Hang up the weapon

Herald Sun - Motoring - - SHORT CUT -

VALUE

For the last one they could have made more of an ef­fort. The styling is non­de­script, it’s far too quiet and the in­te­rior feels Spar­tan. Peo­ple are pay­ing up to $90K for ex­am­ples on­line. The value is in its sig­nif­i­cance and the go-fast gear, start­ing with a 345kW su­per­charged V8. It comes as an auto or man­ual, takes pre­mium un­leaded and re­quires ser­vic­ing ev­ery 12 months/ 15,000km, with ser­vice pricey at $1570 for three years.

COM­FORT

Fal­con has al­ways been a com­fort­able run­about, with plenty room and a big boot. It doesn’t have the claus­tro­pho­bic feel of a Com­modore ei­ther. But apart from the me­chan­i­cal pack­age, there’s lit­tle to get ex­cited about. The suede leather sports seats are noth­ing spe­cial. The eight-inch touch­screen is about the only nod to cur­rent de­sign but even then it re­sponds spas­mod­i­cally — we were jab­bing it in frus­tra­tion.

SAFETY

Comes with the max­i­mum five stars and has done for about eight years, with 34.61/37 crash score from tests in 2008. You get six airbags, driver as­sist fea­tures, re­vers­ing cam­era and auto emer­gency call in the event an ac­ci­dent. More re­cent ad­vances such as au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing are lack­ing.

DRIV­ING

The XR6 and XR8 Sprint are ab­so­lute weapons. The turbo six is quicker but there’s more to love about the V8’s sound and smooth­ness. The sports sus­pen­sion can be al­most twitchy at times and is tir­ing over long pe­ri­ods on coun­try roads. Ac­cel­er­a­tion is su­per strong and ac­com­pa­nied by a Mad Max sound­track. The ex­pen­sive Pirelli P Zero tyres strug­gle to find grip as you un­leash the beast. Brembo brakes pull the car up straight and true, with plenty of feel once warm. The de­light­fully di­rect and com­mu­nica­tive steer­ing is a Ford hall­mark.

AL­TER­NA­TIVES

Holden Com­modore SS-V Red­line, from $54,490 Another Aussie icon with nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 6.2-litre V8 (304kW/570Nm). Cabin feels ritzier and comes with plenty of eye candy. Gets more safety gear too in­clud­ing for­ward col­li­sion alert, not to men­tion bet­ter au­dio. Avail­able with a man­ual or auto. Uses 12.6L12.9L/100km. Ser­vic­ing is nine months/ 15,000km for a to­tal of $956 for three years. Chrysler 300 SRT, from $65,000 Amer­i­cana at its finest. Looks the goods with huge 20-inch wheels and 6.4-litre hemi V8 (350kW/637Nm) — it’s a wor­thy con­tender. Uses 13.0L/100km. Eight-speed auto only. Comes with even bet­ter Har­man Kar­don au­dio. Ser­vic­ing is at in­ter­vals of six months/12,000km and is su­per dear at $3127 for three years.

VER­DICT

Thanks for the mem­o­ries but it’s time to go.

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