Facelifted Ford Explorer previews Ford Territory replacement.
Ford has given a glimpse of its family-sized SUV for the future, taking the covers off the new Ford Explorer that will ultimately replace the locally-made Ford Territory once production at Broadmeadows ends in 2016.
Ford unveiled the facelifted version of the 2011 Explorer at the Los Angeles motor show today and it is believed to be a pointer as to how the next generation model due in two years will look.
Ford Australia has not yet confirmed that the US-built Explorer will replace the Territory SUV but well placed insiders say it is a done deal.
CarsGuide understands Ford also considered using the Territory name on the next generation Explorer because it is so popular with Australian buyers.
But in the end the decision was made to go with the global Explorer name, although the Territory badge may live on as one of the model grades.
The facelifted version of the 2011 Ford Explorer, which arrives just past the midway point of the model’s lifecycle, has adopted a more upmarket appearance with hints of Range Rover in the grille and headlights.
The interior has been upgraded with more luxury equipment and appearance.
The current Ford Explorer already shares a lot in common with the Ford Territory: both share their underpinnings with large sedans (the US Taurus for the Explorer and the Australian Falcon for the Territory), are available with five or seven seats, and are car-like to drive.
Ford insiders are adamant that the recently released Ford Everest, based on heavy duty Ranger ute underpinnings, is not the replacement for the Territory, and nor is the other global Ford SUV planned for Australia, the Edge, which is a five-seater only.
Ford sold 17,291 Explorers across two generations in Australia from 1996 to 2005. But the US model was dropped after sales of the locally-made Territory quickly outsold it.
Ford Explorer sales in Australia
UPDATE: Since this article was published, CarsGuide has learned there are no plans to introduce a right-hand-drive version of this generation Ford Explorer.