FINAL FLIGHT FOR FALCON
FUEL EFFICIENCY A MONEY-SAVER
THEY saved the best for last and, based on the latest sales figures, it's a pity not many punters will get to appreciate the new (last) FG X Falcon.
Falcon has been been evolving for years and still has the same basic chassis construction from about 20 years ago, same basic floor pan, roof, doors etc. The engine, though a straight six with twin cams and variable valve timing, harks back to the first Falcon engine back in 1960. Someone suggested the first and last Falcon sixes share the same bore centres (distance between the engine's cylinders). We'd believe it. But it all works, making this engine one of the best sixes around. Better than a cheap-toproduce V6 any day, and smoother.
This time around they had a real crack at the Falc's styling giving it a European Ford face with cues shared with the likes of Mondeo, Focus and Fiesta and a stylish rear end.
It makes the FG X look smaller overall and distinctly similar to the new Hyundai Genesis. Yup, you take a closer look. The effect is striking, making the FG X the best looking Falc' for a long time especially with the (evil eye) headlights and Aston-style grille.
Inside is pretty much the same grey taxi look found in a Falc' for a couple of decades - but it hides a swag of new connectivity technology including a WiFi hotspot, entertainment, safety and luxury.
Three grades are offered in the base Falcon, the G series and XR series with four, six or V8 engines.
Why anybody would buy a four banger Falcon is beyond us and sales reflect that.
The EcoLPi six ($38,400) we drove is such a better proposition - on all fronts. It even has a normal size boot unsullied by the usual LPG tank you find in other gas cars.
The EcoLPi system has been around for a while and it makes more power and torque than the petrol six thanks to its liquid LPG injection system instead of vapour injection.
The figures are 198kW/ 409Nm and get this, is uses as little as 8.0-litres/100km. Better yet is the fact that LPG is about 76c a litre right now.
You can get EcoLPi in the base Falc' like we drove and also in XR grade. We would go for the XR6 every day.
But the base model drive car was pretty good offering up impressive engine performance across the entire rev range.
At no point are you left in the lurch without enough grunt. It's a throttle push-and-go situation.
There's a new six speed auto behind the donk offering better changes than before and more appropriate gearing. It also has a sequential shift mode on the selector stick. No paddles though.
We found the lag between turning the key and engine starting a little disconcerting.
But otherwise, would recommend the EcoLPi every day over the standard petrol car.
The base Falcon gets a decent array of kit including the aforementioned Sync2 connectivity system with voice control to many functions and emergency assist.
There's also a reverse camera with front and rear park assist and limit overlays, climate control, cruise, power adjust driver's seat, auto headlights and other goodies. No satnav though.
The front seats have been repositioned lower than the pre- vious model, improving access for taller people.
The recalibrated suspension is an improvement and aerodynamic changes have a positive effect. But the low rolling resistance Michelins (16-inch) are too skinny for the car and can be a grip issue especially in the wet.
We'd chuck 'em and get some decent rubber. And 16s - really? S'pose they were on a tight budget.
It's a heavy beast these days at 1766kg for the test car, more for the XR6 version.
The interior styling is boring but functional and the car feels comfortable to ride in - probably because of its size.
Like it, more lively than a Commodore, uses less fuel, looks pretty good too. Decent amount of kit and the connectivity upgrades are impressive.