Drive: 2024 Ford Territory 1.8 EcoBoost Trend – An Intriguing Entry into the Midsize SUV Segment

The new Ford Territory 1.8 EcoBoost Trend, set to debut in South Africa, is a midsize SUV built in collaboration with Jiangling Motors (JMC) in China. This SUV, distinct from the Australian version, offers a unique blend of performance, practicality, and comfort. We provide an exclusive first drive review to uncover its features, significance, and driving experience.

Key Specifications:

  • Engine: 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
  • Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
  • Power: 138 kW @ 5 200 r/min
  • Torque: 318 N.m @ 1 750 – 3 000 r/min
  • Fuel Consumption: 7.0 L/100 km
  • Emissions: 161 g/km

Significance: The new Ford Territory assumes a vital role in Ford’s lineup, especially with the discontinuation of certain models. Developed in China, this midsize SUV aims to compete in the highly competitive segment against rivals like Haval H6 and Chery Tiggo 8 Pro. The South African market anticipates the Territory’s arrival with three trim levels: Ambiente, Trend, and Titanium.

Exterior and Interior:

  1. The exterior design is well-proportioned but slightly generic, featuring 18-inch alloy wheels on Ambiente and Trend models and 19-inch wheels on Titanium variants.
  2. The interior offers a familiar Ford layout, with adjustable driver’s seat, digital instrumentation, and touchscreen infotainment. However, some material choices raise concerns about consistency with the Ford brand.

Driving Experience:

  1. The ride quality is impressive, unaffected by larger alloy wheels on Titanium models. The electrically assisted steering provides a welcome level of weight and feedback.
  2. The 1.8-litre EcoBoost engine proves to be a wise choice, delivering 138 kW and 318 N.m of torque. The SUV demonstrates capable performance and efficiency, averaging 8.5 L/100 km.
  3. Sound-deadening features contribute to impressive overall comfort, making the Territory suitable for extended drives over varied road surfaces.

Trim Levels and Features:

  1. The Territory offers three trim levels: Ambiente, Trend, and Titanium.
  2. Trend specification includes auto (LED) headlamps, wipers, a reverse camera, power tailgate, wireless charging, imitation leather upholstery, climate control, and keyless entry.
  3. Titanium models add a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, ambient interior lighting, a 12.3-inch instrument cluster, adaptive cruise control, and comprehensive active safety features.

Verdict: The Territory appears positioned to compete effectively in its segment, challenging both Chinese and established global contenders. While pricing details are yet to be confirmed, Ford aims to strike a balance between substance, performance, and refinement, targeting a diverse market that includes both budget-conscious and premium SUV buyers. The Territory’s success in gaining traction in the South African market will depend on its competitive pricing strategy.

Note: Pricing information was not available at the time of the first drive, and the review is based on pre-production units.


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