Ford Falcon XT EcoBoost 2012 Review

Ford Falcon XT EcoBoost 2012 Review

To some people, saying Falcon and four-cylinder turbo in the same sentence would make their lip curl. Until now you could only have your Ford with six or eight cylinders (well, only eight in an FPV), not four plus a hair dryer.

After all, the Falcon is a big car; it’s a car that’s had a six or eight for a reason. To top it off, they’ve given it a green-sounding name – EcoBoost – that, for sure, means it’s going to accelerate like a kitten pulling a

boulder.

The naysayers are wrong. You still get 179kW and 353Nm of torque and that’s not far off the six-cylinder Falcons in 2002 (the base model BA was around 182kW and 380Nm). No one complained about that performance back then, and more efficiencies have been made, most notably that 10 years ago you’d only get 11.5l/100km whereas you can theoretically expect 8.1l/100km with the Ecoboost, and it’ll still get you to a hundred in well under 8 seconds.

Those figures are more than adequate for towing. With a braked trailer it’ll pull 1600kg, and the maximum torque is available from a low 2000rpm to make it easier to get moving. Coupled to the 6-speed auto, it’s a breeze to drive and there’s no noticeable turbo lag.

When you have an engine that’s essentially half the size of the other options (that being a 4-litre inline 6) you have to make changes to the car to compensate for the weight difference – suspension, steering geometry and more. What it’s resulted in is a car that feels a little livelier and turns in more precisely than its well-endowed brethren.

Inside is what you’d expect from a base level Falcon: it’s a grey affair with patterned seat inserts to try to liven it up a little. Everything falls well to hand. There’s a screen in the dash that displays the main functions of the audio system, air con and vehicle settings, plus a small screen in the instrument cluster for specific trip computer duties.

There is Bluetooth phone integration and you can plug your iPod or other USB music device in.

Reversing sensors are included with a basic graphic interface package indicating where rear obstacles are. You need to go up a couple of models to the G6E to get a reversing camera.

The Falcon gets a 5-star ANCAP rating and there are driver and front passenger, side curtain and front seat side thorax airbags.

Rear legroom is good and rear passengers get their own air con vents, and boot space is sizeable, too.

This new Falcon plays it safe. Yes, you’ve got enough power – more than many cars – but it’s not out to make any waves other than lowering barriers to entry in the large car market. It’s not going to offend anyone with its plain corporate look. The 16-inch wheels of this base model provide a compliant ride, but it’d look much better on 18s. The interior is functional and comfortable, but not exciting.

Therefore it’s a success. At this price, and aimed at a fleet buyer who is fuel price-conscious, the Falcon is likely to be popular. Aside from a slightly wooden brake pedal feel, there’s nothing wrong with it. If you want more fruit, there are a number of options up the ladder right up to the G6E Turbo.

But this could be a missed opportunity. Why can’t we have the EcoBoost engine in a car that’s got a better interior, and bigger wheels, and more bling? It doesn’t give me the option to have the nice stuff that the G6E has, but maintain the 4-cylinder engine. The interior is alright for a budget, base model, but it’s not going to cut the mustard for everyone.

The question for Ford is whether this can reignite enthusiasm for large cars, which has been waning. I have a feeling that the majority of people won’t understand or appreciate what Ford has achieved with the XT EcoBoost Falcon, and that’s a shame because it’s a very good car.

Price: from $48,490

Pros

  • Grunty enough but with better fuel economy
  • Feels slightly more agile than the heavier V6 versions
  • It could bolster Ford’s fortunes in Australasia

Cons

  • Wooden brake pedal feel
  • You have to move up to a 6-cylinder to get the nicer interior

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

« | »

Let us know what you think

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Road Tests

Silver Sponsors

Car and SUV Team

Richard-Edwards-2016Richard Edwards

Managing editor

linkedinphotoDarren Cottingham

Motoring writer

robertbarry-headRobert Barry

Chief reporter

Ian-Ferguson-6Ian Ferguson

Advertising Consultant

debDeborah Baxter

Operations Manager

RSS Latest News from Autotalk

RSS Latest News from Dieseltalk

Read previous post:
BMW-320d-fq
BMW 320d 2012 Review

The entry level model to BMW’s 3 series is surprising, mainly because if you’ve driven older base model 3s like...

Close