Spending the day on the road with this impressive, five-seater SUV is free therapy

CAMP IN STYLE Exterior of the glamping tent at Nayomi Resort, taken from 2020

The lack of oxygen in the body aggravates symptoms of anxiety, which is why experts suggest those in tense situations take a deep breath. This also explains why people tend to bask in the great outdoors, particularly the mountains and provinces, to inhale fresh and crisp air.

An escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life, away from the towering skyscrapers and suffocating, crowded streets, clears the mind and allows us physical and emotional respite. Apart from a retreat, driving a lengthy distance solely for the pleasure of driving is also relaxing. In the pandemic that causes overwhelming grief and stress, we get all the relief we could from travel and outside activities.

That said, the Ford Territory is a very good therapist—and a handsome one to boot. The multinational automobile manufacturer known for its dependable and future-ready Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) has done it again with this five-seater, feature-packed crossover, cementing its spot as a frontrunner in the segment.

AT THE PARKING LOT While all muddied from a weekend long drive, the Territory still looks good

Note to the reader: Feel free to check other reviews on the car, or better yet request a test drive from a dealership to fully appreciate it.

I’ve been noticing a lot of the Territory on the streets lately, and every encounter I can’t help but admire its exterior. Aside from Ford’s advanced engineering expertise and focus on artificial intelligence (AI), the new models being released recently are all head-turners with an aesthetic that does not diminish in impressiveness no matter how many times you look at them.

I was able to drive the Ford Territory Titanium+ 2022, the latest and most premium variant of the car, around Manila—and beyond—for a good four days. From start to end, through south to north, it was a pleasurable ride.

BEHIND THE WHEEL The steering wheel clad in leather, digital gauge, 10-inch infotainment system, Lamborghini-inspired controls, and the shifter

Don’t get me wrong, despite the Territory’s many safety features, it is not a boring SUV. All over, it has sensors that detect whether an object is close to the car, alerting passengers by beeping and showing in its central display system the part of the automobile close to collision via a 360-degree camera, an innovation that Ford calls the Blind Spot Information System. The image quality is not bad. The 3D view gives drivers a better perspective of what’s happening outside the car.

Among the safety features is an autonomous emergency braking system, which detects and saves drivers from crashing. Front brakes are vented discs and solid discs at the front and back, respectively.

From these observations alone, one can say that this is a tech-heavy and beginner-friendly car. Navigating the awful, tight streets of Manila, I found these features tremendously useful.

The handling is sensitive and responsive to each turn of the steering wheel, making the vehicle feel somewhat lighter.

TECH AND DESIGN SAVVY From the dashboard to the seats, the interior looks and feels luxe

In terms of performance, it also does well. The Territory’s 1.5 liter EcoBoost engine, designed by Ford Europe, has a continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox, and a decent level of toque and power, able to produce a maximum of 143 horsepower at 4500 to 5200 revolutions per minute.

As mentioned, it is an exciting car, with an aggressive acceleration, a 10-inch infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and a panoramic moonroof that extends all the way to the back. Both exterior and interior have a modern, sporty, but also luxurious appearance.

For lights, there are LED daytime running lamps that automatically turn on when needed and halogen front and rear fog lamps. The signature front grill and the two-toned, 18-inch colored wheels are eye-catching details as well.

PASSENGER SEAT View from the backseat

As for the main storage, with the back seats up, 420 liters of cargo space is available. When folded, the capacity reaches to over 1,000 liters.

Other small but noteworthy features include a 10-way-power adjustable driver seat, built in ionizer and cabin air filters, seven bottle holders, ambient lighting with seven color options, and a 10-inch digital gauge with customizable themes. Inside are modern and sleek lines, perforated leather seats, as well as a steering wheel clad in leather, mounted with controls, and with tilt and telescoping function.

The front chairs have warmers and coolers for those particular with the temperature of their seats. Lamborghini-inspired switches just below the infotainment system control the air-conditioning.

SHADES OF TERRITORY The crossover in Moonstone Blue; other color options include Panther Black, Crystal White Pearl, Ruby Red, Diffused Silver, and Star White

All the tech in the car is there to make the driving experience smooth and enjoyable, whether on long and winding roads or on crowded streets in Manila.

Passing a bad road, unpaved and filled with holes, the MacPherson shocks and struts suspension at the front and multi-link independent suspension system at the back cushions the SUV nicely. Stability over the uneven terrain is okay, which leads us back to how the passenger’s utmost comfort is considered in the Territory.

Its 180mm ground clearance is also reassuring that no speed bumps are high enough or potholes low enough to damage the undercarriage.

BATANGAS ESCAPE Guests are greeted with a signage immediately after entering the gates of the property

Part of the experience is a glamping stay at Nayomi Resort, which I thought was a fitting itinerary given how the Territory is comfort and safety on wheels. Again, with everything that the car has to offer, driving it anywhere is a delight.

The Territory was gratifying in the expressway. Effortless steering makes overtaking easy and with all the safety features, the drive is lax, even in high speed. Of course, drivers should still practice precaution on the road on top of the safety technology.

MAXIMUM COMFORT Inside the spacious and cozy glamping tent at Nayomi Resort

Nayomi Resort is at Barangay Alangilan in Balate, Batangas. The 14,418-square-meter retreat has several villas, and glamping tents, spacious recreational areas, a bonfire, two pools, a kiddie park, and an in-house restaurant, making it a good venue for special events like weddings and team-building. The getaway owned by John Pratts and his family is the same property where the actor married model Isabel Oli.

I have only read about glamping until this recent experience with Nayomi Resort. A portmanteau of glamour and camping, the concept of British invention came from guilt over carbon footprints among the middle class. Stars Kate Moss and Sienna Miller were some of the few who popularized the leisure activity. In the Philippines, more farms and resorts are also putting up glamping sites to go with the trend.

I loved my stay at the resort. The manager is friendly and polite, ready to answer any question and accommodate requests without hesitation. She would message guests constantly for updates, recommendations, and the like.

PRIVY FANCY The glamping tent has its dedicated outdoor comfort room

There were three king-sized beds I had no one to share with but my luggage and laptop. Because it was a little rainy during my visit, the air was cool, but I can imagine that even on hotter days staying there would be calming. Among the highlights of my visit were a campfire that came with a grand lighting ceremony, where a ball of flame descended via zip line to light the firewood. And then there was the sunset setting off the the breathtaking view of Taal volcano.

As for food, from breakfast to lunch, and dinner, everything was superb. Within the property, Anahaw Restaurant serves scrumptious Filipino fare. I had adobo, pinaputok na tilapia, longganisa, burger, and a ton of beer. Offered are Batangueño cuisine too, such as lomi, tulingan, and bulalo, to name a few.

CAMPFIRE TALES Seats are set up in this area at night for guests to enjoy the campfire and order food from the Anahaw Restaraurant

After staying overnight at Nayomi, I made my way to Tagaytay for another business, after which I went back to Manila and proceeded to Tarlac. I was in constant commute with the Territory, but not once did I ever feel tired driving it, whether on the narrow backstreets of Tagaytay or through the stressful traffic of Manila.

The Territory is one of the most endorsed crossovers in the market today, and for apparent good rea-
sons. Both the thrill seeker and the newbie driver can get a kick out of this automotive.

Photos of Nayomi Resort lifted from its Facebook page. Images of the Territory by the author.






published 2022-08-30 21:00:00