FALCON IS STILL FLYING
WITH only about 12 months to go before Ford pulls the plug on Falcon production, there will be quite a few people hedging their bets, waiting to grab one of the last cars to come off the production line.
Most will probably be looking to grab a V8 or perhaps a turbocharged six, because we’ll never see the like again; but the smart money is on one of the LPG models.
A sporty XR6 with a gas burner makes eminent sense and as the final day approaches, there are bound to be plenty of special offers. Then again, the price could rocket as supply dwindles. Who knows... In the meantime you can buy a new Falcon with EcoLPI for as little as $38,900, or the XR6 for $40,790.
Those prices include an auto and, for less than $2000, you’d be crazy to pass up on the more appealing XR6 with sports suspension.
The latest Falcon gets the Sync2 infotainment system, which includes a Wi-Fi hotspot, digital radio and automatic emergency call in the event of an accident, using the resources of your mobile phone.
Our test car missed out, but satellite navigation became standard on all Falcon utes and sedans as well as Territories, from April 1 (no joke).
To enter a new navigation destination into Sync2’s navigation system, the driver can simply press the voice button and say “Set destination 1735 Sydney Road” and Sync2 will do the rest.
The LPG system in the Falcon is different from Holden’s.
It’s called LPI because the gas is injected in liquid form into the cylinders, rather than as a gas. This enables the injectors to deliver a greater volume of fuel per cubic centimetre, which in turn means more power.
The EcoLPI engine produces 198kW and 409Nm, compared with the petrol six with 195kW and 391Nm. As well as having more power and torque, maximum power is developed 1000 revs earlier in the rev range too.
With the EcoLPI engine the Falcon is good for 11.7 litres/100km.
This compares with 9.0 litres/100km for the straight six, or 8.0 litres/100km for the 2.0litre turbocharged four.
We were getting 13.7 litres/ 100km after 600km, with gas about 60 cents a litre.
Ford has spent years refining the concept and some might argue it is a better car than the Commodore.
But just like the Commodore, as a ‘big car’, it has fallen victim to the shift to smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles.
The design is far from flawed and in its latest form has been made to look smaller through clever design.
Tick the box for the EcoLPI engine, in effect a $2500 option, and suddenly it becomes relatively cheap to run too; perhaps a small car after all.
With a large footprint, the Falcon sits comfortably on the road, with plenty of room in the back for passengers and a boot to match.
Around town it has got the getup-and-go to exploit sudden gaps in the traffic but it is out on the open road, particularly the highways that link our cities, that it really comes into its own.
Where small cars struggle with long stretches and lousy roads involved, the Falcon takes it all in its stride, putting the kilometres behind it with consummate ease.
For this reason, if nothing else, we’re going to miss these cars when they’re gone.
Verdict: It’s very tempting. If you want one of the last Falcons, you’d better time your run right or you could miss out.
The Falcon EcoLPI makes a lot of sense.