By on May 23, 2013

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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.

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44 Comments on “TTAC Salutes The Ford Territory...”


  • avatar
    mkirk

    So this would be akin to Chrysler building a CUV based on the 300 platform. Would be cool and makes me wonder about the usefulness of a Panther based CUV which would be closer to a real SUV since it would have been BOF but still car based.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      1. It’s called the Durango

      2. It’s what the Explorer once was. Actually the 07+ Explorer had an awesome chassis, drivetrain, and was a great vehicle to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Actually, the (current) Durango and Grand Cherokee are underpinned by a modified Mercedes M-class platform, which is related to the GL and R-Class…but probably isn’t related to the previous-generation E-Class platform that the Chrysler Group LC, LD and LX models use. By virtue of the Durango being RWD-biased, however, you’re right.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I thought the later Explorers were on thier own chassis (as opposed to the earlier Ranger based ones).

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yes the 2002 up Explorer was on it’s own 100% dedicated frame and unique tall spindle coil-over front suspension and unique IRS.

          The earlier Explorer shared it’s front suspension with the Ranger but had it’s own unique frame and rear suspension, though very similar to the Ranger.

          • 0 avatar
            TonyJZX

            this is largely a case of the ‘grass is greener’

            here’s the real lowdown…

            this SUV is too big, 4,400lb+ and too hard to park in urban settings AND its not a very good 4WD as its really not a 4wd is it? its a sedan on stilts… its also not a very good 7 seater

            fuel econ isnt very good and abysmal build quality with RUST (yeah unbelievable in a clime that doesnt snow)

            hopeless dealers and they tie GM for worst dealer experience pre and post sales

            the diesel engine is a hefty margin over gasoline and the car defies market tastes… ie. people want toy (fwd) CUVs just like the rest of the world

            in American, Ford has a general popular and almost ‘cool’ vibe

            in Australia, Ford has the stank of old man, old fashion, out of date

            the Falcon, despite it all, is till cool to enthusiasts because its an inline six rwd but this, no

  • avatar
    DownEaster

    This would have been nice to sell in the US. Sounds like a neat vehicle and the rear drive and Straight Six engine would have been popular. Too bad Ford USA couldn’t of used the Falcon platform for a new Mustang and also for a new US Falcon with rear wheel drive. Chrysler has been successful with its Charger and 300 and a US based Falcon platform could be used in a number of ways. Too bad to see this go. This is an example of a “One Ford” platform that can be used and adapted across the world for many different cars and SUVs. We are losing a lot of uniqueness in cars with one platform being used across the world. Cars need to be adaptable to local needs and some world cars will flop like the Ford Contour of the late 1990s.

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      The Contour may have a been a flop in the US, but it was a massive success here in Europe under the Mondeo nameplate. Twenty years ago, our idea of “midsize” was a half a size smaller than yours. Now that difference has disappeared and cars like the Ford Fusion (Mondeo) and Buick Regal (Opel Insignia) sell well on both sides of the pond.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        Actually the Contour/Mystique sold very well in NA and was a huge improvement, not that its saying much, over the previous Tempo/Topaz. The ’98-’00 SVT version with the 195 HP HO 2.5L Mazda-mill, 5 spd manual, blurple leather seats and true dual exhaust was a very, very good car. Unfortunately for the mark, Ford was more ambitious in building its truck line in the late ’90s to uber proportions than pushing a compact passenger car.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          Don’t go bashing Tempos around here…they have a following rivaled only by the Panther and the Brown Diesel Wagon cults.

          The Contour SVT was the true carrier of the SHO torch. Had that drivetrain made it to the FWD Cougar it would have made for a fun car as well.

        • 0 avatar
          Exfordtech

          I don’t imagine you ever tried to earn a living repairing a Common/Mistake as a dealer tech at the warranty (or recall) times Ford was so not generous with. Flat rate techs would rather do nothing than have one of those turds in their bays. They had recalls from the moment they left the plant in 1994. Fuel tanks, seat belts, headlamp switches and wiring, blower motor resistors and wiring, instrument panel warping, front crash sensors, water pumps, engine compartment wiring harnesses, and on and on. You could literally get a repair ticket for an oil change and 5 recalls. I wanted to like the cars, they rode and handled well, especially the 5 speed SVTs. But real life experience made me feel otherwise.

        • 0 avatar
          Exfordtech

          The 2.5 V6 was a Duratec engine, Mazda used it but did not develop it. It began initially as a Porsche engine, Ford purchased the initial engineering and developed the heads with Cosworth.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      The Falcon was not built on an architecture that could support both LHD and RHD (as opposed to the GM Zeta or Chrysler LX/LD) nor (AFAIK) is the Mustang’s architecture adaptable to RHD. Would make more sense to have one global RWD platform which can cover both applications.

      as for the Contour, it was a flop because it was almost as expensive as the Taurus but a much more cramped interior.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      That was the plan before Mullaly took the reins of Ford. The Falcon was to get redesigned to be Fords RWD platform, a shorter version would have underpinned the Mustang while stretched versions were to replace the Panthers. Years ago there was an article in C&D or R&T all about the plans.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      What about the original “one Ford” world car…the first gen Escort. Complete with the little globe badge on the fender.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Ford used a Falcon platform for a Mustang 50 years ago.

      I haven’t heard anyone campaigning for another one lately.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Different Falcon platform. The Australian Falcon is as big as your old Police Cruisers. Suspension and chassis dynamics very different again. We had “your Falcon” in the 1960′s too. Last Australian Falcon only shares the name.

  • avatar
    Onus

    Am i the only one mourning the loss of the 6 cylinder? I Love inline 6′s and ford had built some of the best. This is the last of a long line of inline 6′s. Descended from the 170 and 200 6 of the 60′s.

    Makes me wonder how great the 300/4.9 6 would have been if they did the same upgrades. Cross flow head, dohc. The works. I’d take that over a 3.7 duratec v6 that they put in trucks now.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    As a Ford Escape V6 owner I’ve lusted after the FPV F6X for some time…

    *sigh*

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Having seen a Territory and an Explorer (1st gen of the IRS variety) side to side in the traffic, I’d choose the local one any day.

    It is a shame that such vehicle never got a chance outside from here.

    • 0 avatar

      Athos, have you ever driven one?

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Sadly not yet.

        But I would be looking at the current diesel ones or the regular I6. It is highly praised by the local press and I see plenty of them around. It doesn’t surprise me as these blokes know how to make a car drive nicely.

        But you really have to see them side to side. Other than the style reminiscence, you wonder if they were made by the same company. And the Explorer, like the Taurus before, didn’t sell well here.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Unlike the current Explorer the Territory can tow a considerable weight, especially with the diesel option. The Explorer will never replace the Territory for that reason alone.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Good post ;

    I’m an I6 lover too , always have been .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    wmba

    I think you’ll find that Greg Locock, occasional TTAC commenter and mainstay on Engineering Tips Forum and Autosport Technical, had a great deal to do with the design and development of the Territory’s suspension. That man knows suspension kinematics.

  • avatar
    JKC

    Add me to the list f people who miss the smoothness of the I6. I spent a lot of time in my father’s F150 with the 300CI six, and that was one awesome engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      I love the 300 as you can see in my previous post. Plus other great inlines like the amc 6. Chevy truck 6′s weren’t bad either.

      What happened to the American 6 cylinders :(.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        The GM Atlas six was by all accounts a great motor saddled with a mediocre vehicle to pull around. I thought there were issues with inline sixes and emissions due to thermal efficiency…or that was what BMW said. Seems like it would be cheaper to develop an inline engine due to the need for only one head, etc…but I guess packaging constraints limit their usefulness.

        Was the Atlas 6 ever offered in the fullsize trucks? I know the colorado/canyon came with 5 and 5 cylinders respectively.

        Having said all that, give me that Taurus concept from back in the day with the transverse straight 8!

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          AIUI crankshaft torsion becomes an issue with longer engines like I6s; timing variations caused by this can make emissions a chore to deal with.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “Having said all that, give me that Taurus concept from back in the day with the transverse straight 8!”

          You’re talking about the T-drive system, which is a really cool concept. The test mules I’ve seen pictures of were a Tempo with a straight 8 and a fox body T-bird with a straight 6.

          It’s amazing how far they went with the concept only to abandon it.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Emissions , size & fuel economy in the main .

        Most American I6 engines had three port cylinder heads for economy of manufacture , this meant fairly un equal fuel distribution unless you ran three carbys ($ !) or injection ~ Jeep’s 1960′s tech I6 uses fuel injection and they even make a kit to upgrade your old carby model to F.I. , a wonderful thing indeed .

        InLine engine tend to be very smooth , much moreso than V configuration engines but they also take up a lot of room .

        GM’s wonderous thinwall 1945/23/250 I6 engine had terrific power to weight but , the thinwall construction meant the are *very* susceptible to dirty oil , an American favorite .

        The Ford 300 I6 (and it’s variants) is very robust , there used to be 12 port heads for the 200 C.I.D. ones , I’m told they were for racing boats , I’ve seen a few and think they’d be fun to hot up .

        I greatly miss the Chrysler aluminum slant sixes .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    @TonyJXY
    “this is largely a case of the ‘grass is greener’

    Where do I start. That statement is true. The rest of your post falls into true fantasy.
    “this SUV is too big, 4,400lb+ and too hard to park in urban settings ”
    Really? it is driven mainly by women.
    ‘Not a good 7 seater” the Territory has some of the best ergonomics for a SUV/CUV around that is why it has outsold similar Japanese SUV’s/CUV’s
    “and abysmal build quality with RUST (yeah unbelievable in a clime that doesnt snow)” That is true fantasy no it does not rust out, build quality is not as good as the Asians granted. Yes it does snow in Australia.
    “hopeless dealers and they tie GM for worst dealer experience pre and post sales” Absolute garbage. I guess you have not gone to some VW, Citroen, Fiat dealers really?

    ‘ie. people want toy (fwd) CUVs just like the rest of the world” THEY DO NOT” AWD Or RWD defintely NOT a FWD CUV!!!!!!
    “in American, Ford has a general popular and almost ‘cool’ vibe”
    This ugly little thing?
    http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/06/2009-pontiac-vibe-gt-02.jpg

  • avatar
    cartoon

    I must say–TTAC is an almost irelevant car site.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    My first thought on seeing that pic. Wrap that bumper in a pink material and the car would look like a dog with its tongue trying to lick its nose.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      It looks like a joke except it is not April the first. This is the Ford Version just as bad.
      http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18n24wgunxvbjjpg/ku-xlarge.jpg


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