Despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 proved to be a busy year for Ford Philippines. Chief among its efforts last year was the launch of the Ford Territory, a China-imported compact crossover. At the time of the launch, we described it as “a pretty good fit for Ford’s local lineup, offering buyers a more spacious alternative to the long-running EcoSport subcompact crossover.”
Now, the latter point is undeniably true—if you find the EcoSport just a tad too small, then the Territory is indeed a roomier offering from the American carmaker. But is it truly a good fit for the local market? The only way to find out is to drive it.
At first glance, the Territory cuts a macho yet sleek image. This Trend variant gets a gloss-black grille up front, flanked by a set of full LED headlamps with daytime running lights. Along the sides, muscular haunches give it the quintissential SUV muscularity, while sharp character lines and a beltline that ascends to the rear make it look sporty. Speaking of the rear, that slanted C-pillar and small window are straight out of the current-gen Explorer.
In the back, the windshield is small thanks to the aforementioned high beltline, and the LED headlamps are connected by a chrome strip bearing the Ford logo. In all, the look is more classic-modern Ford compared with the smaller EcoSport, and makes sense as a step up for more mature buyers.
Inside, the Territory presents an uncluttered dashboard that mainly consists of just a single touchscreen display. It’s a big display, at least. Measuring in at 10 inches, the infotainment system is fairly easy to operate, while the supporting six speakers provide some decent sound quality. Underneath this are a set of racing-inspired tabs for various controls.
Personally, I’m not fond of integrating the majority of the cabin controls within the touchscreen system. Some physical A/C controls for easier adjustment while driving would’ve been a welcome touch. There’s also a wheel for adjusting some of the settings, but I didn’t find myself gravitating to it like I have on other cars.
What does work is the small 3.5-inch LCD display on the instrument panel, sandwiched in between the analog speedometer and tachometer. While I’ve not seen the fully-digital panel on the top-of-the-line variant, I think this kind of tech at this price point works just fine. What is lacking in this variant, though, is the one-touch up-and-down function for the power windows. It’s a minor gripe, but that kind of feature is fast becoming standard across all price points.
The Territory is powered by a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine capable of 141hp and 225Nm of torque. Performance-wise, it’s fairly standard small-crossover fare—it works fine when cruising, and can be a little peppy when you need it to be. The CVT on board comes with Sport mode, which improves throttle response just a little bit. Our test drive netted us around 8km/L.
Ride and handling
What perhaps makes the Territory a viable option between the subcompact EcoSport and the midsize Everest is its ergonomics. It’s a five-seater, so it won’t fit as many people as the latter, but it’s certainly a lot more spacious than the former. There’s plenty of head- and legroom for passengers, and the trunk capacity is every bit as generous.
Like its big brother, the Explorer, the Territory has a deceptively low stance. Pair that with the long 2,716mm wheelbase, and you get a smooth ride on flat surfaces. When the road gets bumpy, you do tend to feel it a little bit more than you’d like, but this crossover takes road imperfections mostly in stride anyway. Steering feel is light—a good fit for city driving.
The Territory comes loaded with tech, chief of which is the inclusion of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility across the range. This feauture is housed in the 10-inch touchscreen display that comes with what Ford refers to as a ‘Adjustable Quad View.’ It sounds fancy, and it kind of is—with the swipe of a finger, you can adjust the display’s proportions depending on which feature you want to emphasize. It works a lot like customizing a screen on a smartphone, which isn’t something you see often on an infotainment unit. Nicely done, Ford.
Ford is signifying that it’s serious about bolstering its lineup by bringing in the Territory. It’s a move that seems to have paid off so far, as the company has hinted that sales are going well. However, the fact is that this is another Chinese-made SUV in a market that’s quickly becoming saturated with them. Still, this one has a known badge behind it, and it’s a well-thought-out package that should continue to attract customers for some time.
SPECS: 2021 Ford Territory 1.5L EcoBoost Trend CVT
Engine: 1.5-liter turbopetrol I4
Power: 141hp @ 4,500-5,200rpm
Torque: 225Nm @ 1,500-4,000rpm
Drive layout: FWD