Lite but late
Good as it is, the 2.0-litre Falcon might not stop the sales slide
Mondeo and Volvo S60 – provides performance close to the venerable 4.0-litre inline six.
Ford is expected to announce the locally designed and built Falcon will be replaced by a global platform vehicle potentially as early as the Detroit Motor Show in January. That is in part due to product rationalisation and that the six-cylinder can’t meet the Euro V emissions standards that will come into force from 2016.
A brief drive on the ride and handling track at the Ford proving ground shows the 50kg shaved off the front axle makes the Falcon a precise and willing steerer. The acceleration tests then prove it is almost a match for the six-cylinder engine now fitted to the XT, G6 and G6E — models the 2.0-litre turbo will be fitted to.
The key will be in getting people into cars to appreciate the quality of the new product — and in the fuel consumption figures Ford won’t release until closer to the vehicles launch in early April.
Ford has added equipment and cut prices across the range with the launch of the updated ‘‘ Mark II’’ car due in dealerships later this month but its year-to-date sales of 17,365 are 8000 down on this time last year.
History will also hurt the Ecoboost Falcon. The last time a four-cylinder was put in an Aussie family car was the infamous 1.9-litre Starfire engine Holden shoved under the bonnet of the VC Commodore in 1980. The performance was so poor that drivers kept the accelerator flat to the floor and the claimed fuel economy benefits over the six-cylinder model evaporated.
The Falcon doesn’t deserve the comparison. Ford will have to persuade new car buyers otherwise.
Meanwhile, Ford’s Kuga compact SUV will go on sale in March in two trim levels to give the Blue Oval brand a competitor in a segment Ford Australia president Bob Graziano said is increasingly important for all car brands.
The SUV will be powered by a 2.5-litre turbo Duratec V6 engine with 147kw and 320Nm and compete with the likes of Toyota’s RAV4 and Holden’s Captiva range.
Positive: First impressions are good for thenew