’em who is the Boss

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide -

Step on the gas and you get a won­der­fully throaty V8 bel­low cour­tesy of what Ford calls a ‘‘semi-ac­tive’’ muf­fler. It’s a clever lit­tle de­vice lifted from Jaguar which forces ex­haust gases through baf­fles to keep it quiet, but at high en­gine speeds it al­lows the ex­haust to flow free so it sounds as a V8 should.

Ford is of­fer­ing the choice of a six-speed man­ual gear­box or a ZF six-speed auto, which was the box fit­ted to the test ute.

It was a smooth-shift­ing, no­fuss unit and had the op­tion of man­ual shift­ing through the ‘‘se­quen­tial sports shift’’ func­tion.

True to its im­age of a sports ute, the XR8 sits low and lean on the road, rolling on big 17-inch al­loys in stan­dard form, but with the tough-looking op­tion of 19-inch al­loys as fit­ted to the test ute. With sports sus­pen­sion the XR8 rides com­fort­ably but firmly, and han­dles with pre­ci­sion. A stan­dard lim­ited-slip diff means it hooks up well in cor­ners.

The steer­ing is nicely weighted at speed on the road and at park­ing speeds.

The in­te­rior has a sporty XR8 trim, leather-wrapped steer­ing wheel, power seats, air, CD sound, cruise and al­loy ped­als.

Out­side it’s eas­ily iden­ti­fied by the power bulge on the bon­net and the ‘‘Boss 290’’ stick­ers, but it also has a sporty XR body kit and flush-fit ton­neau. The test ute also had an al­loy sports bar and hard ton­neau.

With the sports sus­pen­sion the $39,490 XR8 has a GVM of 2380kg and a max­i­mum pay­load of 540kg. It will tow up to 2300kg.

In­side run­ning: the XR8’s in­te­rior has a sporty trim, leather-wrapped steer­ing wheel, power seats, air, CD sound, cruise and al­loy ped­als.

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