NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

LARGE cars in Aus­tralia have been on the nose for a while while they have strug­gled to main­tain mar­ket share and re­main vi­able.

But Ford may have the an­swer with its Fal­con EcoBoost. Which im­me­di­ately begs the ques­tion: Why isn’t Ford shout­ing about it?

This car has come in un­der the radar some­what, with lit­tle or no fuss, a stylish low-key ap­proach, but with what it has to of­fer it de­serves recog­ni­tion.

In this day and age where more peo­ple are aware or be­com­ing aware of their car­bon foot­print and im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, the EcoBoost de­liv­ers in spades.

A big fam­ily sedan prov­ing that a rel­a­tively small engine is no deal breaker in a large car.

I own a Ford XR6, so get­ting into this ve­hi­cle posed no sur­prises as the dash is the same well ap­pointed, func­tional, user friendly one that greets me ev­ery time I get in­my­own car.

What is im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent once the engine has started is how much qui­eter this ve­hi­cle is thanks to the ad­di­tional noise in­su­la­tion.

It is also much lighter to steer and han­dle; hav­ing said that, per­for­mance wise it was ex­cel­lent — with plenty of get up and go — com­fort­able cruis­ing around town and plenty of power to make that am­ber light or over­take a road train safely; it does it easy and fuss free.

On the open road it cruises qui­etly at a re­laxed 1900rpm at 100km/h.

I dare­say most peo­ple would be sur­prised to hear that it ‘‘only’’ has a four un­der the bon­net.

The drive can best be summed up as ‘‘sweet’’.

I’ve al­ways had a bit of an aver­sion to re­vers­ing cam­eras and the like; for good­ness sake, look and check the area be­hind your ve­hi­cle be­fore re­vers­ing, it’s not that hard.

And rain sens­ing wipers — what is that all about — that’s what your bloody eyes are for, surely?

Any­how I di­gress. What I did rate was the fact that when you en­gage R for re- verse, the ra­dio/au­dio is si­lenced and a sub­tle warn­ing comes on screen ad­vis­ing you to check your sur­rounds prior to set­ting the ve­hi­cle in mo­tion — it also emits a gen­tle ‘‘bing’’ when ob­jects are deemed too close — nice and un­der­stated but ef­fec­tive nonethe­less.

Neg­a­tives? I’d hon­estly be hard pressed to find any real neg­a­tives, but if I had to name one or two they would sim­ply be that the win­dow is not fully au­to­matic when be­ing ‘‘wound’’ up and the in­di­ca­tor noise is a bit ‘‘tin­nie’’ com­pared to the re­as­sur­ing thunk, thunk, thunk mine makes.

Apart from those mi­nor ‘de­fi­cien­cies’ this is a truly great car. Three words to sum­marise : smooth, quiet, re­spon­sive FORD FAL­CON ECOBOOST ENGINE: four-cylin­der 2.0 litre petrol engine POWER: 79kW/353Nm SAFETY: five-star ANCAP rat­ing WEIGHT: 1648kg TRANS­MIS­SION: six-gear, sorts au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, rear­wheel drive ECON­OMY: 8.1L/100km

I’ll leave fur­ther tech­ni­cal and prac­ti­cal de­tails to the knowl­edge­able staff at Hid­den Val­ley Ford in Ber­rimah, who’d be more than happy to give you the ‘‘low­down’’ on the ve­hi­cle.

So call in there for a test drive soon and talk to the friendly sales team.

The ve­hi­cle I road tested is the XT ver­sion and is avail­able for $36,990 drive­away.

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