While the Ford Falcon is getting the bulk of the attention with respect to Ford’s soon-to-be-shuttered Australian operations, Ford also made another product, based off the Falcon platform, that never made it to our shores. The Ford Territory might be the most desirable CUV ever made.
Around these parts, the above statement doesn’t carry much weight, but beneath the Freestyle-esque exterior lurked a radically different drivetrain. Using the rear-drive Falcon’s running gear, the Territory’s base powertrains consisted of a 4.0L I6 and either rear or all-wheel drive. Later variants added a diesel V6 as an option. Unlike the Falcon or its Ute derivatives, there was no V8 available. A 329 horsepower turbocharged I6 was available on the second generation Territory, but buyers looking for even more power had a brief opportunity for even more power.
The FPV F6X (pictured above) borrowed the Falcon FPV6′s 362 horsepower turbocharged I6 but retained the Territory’s AWD system. 60 mph came up in about 6 seconds, but the FPV F6X had a big problem; a Falcon XR6T with a more powerful I6 engine was about 30 percent cheaper, and the F6X was barely distinguishable from the regular Territory Turbo. Sales were predictably slow and the F6X lasted one year only.
Although there were calls to export the Territory, nothing ever really got off the ground, and the Territory was left to its home market of Australia, as well as a handful of exports to right-hand drive countries like Thailand. At one time, there were even calls to send it to the United States, but it’s difficult to imagine American consumers caring enough about the rear-drive layout and I6 engine when it looked nearly identical to the Freestyle/Taurus X and carrying the price premium associated with being an Australian import.
I can’t help but feel saddened knowing that the Territory is marked for death along with the Falcon. The business case may no longer be there, but the Territory represents an increasingly rare-breed in the automotive world; a vehicle that was derived as a unique solution to local tastes and attitudes. The fact that it could give many sports cars a real fight in a drag race, while looking like an ordinary family hauler makes it even more bittersweet.