Driving towards the sunrise

Published December 31, 2021, 10:00 AM

by Neil N. Pagulayan

A morning drive in a Ford Territory

With travel restrictions easing up, carmakers have been organizing more activities that allow us motoring journalists to experience their vehicles in their ideal environment, a road trip.

The most recent was a trip to Thunderbird resorts in Rizal as a jump off point for a road trip the next day to a place called Viewscape Nature’s Park, in Tanay.

Ford Philippines sent us their crossover SUV, the Territory. We were to drive this to Thunderbird Resort in Binangonan to gather all participants before starting the main trip very early the next morning.

We were encouraged to get to bed early as our wake up call would be around 2:30 a.m. It was to give us enough time to get ready, get breakfast, and roll out by 4:30 a.m., as we were expecting sunrise around 6 a.m.


On the outside, it’s a smart looking SUV, and unmistakably Ford. Our roughly 40-km drive just before dawn was made safer by high-visibility LED headlights up front with fog lights. It was easy to tell the Territory apart from other vehicles on the road as the LED tail lamps were stylishly distinct. The panoramic moon roof added to the ambiance as we could see the dark sky starting to slowly open up as we made our way to our sunrise venue.


On paper, you might think a 1.5 liter gasoline engine would be a bit small for a vehicle of this size, but it is an Ecoboost. So it’s turbocharged and puts out 143-Ps between 4,500-5,200 rpm and 225-Nm of torque between 1,500-4,000 rpm. It’s mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

The tendency of the CVT is to have you run at the lowest possible rpms for your speed, but sometimes this tends to affect acceleration. There’s Sport mode which keeps the rpms in the mid to high range for your selected speed so that you have power when you need to pass slower vehicles or long uphill climbs. This is what we experienced on most of the drive to Viewscape Nature’s Park.

Creature comforts

The interior of the Territory is comfortable and roomy. Getting in is quick with Smart Keyless Entry and so is starting up with a push-button start. It easily seats up to five with enough room for luggage for a few days out of town. There are some luxury appointments: a leather wrapped steering wheel, leather seats and soft-touch surfaces give the SUV a premium feel.

The 10-inch touch screen infotainment system has wireless Apple CarPlay and is Android Auto capable, making it easy to use your preferred navigation and music streaming service on the go. If you use Apple CarPlay, you don’t need cables. A wireless charging pad is an additional bonus, keeping your device topped up even while wirelessly connected to the entertainment system. The same touch screen is also used to adjust the climate control.

 The Titanium variant of the Territory has one touch up/down power windows and the cabin air is CN95-filtered and ionized. The second row passengers get their own aircon vents.

Safety and convenience

A long road trip is fun but can be physically taxing, especially for the less experienced driver. It’s a good thing Ford equipped this SUV with Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking. For those who have trouble parking, the Territory is equipped with an Enhanced Active Park Assist System which makes short work of parking. Ford Co-Pilot360 makes moving around tight spaces easier, even for seasoned drivers.


As expected, we arrived at Viewscape Nature’s Park in time to catch the sunrise and a second breakfast around a bonfire. The temperature was in the crisp 20’s as the sun made its way up. It was time for us to head back to our hotel and we took another route which was also roughly 40-km. More winding country roads allowed us to take further advantage of the Territory’s capabilities and amenities.

The Ford Territory was a good choice of vehicle for the drive and the drive east was unique. The trip was not long by any standard, but the Territory would easily make longer road trips more bearable. It will chew up anything you throw at it on a daily drive. With all its features and amenities, and priced at P1,310,000, there’s no doubt why this has sold so well since it was introduced last year.

To witness the awesome sunrise with friends from Ford and the motoring beat was well worth the early wake up call. The sunrise is symbolic of a fresh start, as we slowly emerge from the pandemic and try to get back to as normal as things can get.