Lite but late

Good as it is, the 2.0-litre Fal­con might not stop the sales slide

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

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

Fal­con

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