Ute’s on other foot
The refurbished Falcon ute has become a lifestyle vehicle, writes JAMES STANFORD
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The old XLS model has been replaced by the R6.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.