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First drive: Turbo takes Territory to new heights!

Turbo twins: Forced-induction Territory is priced from under $54,000.

Blue Oval adds muscular force-fed performance to the menu of its classy homegrown SUV

23 Jun 2006

FORD has produced a hairy-chested, turbocharged version of its top-selling homegrown SUV exactly two years after Territory first went on sale in 2004.

On sale from July 1, the twin-pronged Territory Turbo model range brings a new level of performance to Australia’s most popular off-roader by matching last October’s extensive SY model upgrade with the iconic XR6 Turbo’s force-fed 245kW/480Nm 4.0-litre inline six.

Unofficially, the result is better performance than that offered by V8-powered luxury SUVs like BMW’s X5 4.4, Benz’s ML500 and the Porsche Cayenne S – for less than half the price.

The trade-off for what GoAuto has learned is 0-100km/h acceleration in less than seven seconds and a quarter-mile sprint capability of less than 15 seconds is increased fuel consumption: up from the SY Territory AWD’s official ADR 81/01 combined average of 12.8L/100km to 14.2L/100km.

Of course, the all-wheel drive Territory Turbo also commands a price premium over its naturally-aspirated donor vehicle, with the entry-level variant costing $53,990 ($10,000 more than Territory TX AWD) and the flagship Territory Ghia Turbo priced above the luxury tax threshold at $65,490 ($9170 more than the Territory Ghia AWD).

27 center imageBoth AWD Turbo variants come exclusively with the German-built ZF 6HP26 six-speed automatic transmission, which became standard for all AWD Territorys as part of the SY model upgrade but shares the XR6T’s higher torque capacity and has been calibrated specifically for the "performance luxury" oriented Turbo Terri, which shifts gears slightly slower but more smoothly than XR6T but is sportier-shifting than regular Territorys.

Delivering 29 per cent (55kW) more peak power and 25 per cent (97Nm) more torque (using 95-octane premium unleaded petrol) than the garden-variety Territory, Turbo variants feature a unique induction system, comprising a top-mounted intercooler that draws air through a prominent bonnet scoop.

Given the light-duty off-road conditions in which Territory Turbo is expected to find itself, Ford deemed this more suitable than the XR6T’s front-mounted intercooler.

"The last thing we wanted is for someone to get stranded on Stockton beach because their intercooler became chocked with sand," said vice-president of product development Trevor Worthington.

Terri Turbo shares the same (50 per cent larger) engine oil-cooler with XR6T, the same gear ratios and 3.46:1 final drive ratio as all Territory and Falcon models, and features new engine calibration and a larger-diameter exhaust system with twin chromed outlets.

Front brakes are borrowed from the FPV GT and comprise beefier calipers and 340x32mm rotors (up from 322x28mm). There’s also recalibrated ABS, traction and stability control systems, plus slightly longer front suspension springs (to compensate for the 40kg increase in engine weight as with all Territorys, rear spring rates are firmer for optional seven-seat versions).

Territory Turbo’s Acutrac Plus suspension tuning is similar to XR Falcon models and comprises the same Virtual Pivot Control Link front and Control Blade independent rear suspension units as all Territorys.

Though there is no Turbo equivalent for the mid-spec Territory TS variant introduced in September 2004, but base Territory Turbo’s standard equipment level remains high.

All Territory Turbos come with larger five-spoke 18x7.5-inch alloy wheels, lower-profile 235/55-section Fortera tyres, a diamond-mesh grille, body-coloured bumpers and the same (albeit black, not red) rear "TURBO" badging as XR6T.

Inside, there’s a new dark European-style sports theme, courtesy of warm charcoal coloured seat trims and door/dash finishes. A "suede-style" metallic-effect weave fabric covers the seats, which feature more heavily bolstered XR seatbacks and sportier head restraints up front, plus four-way power driver’s seat adjustment.

Perhaps most noticeable is the unique blue instrument cluster illumination, which compliments a leather-wrapped multi-function sports steering wheel, handbrake lever and gearshifter.

For the extra $11,500, Territory Ghia Turbo adds silver-stitched warm charcoal leather seat trim, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory, a "luxury sports" leather steering wheel, white-faced instruments and a black onyx Interior Command Centre stack with satin chrome highlights.

The latter comprises a premium sound system with six-CD in-dash head unit, a larger (colour) audio/climate/trip information screen and dual-zone climate-control.

Ghia also includes valuable safety items as standard, such as side curtain airbags and a reversing camera, but the latter cannot be optioned on the entry-level Turbo because it lacks a premium ICC screen.

Externally, Ghia is differentiated by machined-faced alloys, a chromed grille surround, silver (not black) front and rear skid plates, chromed headlight bezel surrounds and "Ghia Turbo" badging.

Initially, Ford expects the majority of Territory Turbo customers to opt for the Ghia before variant sales become evenly split, and has forecast a conservative estimate of 200 sales per month, including a small number of current Territory owners.

2006 Ford Territory Turbo pricing:

Territory Turbo (a) - 53,990
Territory Ghia Turbo (a) - 65,490

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