Let’s get this out of the way: this won’t be a car review of the Ford Territory. A number of local car websites have reviewed it as early as last year, while YouTube is already chockfull of videos of this beautiful beast. Instead, this will be a “tech-in-car” take of this crossover loaned to us by Ford Philippines.
As what you might expect in a Ford vehicle, the Territory is packed with tech attributes. This is no surprise because Ford, with the possible exception of electric car manufacturer Tesla, is arguably the top dog when it comes to bringing cutting-edge tech innovations to vehicles.
I still remember in 2015 when I got my hands on the Ford Focus which featured hands-free park assist – a jaw-dropping technology that time which left a lasting impression on me (check out my six-year-old video below). But even now in Europe and the US, hands-free park assist is still fairly rare. This only goes to show how Ford has gone to great lengths to deploy futuristic but helpful technology in its vehicles.
This same technology, now called Enhanced Active Park Assist, is present in the Titanium variant of the Ford Territory. Basically, it allows you to make a hands-free parallel parking with the driver just controlling the gears and the brake.
As mentioned earlier, I won’t be talking about the model’s torque, engine displacement, drivetrain, dimensions, and other specs that you’d normally see in a car review. Besides, as my tech media buddy Jing Garcia loves to point out, the only enhancements that you’d see in vehicles nowadays are mostly related to technology since the usual car parameters have already reached their limits – mechanically and legally. Unless you’re a car nut, you’d probably want to know if your vehicle has Bluetooth or backup camera than how fast it can run from zero to ten seconds.
This is also the reason why car manufacturers have been joining tech conferences such as the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas in the last few years – well, that was before the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to these events.
One bright side to this trend of putting all kinds of innovations in cars is the massive growth it has given the local electronics industry. In the last decade or so, Filipino-owned semicon firms like Integrated Microelectronics Inc. (IMI) have emerged as among the biggest suppliers in the world for electronic components needed for a host of modern car functions. This growth can only continue to accelerate in the near future with the industry’s transition to e-vehicles, autonomous driving, and the integration of the car in its surrounding.
But, back to the Ford Territory. From the outside, you can readily recognize that this is a brawny piece of engineering that you’d like to have for family outings (its back compartment is humongous) or for out-of-town adventures. I was able to use it for four days, taking it to the mountains of Rizal province. It navigated the twists and turns, as well as the steep climbs and descents, without any effort at all. Heck, I just stayed on D and forgot to use the lower gears during the ascents on the hilly terrains.
As for its tech features, let me start with the most impressive and most practical one – the 360-degree HD cameras that surround the vehicle (its four cameras are located at the front, rear, and under both mirrors). Unless you’re really a stubborn kamote driver, it’s rather difficult to hit anything because the sensors keep on reminding you to stay away from them. Having said that, I wish the folks at Ford can tweak this thing to serve as a built-in dashcam that can record footage of your travel.
Anyway, the 360-degree cameras allow the driver to have a “top view” of the Territory on the screen via an uber cool avatar of the vehicle. This has got to be one of the best innovations that Ford has introduced recently, although it would be great if Ford can find a way to show the actual color of the vehicle in the avatar rather than having a generic gray shade.
The Territory also has Autonomous Emergency Braking that enables it to scan the road ahead and alerts the driver to a potential collision with a vehicle in front. The car, in fact, will automatically stop if the driver doesn’t step on the brake. Totally amazing.
Remember the car avatar that I mentioned? It looked wonderful on the 10-inch touchscreen that blended seamlessly with the whole dashboard. The screen was stylishly designed that you won’t recognize it’s there when it’s turned off. I’ve driven a Tesla in California and I’ll dare say that the Territory’s touchscreen and dashboard look nicer.
The wide touchscreen also serves as a nifty platform for the Territory’s In-Vehicle Infotainment System, whose viewing modes can be adjusted with just a flick of a finger. Almost all of the functions are accessible from there – including switching on the wireless charging capability for mobile phones.
Speaking of mobile phone connectivity, it almost goes without saying that the Ford Territory has both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. For some reason, however, I had difficulty linking my iPhone to the infotainment system although this was never a problem in the previous Ford models I’ve driven in the past.
Fortunately, I had no issue connecting my Android unit. This was a big help with my apps, especially with Waze when we trekked through the winding roads leading to Wawa Dam in Montalban and Regina Rica pilgrimage site in Tanay.
It is really just a bonus the Territory Smart also has smart keyless entry, adjustable ambient lighting, leather seats with cooling and heating functions, and a panoramic sun-roof.
All in all, my rendezvous with the Ford Territory was a refreshing journey to a realm where technology is not merely used for technology’s sake but for something that is useful, safe, and enjoyable for motorists.