Ute’s on other foot

The re­fur­bished Fal­con ute has be­come a life­style ve­hi­cle, writes JAMES STAN­FORD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

THERE aren’t many ve­hi­cles more ver­sa­tile than the Fal­con ute. You want a work­horse that can carry up to 1240kg or tow 2300kg? No wor­ries. There’s no doubt the Holden ute is a cracker, but it’s more of a life­style ve­hi­cle driven to and from work rather than be­ing driven for work and is gen­er­ally sportier than the Fal­con.

The Fal­con ute cov­ers a broader spec­trum thanks to a sep­a­rate body that al­lows you to have a tinny tray on the back or a reg­u­lar tub.

It has the po­ten­tial to carry a heav­ier load be­cause of its rear leaf-springs. The Holden has an in­de­pen­dent coil spring set-up.

The new Fal­con ute picks up most of the im­prove­ments of the new FG range in­clud­ing a re­vised steer­ing rack, en­gine up­grades, a new base au­to­matic gear­box and fresh in­te­rior and ex­te­rior styling.

It also takes the new Vir­tual Pivot Con­trol Link front sus­pen­sion, and Ford has fit­ted new mono­tube shock ab­sorbers to all utes ex­cept the base model, which re­tains the twin-tube set-up be­cause the long mono­tubes don’t fit when us­ing the one-tonne rated springs.

Ford is keep­ing things sim­ple and the base Fal­con ute is called, you guessed it, Fal­con ute.

The old XLS model has been re­placed by the R6. Th­ese two mod­els, and the XR6, are avail­able with cab-chas­sis flat tray or a steel tub (which Ford calls the Styleside Box)

The XR6 Turbo and XR8 aren’t avail­able as a cab chas­sis.

En­gine op­tions in­clude the 195kW in-line six for the three base cars, a 270kW boosted I6 for the XR6 Turbo, the 290kW V8 for the XR8 and the op­tion of 156kW LPG en­gines.

About 40 per cent of Fal­con utes have the E-Gas LPG op­tion, which costs $2400, or $1400 with the gov­ern­ment sub­sidy, and is avail­able in the Fal­con ute, R6 steel tub or cab chas­sis and the XR6 cab chas­sis mod­els.

A new six-speed man­ual is stan­dard through­out the range, ex­cept for the E-Gas mod­els, which are linked to a four-speed au­to­matic.

The stan­dard six-cylin­der en­gines are avail­able with a new US-de­signed, French built five-speed au­to­matic for $1000 ex­tra.

XR mod­els are avail­able with a six-speed ZF au­to­matic. A col­umn-shift ver­sion of the five-speed au­to­matic is avail­able when you choose the mid­dle-seat op­tion (for no ex­tra cost), which comes with a re­mov­able head­rest.

Fal­con beaut: the new ute has the po­ten­tial to carry a heav­ier load be­cause of its rear leaf-springs.

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