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The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

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Reader test: Ford Territory

2009-12-02 09:28

Bill Meyer, Pretoria North

Bought on 14 November 2005 for R 314 000 on a five-year lease with a 30% residual, it was an emotional decision rather than a well thought out one.

Initially it was very nice to have this much power and a brand new car that was automatic and very easy to drive, but as time progressed, reality struck and the economy did its thing. A serious attitude adjustment was required, especially to my driving style.

Driving the Territory

Although several trips have been done with the vehicle, mention must be made of three.

The first trip, when the vehicle had 4 000 km on the clock, was taken from Pretoria to Pietermaritzburg to move the contents of a two-bedroom flat back to Pretoria. A two-axle 2 ton trailer was rented (those BIG yellow ones) and towed down to PMB, loaded up and towed back.

The seats were laid down and the interior stacked with boxes. The fuel consumption down was 7.8 km/l, but on the way back it was a shocker. With a fully loaded vehicle and a very, very strong head wind, the vehicle only managed 2.3 km/l!! But the Territory did not flinch once, the temperature remained constant and no other problems occurred.

The second trip was from Pretoria to Dullstroom, two people up and a steady speed limit run. Once again the vehicle surprised by returning 9.3 km/l and no glitches.

The third trip was from Pretoria to George, towing a 6ft trailer, with four adults and a five-year-old on board. On this trip the vehicle returned a consistent 7.83km/l.

The remaining tread at 65 000 km


The interior is pretty basic for a vehicle of this price, but it is comfortable and very spacious. The light coloured cloth does have a small stain or two, but nothing that a valet would not sort out. The light coloured scuff plates (plastic) are showing signs of needing a serious clean, but there are hardly any signs of wear and the lockable stowage area beneath the driver's seat is a neat idea.


The vehicle is black (never again – terrible to keep clean) and the paint is a bit dull, even after treating it with diamond glaze. Unfortunately, it had a minor run in with a parking garage pillar on the right rear door and the quote for repair is R 2 000. The paint work does show up minor scuffs and marks quite easily.


The vehicle now has 65 000 km on the clock and still has the original brakes and tyres and a further 10 000 – 15 000 km are expected before the tyres will need to be replaced.

Damage after colliding with a pillar


Services were generally conducted well, but a problem did arise with the front window winder mechanism, which was replaced under warranty. Shortly thereafter all four door locks also stopped working and were also replaced under warranty. The door seal rubbers are now coming loose and will soon require glue.


In March 2009, a trade-in on a Territory ST was tried. What a surprise. A vehicle with 55 000 km on the clock and the offer was only R 130 000. This makes for some bargain buys for people looking for good tow vehicles that are stable and provide good space for the family.

Would I buy another Territory? As an emotional buy, a Black ST, yes. A sensible buy? Only if it had a diesel engine. Other than that, I would look at a Freelander or with a push financially, a Discovery.

So what now?

I’ll keep my Territory, import a new set of mirrors, put a set of 18-inch mags on it, tint the windows, put a DVD inside and a set of fog/driving lights, an exhaust tip, and the most important upgrade of all – cruise control!

The upgrades I intend doing

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