A mate came over for lunch last weekend. He runs his own very successful manufacturing business and does alright for himself. He has just bought a new Ford Ranger for himself, and a Territory Titanium for his wife. They came over in the Territory and he threw the keys to me.
I don’t have any photos, so all the photos here are internet photos. The car was metallic grey with grey leather interior.
The exterior is a nice step up from the base models, although I’m not sure it screams $70K. I like the updates Ford did to the front and rear, although on the Titanium the chrome grille looks a bit busy. The wheels are a nice design, maybe if they were a bit bigger they would look more upper class, but the 4WD-ability would be compromised.
Ford Australia have done a good job on interiors since the BA Falcon, and this is no exception. I like the fact that all of the controls are familiar, even though I have only really driven Holdens and Japanese cars for years. The dark grey leather looks and feels very luxurious, and there is plenty of space. This car is a seven seater, which helps keep their 11 year old separate from the 13 and 15 year old. The seventh seat is big enough for a young teenager.
The rear vision is crap, especially as he had the rear windows quite heavily tinted and it was raining. Thankfully the media screen in the dash is huge (nearly as big as my laptop screen) and the reversing camera comes on as soon as revers is selected.
It feels like an upmarket version of the Falcon – no surprise there. There are some nice features like auto lights and wipers – the lights will somehow determine whether the fog lights need to come on as well and will selectively turn them on (apparently). I needed both on the day I drove it.
The engine is a 2.7 litre turbodiesel V6. It pulls hard and long, and feels very similar to my father in law’s Holden Cruze turbodiesel in the way the power comes on. Which is to say I didn’t like it much – I feel like I am waiting for ever to get up to speed.
I drove the car up what used to be called the 1 in 20 road – now called Mountain Highway – to Sassafrass in the Dandenongs. This is a great driving road and one I take the RX-7 on for a burn evry couple of weeks. The road was very wet and it was very foggy, but the all wheel drive system worked well – no understeer or oversteer into the corners, it felt planted to the road very similar to my old AWD Subaru. But that was where the comparison ended. The steering felt disconnected and it seemed to need constant feed in from the wheel which ended up being very jerky – sort of like being in a Falcon taxi driven by a recently arrived university student.
We then drove on a few very narrow steep residential streets in an area we both used to live. I was driving slowly because we were both looking around at how the place had changed.
This was where the feedback from the car was very disconcerting. The Territory range has always had cruise control that obeys the speed selected – it will brake the car if it goes over the nominated speed. This car seemed to take this one step further, and assume that because I was going slowly downhill, it wanted the brakes on. The car seemed very hard to get power down smoothly as the accelerator seemed to be competing with the brakes.
I’m sure around town this would be OK, but it was very much highlighted on these hilly streets.
This is a good looking SUV with loads of gadgets – for $70K it needs to be. It outhandles all of the truck based SUVs but if you are used to driving a RWD car based wagon, it is a bit disappointing. From a driving point of view, the old Holden Adventra had it all over this IMO. Imagine a VE Calais Sportwagon with the Adventra running gear – if only. I’ve not driven a Captiva, but for the price you could have a top of the range Cappy and a Cruze CD.