First Sketch: 2012 Ford Territory

Ford has issued an artist's impression of the upgraded Territory for 2011. It's the first official opportunity to gauge how the locally-manufactured SUV -- on the market since 2004 -- will look in upgraded form when it's launched before the end of the first quarter next year.

Between now and then, Ford will steadily drip-feed information to the media concerning the new model, which will introduce a version of the 2.7-litre turbodiesel V6 that powers the Land Rover Discovery 4. The turbodiesel will sell alongside the petrol six-cylinder in the Territory range.

It's clear, contrary to rumours doing the rounds, that the upgraded Territory will be a little more than just a tweak of the frontal styling via the medium of new bumpers and other details. There are obvious sheet-metal changes in the vehicle, based on the artist's sketch, which we presume is an accurate representation of the finished product.

Tail lights, what we can see of them, don't extend as far down the corner of the rear quarter panels as is the case with the current Territory. Furthermore, the beltline behind the C pillar doesn't follow the beltline of the doors -- again, unlike the current Territory. This suggests the sheet metal of the rear quarter panels has been revised, along with the front hang-ons.

Speculation within the industry suggests that the Territory will raise the bar high among softroaders in the medium SUV segment for NVH and dynamics -- not that Ford is admitting anything much on either score, but Ford President Bob Graziano did confirm big gains for the Territory in the press material accompanying the image.

"The Ford Australia team is taking the Territory to an all-new level of performance, refinement and quality, and customers will definitely experience these advancements when they drive it," Graziano was quoted as saying.

According to the press release, the Territory will also introduce a major redesign for the interior.

The Territory upgrade should end the popular perception that the SUV hasn't kept pace with the market. Toyota has just revised its Kluger and Holden is enjoying strong sales from its multifarious Captiva, which not only starts at a lower price, but also offers a diesel. The Territory has a little catching up to do...

But Ford anticipates that the diesel Territory will hit the spot with the buying public and the styling changes will re-awaken consumer interest in the SUV. The company saw an upswing in sales after the minor facelift marketed as the SY Series II model, which will be replaced by the upgraded Territory. If a minor facelift (and improved consumer confidence after the GFC) can boost sales, this forthcoming upgrade should kick some goals, the manufacturer hopes.

Until next year, when all will be revealed, the question likely to be the most pressing will be that of pricing for the diesel variants.

Thanks to: Car Point


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