2021 Ford Territory Ecoboost Titanium+: Everything but the kitchen sink

2021 Ford Territory Ecoboost Titanium+: Everything but the kitchen sink

This may be tiring to hear at a certain point, but SUVs and crossovers are here to stay, and for good reason.

They offer bigger cargo and overall interior space, ride taller (particularly useful for our flood-prone streets, while providing drivers and their passengers an increased sense of confidence). SUVs undoubtedly provide a more commanding presence on the road than smaller sedans and hatchbacks.

Ford Territory front quarter profile

Ford Philippines recognized a huge gap in its model lineup and responded with the introduction of the Ford Territory, and it has definitely paid dividends. Past attempts with the Ford Escape have also been fairly successful, but in the subcompact SUV space, Ford Philippines knew they needed to up its game in both specs and value for money.

Enter the all-new 2021 Ford Territory. Does it have what it takes to be competitive in a market saturated with SUVs and crossovers of all sizes?

Exterior

The dimensions of the 2021 Ford Territory can be quite deceiving. Looking at it from afar, you would think of mentioning it in the same breath as the Ford EcoSport. But upon closer inspection, you begin to appreciate just how massive it is. With a length of 4,580mm and width of 1,936mm, the Ford Territory is in the same league as the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5. The 180mm ground clearance also gives it more credibility as an SUV. The Ford Territory is a big boy, indeed. The 18-inch multi-spoke wheels aren’t my cup of tea but at least the two-tone machined look keep them from looking boring.

Ford Territory 18 inch wheels

The European design aesthetic is applied through the body lines, with a floating roof design and blacked out C-pillar to provide a more athletic look. I do, however, find the windows in that area to be incongruent and seemingly out of place, but it certainly grows on you.

Up front, the 2021 Ford Territory catches your attention with a huge piano black hexagonal grill. The front facia protrudes ever so slightly, and adds more macho appeal to an otherwise sleek and sporty exterior. My favorite part of the exterior has to be those multi LED tail lamps. As if taking inspiration from the Ford Mustang, the vertical pattern of the LED strips inside probably needs sequential turn signals to complete the look. But overall, when the Territory drives away, it is quite a sight to behold.

Ford Territory c-pillar

Interior 

The show doesn’t stop on the outside; in fact it’s just getting started. In order to stay competitive in the crossover market, you have to make yourself distinct, and provide passengers with the best possible experience.

The 2021 Ford Territory certainly doesn’t disappoint. If the exterior deceived your sense of sight about how huge the Territory is, stepping inside will make you feel just how wide it really is. The center console is an instant eye catcher. Separating the driver and passenger is this huge panel that houses the shifter as well as various driving and parking assist controls, cupholders, and an impressive split-opening console that doubles as your armrest. It seamlessly flows to the front center stack where you are greeted with more Mustang-inspired bits such as center switches to control the AC. The Platinum+ trim also gets a completely digital, 10-inch gauge cluster complete with selectable themes if you want to mix it up. 

Ford Territory gauge cluster classic theme

Ford didn’t skimp on the good stuff, generously applying a ton of high-quality leather and soft-touch materials and even wood trims on the dash and door panels. I’ve never been a fan of wood trim and usually find it tacky, but in the case of the 2021 Ford Territory, I find it a welcome addition.

What I did not appreciate is the piano black accent. It is a pain to clean and starts to get smudges if you just look at it funny. They aren’t scratch-proof either, and once they get nicked, it will never go away. It’s a shame that you get even more of the material on the reflective 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The touch screen enables you to control different vehicle settings from the lights, mechanicals as well as the AC settings. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is always welcome, as well as wireless charging for your compatible phone. Audio is pumped through eight high-fidelity speakers.

Ford Territory interior console

The piano black trim all becomes inconsequential as the electronic niceties start to distract you from all the shiny black material. The panoramic sunroof for instance never fails to impress anyone lucky enough to both own and ride this stunning crossover. Watching everyone’s amazement as it reveals itself always makes my day. It also provides additional lighting, if the bright greenhouse doesn’t already do this. Visibility has never been an issue for me.

You know that the 2021 Ford Territory is meant to please everyone and not just the driver, with the reclining rear seats, massive leg and headroom as well as the rear AC vents and 12V socket. I don’t mean to sound like a TV ad but it’s just has so many gadgets. Did I mention you can tumble the rear seats down for more cargo space? Yes it does that, too. 

Ford Territory Cargo Space

Safety

The 2021 Ford Territory is an SUV that just keeps on giving, and if you think that Ford Philippines may have given you more than enough with the interior amenities, you might be thinking of another car. For starters, it’s got six airbags, Isofix anchors, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, adaptive cruise control and traction control. All these features can be found on other cars, but the Territory just doesn’t stop at being adequate with their safety features. 

Ford Territory 360 cam

Parking is a breeze thanks to active park assist, which has always been a Ford favorite. Just activate the button next to the shifter, drive around the parking lot, and the system will detect if you can park there and then it assists you with parking your car. If you want to be more in control of your parking, a 360-degree camera system pops up on your screen as well to help the rear camera sensor. For an SUV, I have to say this is the easiest car to park anywhere. It also has blind spot monitoring, and cameras on the side mirrors make it so much easier to avoid mishaps.

Lane departure warning, hill descent and assist, and proximity warning alerts you if a car gets too close for comfort. The system just takes away much of the stress of driving. 

Ford Territory interior

Driving impressions and performance

You might be asking yourself at this point of the review, how does it perform and drive? It’s understandable to think that the 2021 Ford Territory comes with all the niceties at this price point but Ford may have forgotten the engineering part of the drive.

Spoiler alert: You’re in for a pleasant surprise. Powering the Territory is a 1.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine that makes a healthy 141hp and respectable 225Nm of torque heading to the front wheels. While some may lament the fact that it doesn’t run on diesel, you certainly won’t be missing it. Maximum torque comes in as early as 1,500rpm, giving you abrupt acceleration. Once the turbo starts to spool up it keeps the pulling power up to 4,000rpm. These figures are starting to tread in turbodiesel territory, but without the uncouth rattle and less-than-ideal emissions. 

Ford Territory ecoboost engine

Running the show is an advanced CVT system with sports mode, which does a commendable job especially in stop and go traffic. Shift shock is almost non-existent, but for those who still want to feel the up and downshifts, they're still there — just don’t compare it to traditional torque converters, let alone standard transmissions.

ECQ guidelines limit the number of people in the vehicle, but three people on board should be no problem. The fuel economy was put to the test when I drove the 2021 Ford Territory. Despite the lockdown restrictions, weekend traffic was still problematic. The Territory took it like a champ, though. Crawling stop-and-go traffic was a breeze, thanks to the automatic brake hold and at the end of the day, the vehicle netted between seven and eight kilometers per liter. Once the road opens up, 12 to 13kpl is certainly achievable, and this was me not giving any that much thought to it. 

Ford Territory Shifter

The 2021 Ford Territory also has independent suspension all around. It won’t give you sports car-like reflexes, but the setup together with the wider stance gives you the best possible conditions for more spirited driving. Paired with the electronic power steering, and the unibody design, sedan and hatchback drivers will certainly feel at home.

Ford Territory wheel arches

Pricing and conclusion

Ford Philippines could have priced the 2021 Ford Territory on the same level as more premium compact SUVs such as the Honda CR-V, Toyota Corolla Cross, Hyundai Tucson, Subaru XV and even the Mazda CX-5 but surprisingly, starting at P1.277 million for the Trend and P1.31 million for the top-of-the-line Titanium+, the Territory undercuts all those models. It holds a huge advantage in the highly competitive subcompact segment, dominated by the likes of the smaller Geely Coolray, Suzuki Vitara, Honda HR-V, MG ZS and a literal army of SUVs.

Ford Territory front quarter profile left

There is a reason why the Ford Territory has been one of Ford’s best-sellers. It ticks so many of the boxes that car buyers are looking for in a new car — stylish, sporty, lots of gadgets and convenience features, safety, performance and most importantly value for money. Does it have what it takes to convince you to take one home? Ford Territory Rear profile

Photos by Roy Robles

Also read: Stylish, safe, and sophisticated: The Ford Territory ticks the right boxes

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