It’s slated to be wrapped up as being made in Australia in 2016 but Ford’s Falcon isn’t going down without a fight. An exterior redesign, a light freshen up for the interior, some integrated tech and, in the case of the sports model, the return of the XR8 nameplate. A step down from that is the XR6 with which A Wheel Thing spent a somewhat sad week with. Why? Soon there’ll be no more Aussie made cars…
The phrase “grandfather’s axe” has been levelled at the 4.0L engine that has existed in one form or another and in varying capacities (but not by much) for well over forty years. In the case of the 2015 XR6, it’s a modern, fuel injected, high torque, alloy headed beast.
Power is 195 kW at 6000 revs with torque an impressive 391 Nm at 3250 rpm. The transmission is a six speed auto with Sports mode whilst the combo drinks, not sips, from a 68 litre tank. Ford quotes, in an urban environment, its natural home, at close to 15.0/L per 100 kilometres. Dry weight is a hefty 1748 kilograms.
In profile it’s the BA based shell we had to have after the dingo ugly AU debacle. The major changes are the Jaguaresque tail lights and the bluff, upright front with the integrated LED’s surrounding the headlights. It’s a classier and more user friendly look than its opposition. From the front, it looks like no Falcon we’ve seen before, with the handover to the forthcoming American sourced metal evident.
The boot features a subtle spoiler, sitting atop the aforementioned iconic British tail light design; the overall effect is somewhat disquieting, with a sharp and aggressive front joined to a softly rounded rear by a centre a decade old.
On The Inside.
It’s here that the lack of spending is evident in one respect, yet hidden in plain sight in another. The dash features a font not unlike that seen in the Lethal Weapon movie titles yet the centre console touchscreen (sitting atop a layout almost unchanged for a decade) is a four quarter display for radio (including digital!) Bluetooth, navigation and aircon, which also flicks up on the monochrome (why?) centre of dash screen. It’s simple, intuitive and a hidden gem.
The system features Ford’s lauded Sync2 system, with voice activated hands free calling for your phone, phone book transfer and text messaging support. It’s a classy bit of technology and drags the Falcon into the 21st century.
It’s a key (not keyless) start, an anachronism nowadays.
Seats are deep, supportive and reasonably easy to adjust however the steering column, adjustable for reach and rake doesn’t go up high enough for truly safe and comfortable driving. As expected, safety features for the big car to drive in this big brown land are considerable, with airbags everywhere, including side curtain style, electronic aids and simple “don’t forget your seatbelt” chimes.
The boot is massive, allowing 535L worth of cargo space to be utilised. It’s the stereotypical big boot for the Aussie family and it’ll be missed. What is good is the access from the rear 60/40 split fold seat.
On The Road.
The XR6 feels heavy. It feels heavy and old. Although the steering rack ratio is quick, at around 3.5 turns lock to lock, the overall impression is of a tired, worn out and uninspired setup. It’s slow to get off the mark, feels a touch breathless getting under way and there’s the same sound from underneath that Australia has heard for over two decades.
The six speed auto whines and clunks, there’s moments of backlash through the drivetrain as it swaps from Reverse to Drive, the go pedal is prodded and there’s a moment of hesitation before the response comes.
Belying this is the ride quality; Ford’s suspension has been applauded for its suppleness and, even riding on licorice thin 245/35/19 Dunlop tyres, there’s a feeling of confidence, safety, grip and fluidity. The variable ratio steering is responsive, imparting an almost F1 sensation as the nose moves left and right with barely a touch.
Damping is sensational, with the crash bang of shopping centre carpark speedbumps ignored and flattened.
It’s an odd mix of new tech, smart thinking and old school Aussie sounds from the XR6. Much like its main competitor, Holden’s SV6, it’s a base model car given a little bit of dress up and some up to date electronics. It’s a hefty thing to move yet lightning quick in driving style. It’s comfortable to be in but has elements of the 20th century holding it back visually.
But it is ours, the Ford Falcon XR6 and its imminent passing will be mourned. Contact your local Ford dealer for pricing.
For details, go here: http://www.ford.com.au/cars/ultimate-falcon/specifications/spec-options
For A Wheel Thing TV:
The Small Stuff.
Car: Ford Falcon XR6.
Engine: 4.0L straight six.
Power and torque: 195 kW/6000 rpm, 391 Nm/3250 rpm.
Transmission: six speed auto.
Fuel: Petrol, 91/95/98 RON compatible.
Weight: 1748 kg.
Consumption (quoted): 14.2L/6.8L/9.5L per 100 km. Urban/highway/combined.
Towing: 2300 kg auto, 1200 kg manual.
Tyre/wheel: Dunlop SP SportMaxx 245/35/19 (as fitted).
Dimensions: 4949 x 1868 x 1494 mm (L x W x H).
Wheelbase: 2838 mm.