Western Suburbs Weekly - - Drive Way - Chris Ri­ley

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.

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