Ford Falcon FG Ute: Stronger,
Channel Staff - 12/May/2008
Ford FG Falcon Ute
The XR6 Falcon Ute with cab chassis body
offers a much larger tray for moving goods
Ford vs Holden
Ford's new FG Ute make an
impressive showing, with a range of features, new designs, more
powerful engines, better quality interiors, the list goes on. It'll be
a hot seller for the Blue Oval, but its most difficult task will
be overcoming it's arch-rival, the Holden VE Ute.
Holden already has a head start and has improved sales of
its utes with the new VE models after positive reviews and a bold new look, so Ford will be facing an
uphill battle. But with the XR6 Turbo leading its counter attack, Ford is expected to strike back strongly.
Furthermore, Ford will provide cab chassis
models with flat trays for larger loads and some models can be optioned with a third
seat - both of which Holden does not offer.
While ABS, EBD and traction control
are offered, there has been no mention of DSC (dynamic stability
control), which is one area where Holden takes the lead by offering ESP
standard across the range. However this battle pans out, there'll be a
war of words from both camps, and stay tuned for hands on impressions.
Feann Torr, Editor
This is the new Ford FG Falcon R6 ute,
which is the half sports, half trade model
The range-topping XR6 Turbo Ute makes 270kW
of power and will demolish the 0-100km/h dash,
expected to record times of around 5.5 seconds
The entry-level Falcon Ute cab chassis is propelled
by a 195kW 4.0-litre inline 6-cylinder powerplant
This is the XR8 Falcon Ute, fitting with the XR Luxury
pack that adds 19-inch wheels among other things
The interior of the XR6 Falcon Ute, priced
at $34,090, boasts a more advanced design
Ford's FG Falcon Ute could set the benchmark
for rear-wheel drive light commercial vehicles
Hot on the heels of Ford Australia's all-new Falcon sedan is
the FG Falcon Ute, which will go toe-to-toe with Holden's acclaimed VE Ute.
Like the new Falcon sedans, Ford's full-sized
rear-wheel drive utes are more powerful, safer, more comfortable and better equipped with more
technology than their predecessors.
One-tonne models can haul more than
1200kg of cargo in the tray, and can tow braked trailers
weighing up to 2300kg.
Like the sedan range, the new Ford Ute's will be
powered by three different engines to shift cargo with minimum fuss: 6- and 8-cylinder engines, including the cult favourite
turbocharged 6-cylinder 4.0-litre engine available on the XR6 Turbo Ute.
On sale in June, pricing for the new FG Falcon Ute
line-up is as follows:
Falcon Ute Cab
Styleside Box: $28,195
Styleside Box: $38,490
The next generation Falcon Ute boasts a range of
features including all-new virtual pivot control link front
suspension and monotube shockers for improved handling, sporty new exterior
designs, advanced cockpits and more power and torque for all models
including the increasingly popular sport utes.
Ford will even offer some models with a third
central seat adding even more practicality, where the 5-speed automatic
gear shifter is relocated from the middle of the cabin to the column
shift near the steering wheel.
"The all-new FG Falcon represents another step
forward for automotive
vehicle design in Australia," said Ford Australia's President Bill
"The FG Falcon Ute range offers no compromise
and functionality, with the ideal mix of truck-like capability and
car-like comfort, driveability and safety," said Mr Osborne.
All Falcon Ute's come with dual airbags
and can be optioned with another pair of side head airbags.
"Each model in the
new Falcon Ute range represents a unique mix of workhorse and
recreational elements, which ensures the job gets done during the
workday week, as well as on weekends when its time to getaway," added
is an exceptional passenger-derived ute package that delivers
outstanding performance, fuel efficiency, refinement and safety to meet
the needs of a wide variety of customers," said the President of Ford
Australia, Bill Osborne.
On top of the new features, Ford has
also added a new model to the range.
R6 sits underneath the XR models (XR6, XR8, XR6 Turbo) but still has a
number of sports car features, including alloy wheels,
flush-fitting tonneau tray cover, sports suspension, fog
Ford calls the new R6 Falcon Ute "a fresh
combination of sports ute
dynamism with renowned workhorse capabilities".
In total there are four models in the new Falcon
The workhorse entry-level model is simply called
the Falcon Ute, followed by the new semi-sports R6 Ute, and
then there are the XR models which comprise the XR6, the XR8 and the
ball-busting XR6 Turbo.
There are three engines powering the new models,
all of which benefit from increased power:
While the new engines are more powerful, the old
4-speed automatic gearbox has been replaced by a new European-built
5-speed auto, which was described as "streets ahead of the Holden
4-speed gearbox and marks a
significant win for Ford" with "good pre-emptive intelligence when
left in its fully-auto mode" by Feann when he tested the Falcon
sedan models early in 2008.
All models come standard with the 6-speed manual
transmission, a high performance Tremec gearbox designated TR6060. All
models can be optioned with the 5-speed automatic, while the
range-topping XR8 and XR6 Turbo sports models get optional 6-speed
Ford will also make available an LPG "E-Gas" kit which is packaged with the older 4-speed automatic gearbox.
all models will be significantly faster off the line - especially the
XR6 Turbo - and most likely more fuel efficient too (Ford
hasn't released fuel consumption specifics yet), the new Falcon Ute
range also improves comfort and safety levels.
Featuring the new HMI or human machine interface
derived from the FG Falcon sedan, a more advanced instrument panel and
more intuitive steering wheel controls, the FG Falcon Ute is an
altogether easier-to-operate vehicle.
Safety has also been improved with what Ford
collectively terms the Intelligent Safety System, "a combination of
latest generation safety devices and
electronic management tools that combine state-of-the-art restraint
systems with intelligent monitoring of crash severity and occupant
With a sleek new look, the Falcon Utes also
feature dual stage driver front passenger
airbags as standard equipment across the range while head protecting
side airbags are also
available on every Falcon Ute model.
As Ford Australia's chief engineer of
virtual engineering Adam Frost said, the airbags are activated
by "highly technical door pressure sensors and dual
upfront sensors" that "provide earlier detection of potential crash
than ever before".
According to Frost, "No other Australian-built
incorporates advanced crash sensors such as those on the new Falcon.
Detection of crash situations is instantaneous, as the sensors
literally hear the event occurring through pressure waves –
panels have even started to deform.
"Importantly however, they
also provide enhanced discrimination between different types of events
to determine the level of response required. Appropriate safety
responses for each individual situation are then activated according to
incident severity, positioning of occupants and seat belt usage."
Ford's new Ute range gets ABS, EBD and traction
control on some models, but stability control has not been mooted.
Some of the options available on the new Ford Utes
include a satellite navigation system. Like the FG
Falcon sedan, it is an SD card-based navigation system that
All-new display and
"shut-down-delay" mode – the system does not need to
guidance after a short stop/key off scenario (e.g. refuelling at petrol
The ability to
display critical journey information in the home screen –
such as arrival time and distance to destination
New V14 Sensis map
perspective view map mode, for easy recognition and understanding
Bluetooth phone and iPod music player integration
are also available, and there's also an auxiliary jack for any other
MP3 and music device to play through the stereo.
Unlike it's main rival, the Falcon will be offered
in two body types.
The Holden VE Ute has only one body type,
while the Falcon Ute is offered in a styleside box similar to its rival
and a cab chassis configuration which can be set up with a completely
flat tray for cumbersome loadings. All models except the XR6 Turbo and
XR8 are offered in both body types.
Styleside Box -
R6, XR6, XR8, XR6 Turbo
The SSB ute has been redesigned and reshaped according to Ford, and
the gap between the rear of the cab and the front of
the box has been reduced, creating a more
It gets a new flush fit soft tonneau cover
that securely fastens to the aluminium top rails that join the
bedliner and exterior sheet metal according to Ford.
The soft tonneau cover can be peeled up
from any side and easily snaps back down into
the groove like a snap lock plastic bag according to the car maker,
vastly improving access to the load
bed and making it physically easier and quicker to open and close.
Furthermore, elasticised clips on the
inside of the cover can be
pulled down and hooked onto the aluminium side rails to allow the
tonneau to sit in a higher position than its normal fitment point,
thereby creating a higher load space.
Adjustable load tie down hooks "provide a more user friendly approach
securing odd shaped loads" says Ford, and can be added and removed.
Cab Chassis - Falcon Ute, R6, XR6
While the cab chassis configuration doesn't
look quite as integrated as the styleside box, it offers more loading
room thanks to the flat tray. Made from hard-wearing aluminium,
the tray doesn't mind being scuffed or knocked claims Ford.
Falcon Ute and R6 cab chassis models are fitted as
standard with one-tonne suspension systems for improved load limits.
Ford will also offer a range of value packs, including
the Technology Pack, Safety Enhancement Pack, XR Sports Pack
and XR Luxury Pack, the latter of which adds leather sports seats,
6-disc in-dash CD, 8-speakers,a premium audio system with 7-inch colour ICC screen, and 19-inch alloy wheels with large 245/35 R19 tyres.
Falcon Ute Dimensions:
Length: 5096mm (5382mm cab chassis)
Width: 1934mm (1908mm cab chassis)
Turning Circle: 11.5 metres
Luggage Space: 235 litres
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