The Road Ahead : 01-Aug-2011
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 52 THE ROAD AHEAD AUG/SEP 2011 MOTORING ROAD TEST FINALLY, THE LONG-AWAITED and much-anticipated diesel-powered Ford Territory has arrived as part of the second generation SZ range. When the original SX range was launched in 2004, it opened up a new frontier for Ford. This Australian-designed and built offering quickly established itself successfully in the mid-size SUV wagon segment with its 4.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine powering both two-wheel drive (2WD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) variants. The one glaring gap in the line-up was not having a diesel version. Almost from day one, questions were being asked: Was a diesel version planned and when? After a number of lengthy delays due to the availability of a suitable engine at an affordable price, development time and then the GFC, it is now here and the questions have changed: How does it drive? Was it worth the wait? And does Territory measure up against the latest batch of mid-size SUV wagons? To answer these questions, we put Territory and two other recently released competitors to the test. From Ford's traditional rival Holden comes the Korean-sourced series II Captiva, while Jeep -- a name synonymous with four-wheel-driving -- supplied the all-new North American built Grand Cherokee. Although the Territory, Captiva and Grand Cherokee all follow a fundamentally similar concept, they each have a slightly different focus, style and buyer appeal. As well as introducing a 2.7-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine, the Territory has undergone a comprehensive styling and mechanical make-over. The range starts with a revised 4.0-litre petrol engine, RWD, TX version at $39,990^ through to the $63,240^ Titanium AWD diesel. Within that, there's nine variants made up from three equipment levels. Each is available in RWD with either petrol or diesel power, while the three grades of AWD are diesel only. Gone is the old four-speed automatic in the base models. All variants are equipped with a more efficient, smooth-changing, six-speed auto. TX has five seats with a $2500 third row option adding another two places, while a three row/seven seat configuration is standard on the other models. Holden's Series II Captiva also offers nine variants, but there is a wider model spread with three versions of the five seat Captiva 5 and six of the longer wheelbase, slightly bigger, seven-seat, Captiva 7. The model mix includes the base spec Captiva 5 and Captiva 7 in SX, CX and LX grades. Then, depending on the variant, the engine options are 2.4-litre petrol, 2.2-litre turbo-diesel and the 3.0-litre SIDI V6 petrol (similar to Commodore) in 2WD or AWD configuration. Captiva 5 is the only one of our group to offer the option of a manual transmission, but it's limited to the 2.4-litre Captiva 5 2WD, as all other Captivas have a six-speed automatic. The Grand Cherokee diesel is on its way, but unfortunately at the time of testing was not available, so we drove the 3.6-litre V6 petrol version which was recently released alongside the 5.7-litre Hemi V8. Both have a five-speed automatic and, depending on the model grade (Laredo, Limited or Overland), a choice of AWD systems -- Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II. On the Laredo, Qudra-Lift air suspension is a $2500 option. Jeep has cleverly blended its classic 4WD image and ability with modern styling, while remnants of the past Daimler Chrysler (Mercedes) alliance also make their presence felt in the newly-found, refined, on-road ability of Grand Cherokee. Although the latter feels big and is heaviest of our three, it is strictly a five-seater. To get into a TX Territory diesel AWD is $48,240^, while in the more budget- focused Captiva 7 line-up, $43,490^ buys the top-of-the-range LX diesel AWD. The V6 petrol Grand Cherokee Laredo is in a similar 'ball park' at $45,000^ (all prices are plus on-road costs). HOLDEN CAPTIVA 7 LX AWD DIESEL The LX Captiva 7 may be the price leader of our group, but its standard features list reads impressively with leather seats, satellite navigation and rear parking camera, as well as all the IMAGES: JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE LAREDO.