BA Ford Falcon Ute range
2003 BA Ford Falcon Ute
XR6 and XR6Turbo model
New seats, wheel, controls and more
The XLS stretches its legs on a coastal road
BA Falcon XR8 ute - coming soon
Unless you've been hiding in a cave for the last half-dozen
decades, you'd probably be aware of the intense rivarly between
Ford and Holden.
Most recently, Holden has dominated the sales charts for
large cars in Australia, with the Commodore outselling the
Falcon every month for the last sixty or so.
But check out the sales charts for the humble utility, and
you'll find that it's a different story.
Ford is always greeted with a comfortable lead over its arch-rival
when the sales figures are posted, so it comes as no surprise
that Ford is going all out to inform buyers that its new BA
ute is here.
Looking for all the world like a 2003 Falcon with a tray,
the new ute is a fine looking member of the BA family, which
has one major feature that many attribute to the past sales
successes of the ute: it has a one-tonne capacity.
The Holden doesn't, which means it misses out on thousands
of buyers who need to cart around heavy stuff, like bricks,
tools and the odd animal.
The BA Falcon ute will continue to offer the choice of Supercab
or Chassis Cab, payloads up to one tonne and towing capacity
up to 2300 kg.
But more than just offering a better load carrying capacity,
the BA ute gets all of what the BA Falcon sedan gets, such
as new seats, which should put a smile on the face of many.
For instance, customers can look forward to a luxurious environment,
with the BA ute boasting a total redesign of the interior.
The main feature of the dash is a new Interior Command Centre
- or ICC - a prominent centre stack containing a large LCD
panel that gives information on air conditioning (cost extra
on XL, XLS models), the audio system, trip computer and time.
Ford's Interior Design Manager, Marcus Hotblack, wanted to
create a vehicle that put the driver first. "We wanted
to create a cockpit feel, with all the necessary controls
falling easily to hand.
"We angled the centre console towards the driver and
moved the gear shifter rearwards, which helps create an intuitive
Marcus said a great deal of attention was paid to the tactile
impact of controls in the ute, as well.
"A lot of work went into the feel of the interior surfaces.
Items such as braille controls and rubberised thumbwheels
help create a ute interior quite unlike those of the past.
"We've created a real prestige feel to the interior,
while still maintaining the robustness and useability that's
been a hallmark of Falcon ute interiors," Hotblack said.
While on the topic of interiors, the instrument panel and
ICC lighting uses latest technology light emitting diodes,
or LEDs, which illuminate green for XL and XLS, and blue for
In a bid to improve ergonomics, the instrument cluster has
more closely grouped dials that are easier to read in one
sweep through the upper arc of the steering wheel.
The other big improvement for the BA ute interior are the
seats. With all-new designs, luxurious trims and standard
power adjustment across the range the new Falcon ute offers
arguably the most well-equipped ute in Australia.
The four-way adjuster controls the height and tilt angle
of the seat cushion for greater personal comfort. Both seats
will also feature manually adjustable lumbar support and seat
In a first for Australian utes, power adjustable pedals complement
the new seats. Though only available on automatic models,
the optional brake and accelerator pedals can be moved forward
and back over a range of 65mm.
Step outside the comfy new interiors of the BA ute range,
and you'll come across a very fine looking vehicle, to boot.
In the eyes of Design Director Simon Butterworth, the BA
ute boasts an exterior design combining both elegance and
power: "A major contributor to that look is the proportion
of the vehicle or the relationship of wheels to body,
the height from the ground and front and rear overhangs. With
Falcon Ute we have achieved an excellent stance and visual
At present there are four main choices in the range: XL,
XLS, XR6 and XR6T. The XR8 ute will join the range in early
2003. The entry-level XL Chassis cab ($25,590) looks great
with the new BA front-end, particularly the new-look smoked-lens
But it's the range-topping XR6T ($39,675) that takes the
cake in the styling department. With the XR-type headlights,
massive foglights, full body-kit, 17-inch alloys and an oh-so-smooth
rear-end (complete with chrome exhaust), the new turbocharged
Ford ute will give even the HSV
Maloo a run for its money.
Butterworth concluded: "In addition, the clean contemporary
surface language combined with simple, geometric line work
and great attention to detail, gives the ute a solid, premium
look of refined power."
And speaking of refined power, those with a restless right
foot will be pleased to hear that power on even the base models
is substantially higher than not only the AU ute, but also
the Holden VY ute.
All BA utes get 80-litre fuel tanks, while in the base model
XL ute, potential buyers will feel the almost-V8 level of
torque, with a stonkning 380Nm on offer from as low as 3250rpm.
Peak power for the 4.0-litre Barra 182 mill is 182kW @ 5000rpm,
while the rev ceiling has been raised to 6000rpm.
If you just have to have 8-cylinders, and can't wait for
the beefed up 260kW Boss V8, which arrives in the XR8 ute
in 2003, the Barra 220kW 5.4-litre V8 ships as a $5000 option,
but also includes ABS. The 5.4-litre DOHC V8 makes 220kW @
4750rpm and 20Nm more than turbocharged six, taking peak torque
to 470Nm which occurs @ 3250rpm.
The XR6 ute ($34,205) gets the same 182kW inline six-cylinder
powerplant as other models, but gets all the other goodies
of the XR6T, such as aggressive bodykit, fog lights, alloy
wheels and dollied-up interior. The turbo XR6 gets same appointments
as the XR6, but benefits from what is arguably the best Australian-built
mill doing the rounds at present.
Making a prodigious 450Nm at a bowel-shaking 2000rpm, peak
power figures of 240kW @ 5250rpm back up the Turbo's serious
intentions. Those who are looking for a more economical utility,
however, would be best advised to check out the new LPG technology
invested in the Barra engine program. The new E-Gas engine
offers the best of both worlds.
Boasting an impressive 156kW and 372Nm, the E-Gas BA Falcon
ute has all the economic benefits of LPG without compromising
The Falcon BA ute rear suspension retains the tried and tested
live rear axle , specifically for its excellent load carrying
However, all elements of the rear suspension have been retuned
to offer improved ride performance, while maintaining established
Falcon values including safe, reliable handling, towing capabilities
New shock absorbers have been incorporated in the rear. The
bigger diameter (36mm compared to 30mm on AU) and lower friction
shock absorber offers improved ride comfort and greater resistance
Dynamics engineers have also included a voided bush, replacing
the solid bush used previously, to improve NVH. Falcons
renowned steering system has been comprehensively overhauled
to provide even greater driver involvement and precision as
"Drivers will notice an improved linearity between steering
inputs and the cars response, adding to peace-of-mind
motoring," said Chassis Development Manager Alex de Vlugt.
The BA Falcon Ute is available in three levels of suspension
tune Standard, Sports and One Tonne. The XL Styleside
Box is available with Standard Suspension that rides on Dunlop
215/60 R16 tyres. The Chassis Cab version features the One
Tonne Suspension set-up, featuring heavier leaf springs, a
slightly raised ride height and Dunlop 215/60 R16 C (Commercial)
tyres. The One Tonne Suspension package is optional on the
XL Styleside Box.
The XLS comes standard with the Sports Suspension pack, which
rides 20mm lower than the Standard Suspension and features
stiffer front and rear springs and FPV-supplied sports shock
absorbers. They ride on lower profile Dunlop 215/55 R16 tyres.
The One Tonne Suspension is optional on XLS, while Sports
Suspension is the only available set-up on XR6 and XR6 Turbo
More than just a safe and comfortable way to carry your tools
and cargo, Ford is keen to push the lifestyle aspect of the
new BA ute. Indeed, it's the only two-door vehicle in the
BA line-up, and will appeal to the young lads who like to
show off, not just those looking for a hardy workhorse. Together
with the current success of the AU ute, Ford gurus are upbeat
about the future of the BA ute: "The Falcon Ute is one
of Australian motoring's genuine success stories, enjoying
unprecedented levels of dominance in the sales market,"
said 4WD and Commercial Vehicle Marketing Manager, Kevin Lillie.
"To improve on that we had to offer an exceptional ute,
and the BA Falcon Ute certainly delivers on that front. The
list of changes is enormous all aimed at providing
the ultimate tool for work and play," he said.
The Ford vs Holden battle persists and, while Ford's status
as the #1 utility retailer in the country is likely to continue
unabated, the war is far from over. Still, Ford's new ute
is easily its finest yet, but it is other markets in which
the Blue Oval's performance needs to improve...
Ute XL Chassis Cab
Ute XL Styleside Box
Ute XLS Chassis Cab
Ute XLS Styleside Box
Ute XR6 Styleside Box
Ute XR6 Turbo Styleside Box
Barra 220 5.4-litre V8 (inc ABS)
Sequential Sports Shift
Leather Seats (XR)
conditioning (XL, XLS)
Towpack (1600 kg)
Heavy duty suspension