Ford dinkum

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­

WHICH is the bet­ter car, Fal­con or Holden? It has long been a point of con­tention at the pub.

A main mea­sure has been their per­for­mance, and from Ford’s per­spec­tive the XR6 is the main­stream ex­am­ple.

The Fal­con GT might be the Blue Oval’s stan­dard bearer but it’s the XR6 that flies the flag for the av­er­age bloke. It’s been a win­ner al­most from the mo­ment it was in­tro­duced in 1992 with the EB Fal­con. The BF XR6 con­tin­ued the theme from 2005.

It was the sporty vari­ant of the Fal­con fam­ily taxi; the spe­cial model to which dads could as­pire with­out up­set­ting do­mes­tic har­mony. Power came from a smooth and re­fined 4.0-litre dou­ble over­head camshaft six-cylin­der en­gine. With four valves per cylin­der and vari­able cam tim­ing, it punched out 190kW and 383Nm.

With that sort of out­put the XR6 had plenty of punch. The stan­dard trans­mis­sion was a four-speed sports-shift auto but the new six-speed auto was the talk­ing point of the new car. For any­one still want­ing to change gears them­selves there was an op­tional six-speed man­ual.

Ford’s en­gi­neers had done a good job in sort­ing the chas­sis, giv­ing the XR6 a nicely bal­anced feel on the road with­out ad­versely af­fect­ing the ride. In­side, the cabin was com­fort­able, roomy and well laid-out with all con­trols sen­si­bly placed for easy use.


Build qual­ity was a con­cern with the BA model that pre­ceded the BF and de­spite the BF be­ing built to a higher stan­dard, qual­ity was still an is­sue. The BFII, how­ever, was a su­pe­rior ef­fort again and is by far the bet­ter used car choice.

The BF had the oil cooler for the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion in the ra­di­a­tor and it was prone to frac­tur­ing and when that hap­pened coolant would en­ter the trans­mis­sion and re­sult in trans­mis­sion fail­ure. The cooler was moved from the ra­di­a­tor on the BFII, elim­i­nat­ing that prob­lem. Both mod­els suf­fered from fail­ure of the diff mounts so lis­ten for clunks from the rear end that could in­di­cate these need re­plac­ing.

The diffs also could be prob­lem­atic, par­tic­u­larly when cars were driven hard, but diff spe­cial­ists have de­vel­oped af­ter­mar­ket fixes that make the diff a more durable unit. There’s not much that goes wrong with the Fal­con’s big six but look for oil leaks that might af­fect road­wor­thi­ness.

The discs are also known to warp and reg­u­larly re­quire re­plac­ing. A pul­sat­ing brake pedal is usu­ally a re­li­able sign that the ro­tors are warped.

Some me­chan­ics will skim ro­tors to ex­tend their life, but that’s only putting off the in­evitable for a short time. Ex­pect 50,000-60,000km from a set of disc ro­tors.

Go over all the sys­tems in the car, the air­con­di­tion­ing, cruise, sound, power win­dows etc to con­firm they’re work­ing. Check for a ser­vice record to make sure your po­ten­tial pur­chase has seen the in­side of a work­shop, as it should.


The BF and BFII were quite well equipped to han­dle a crash. It was a bag car to start with, which meant it had mass on its side when it came to a crunch. It also had dual front airbags, ABS and trac­tion con­trol to en­hance its crash per­for­mance.


The BF/BFII Fal­con was a big lump of a car and that was shown at the bowser. De­spite the im­prove­ments Ford had made to its en­gine there’s no es­cap­ing the mass it has to move. Ford claimed it would av­er­age 10-11L/100km on reg­u­lar un­leaded petrol.

The on-road out­come de­pends heav­ily on the pres­sure ap­plied to the throt­tle pedal.

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