TEST: 2020 Ford Territory Trend – less is definitely more

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Back in elementary, I have a classmate who’s so tall she can be mistaken for a second-year high school student. She just towered over everybody and can be as tall as some of our teachers. I just have to mention that because I remembered her when I saw the Ford Territory in the metal. All I could say was “this dude is huge!” It’s comparable to the CR-V and RAV-4 in terms of size, but priced like an EcoSport.

By now you’ve probably read about how the Titanium variant is like Professor Utonium’s daughter; having sugar, spice, and everything nice at P1,299,000. With only a 120K difference between the two variants, it’s easy to choose which one you’d go for, which usually just boils down to if you want modern tech like 360-camera, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Adaptive Cruise, and more. For people like me who just want the modern essentials, I want to know if the Ford Territory Trend has good value for money like its Titanium sibling. 

EXTERIOR

I really like how the Territory looks, especially up front. There’s no chrome on it apart from the logo. It’s all black with the perfect silver accent on the skid plate at the bottom. The black grille is complemented by the sleek automatic LED headlamps, while the fog light housing is shaped by the LED daytime running lights. Implementing the body-colored middle portion breaks off the possible monotony of the front bumper and makes it pleasing to the eye in any color you choose.

RELATED: Is Ford Philippines trying to hit two Geelys with one Territory?

Turning to the side, it’s the pillars I’m not sure about. The B-pillar is made of plastic, then at the C-pillar, it’s a mix of plastic and that shiny glass from the rear quarter panel that pulls off the floating roofline look. It sort of works, it’s just that it would’ve been better if the pillars are darker, or gloss black.

At the back is where the Territory is the loudest, aesthetically. It’s a bulky rear with a bigger skid plate, cladding, faux exhaust tips, but relatively small LED taillights. It’s still as cohesive as the front, to be honest, but did they really need to have the cladding that much above the skid plate? It might work for some because it certainly looks tough, but no one will take this Territory out for rough patches so I don’t see a need for it.

INTERIOR

Inside, it doesn’t look like it’s a transferee crossover from China. It certainly looks and feels good with all buttons very firm and tactile when needed while the leather is up-to-par with those inside more expensive offerings in the market. It’s the infotainment system that gave away its origin since it doesn’t have Ford’s SYNC-3 interface.

I like the center console infotainment controls which helps in doing adjustments on the go. It’s just ironic that Ford made that, but then the aircon controls are only in the infotainment screen, lacking physical temp and fan knobs. Adjusting them especially if you have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto activated can be tedious.

There’s plenty of elbow room and legroom at the back to let you cross legs, unless the front passengers are 5’8 and above. The center armrest has two cup holders and is placed a bit higher than others, though it’s just okay for me. There are also air vents and a USB charging port for the second row, maximizing modern comfort for passengers.

TECH AND SAFETY

I’m glad to say that the Territory Trend is well-equipped despite being the entry-model. It has heated side mirrors, panoramic moonroof, automatic climate control, smart keyless entry, push start button, speed-sensing door locks, auto brake hold, 6 airbags, rear camera with dynamic guide lines, ISOFIX tethers, ABS with Electronic Stability Control, cruise control, Hill Launch Assist, rear parking sensors, and tire pressure monitoring system.

RELATED: The strikers to Ford’s new Territory

There’s just one irony that in the midst of all these equipment, Ford forgot to include a one-touch up/down on the window of the driver. It felt like 2010, holding down that button as you pull up on the cashier of the parking lot.

What I love about this though, is the cruise control that can be activated at around 40 kph. I say around, because there were times it worked at 40, sometimes it’s 45; I wasn’t able to figure it out. Anyway, having a low minimum requirement for the cruise control means you can use it inside the city which made driving a lot better especially if you’re not in congested roads. Commonwealth, C5, even EDSA northbound after Ortigas were all a breeze with this thing.

DRIVING AND HANDLING

One will quickly realize that the Ford Territory was made for the city once they take it out on the road. The steering wheel is very light and numb that it’s like driving in an arcade game. I don’t prefer this setup to be honest, but I can’t say I didn’t benefit from it since fatigue on my arms and hands were much less than I’m used to after long hours of driving.

The Territory accelerates very smoothly from a stop and has a lot of power. It changes though once you’re rolling since your inputs will be delayed, especially if you bury your foot on the pedal, it will take a second before the engine roars. Even then, the Territory will find it hard to move due to the rubber band effect of the CVT.

Ride comfort is very good thanks to the independent suspension at the back but there’s apparent body roll when taking corners, though it’s tolerable at moderate speeds. What I liked though during my quick mini-mountain run was that the engine brake kicks in immediately once it senses the change in angle. I’ve taken other vehicles on this same road and all of them just tend to speed up and would require me to engine brake manually. The Territory was nice enough to really help me in going downhill safer.

FUEL CONSUMPTION

The Territory’s 1.5L EcoBoost engine puts out 141 horsepower and 225 Nm of torque which may seem enough for a car of this size, and it is if you’re not eager to overtake everyone. However, it hates stoplights and crawling traffic a lot, yielding 6.5 km/l in traffic.

Get past that, avoid congested roads, and it’s a fuel efficient big boy, able to get up to 12 km/l inside the city and it’s not even a Sunday when I did that test.

VERDICT

To be honest, there are only two things that I don’t like about the Ford Territory. First is the lack of a one-touch up/down button on the driver’s window. I know, small thing, but it’s a modern essential. The Titanium has it for all windows, why can’t the Trend have it for the driver at least?

The second is my biggest gripe. It was hard for me, and I’m sure it will be for many, to get used to adjusting the air controls in the infotainment system especially if you use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. It’s not just a learning curve, it’s the hassle of needing to stop at the side of the road or by a stoplight just so you can safely make changes.

Despite these and the other points I raised against it, I really like the Territory. At P1,179,000, the Ford Territory Trend is literally a huge bargain. You’re getting a car too big for its price point that comes with a great feature-set including a complete set of airbags and other safety tech. On top of that, you get loads of space for all passengers, their belongings, and still have room for pasalubongs. These advantages simply eclipsed all the negatives I mentioned. I can live with all of the Ford Territory’s quirks just so I can have this much space and safety bits at this price.

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