There are now more reasons to give the local FG Falcon a serious eyeball if you're in the market for a stylish and, in our opinion, superbly engineered larger car.
Ford Australia has announced improvements to the Falcon's fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and, joining its petrol-engined siblings, five-star ANCAP safety rating for the Falcon E-Gas range.
According to Ford, Falcon XT sedans with the optional ZF six-speed automatic transmission produced from April 2009, will have a fuel consumption rating of just 9.9 l/100km. This puts it near the head of the rankings for fuel efficiency in the large car segment.
A reduction in CO2 tailpipe emissions ? down to 236 g/km ? gives the Falcon XT a 5.5 star Greenhouse Rating (for vehicles producing less than 241 g/km of CO2 emissions). For those who may be wondering, these improvements have not come at the expense of on-road power and performance which remains unchanged at a reasonably hefty 195kW and 391Nm.
"The Falcon XT with a six-speed auto now equals the fuel efficiency of the top selling medium-size four cylinder auto model currently sold in Australia," Ford Australia President and CEO Marin Burela said.
"Customers can now choose a true family size vehicle that delivers fuel efficiency equal with a four cylinder model, while also providing all the traditional benefits of a large car package, such as performance, refinement, interior space, passenger comfort, five-star safety, luggage capacity and towing capability," he said.
The G6 range has also come in for fuel-efficiency improvements, now achieving 10.1 l/100km (an improvement on the 10.2 previously achieved) with CO2 emissions of just 239 g/km post April 2009 production and also achieving a 5.5 star Greenhouse Rating .
The improved fuel efficiency on I6 petrol Falcon sedans results from a new catalytic converter, new engine calibration for improved cold-start performance and changes to the transmission mapping.
The most dramatic improvements however, concern the E-Gas range. From May 2009 production, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) will be standard on all E-Gas-powered FG Falcon sedans and BF wagons, and an option on the XL and R6 Utes (while standard on the XR6).
Those who are up-to-date on the issue will be aware that stability control has been an issue in E-Gas powered cars (and in LPG conversions across most brands and models). Ford engineers have broken through with a special stability control calibration for E-Gas vehicles, combining brake intervention, throttle control and spark retard to improve active safety levels.
Later this year, the Falcon XR6 will also be available with E-Gas.
"The dedicated LPG E-Gas engine will be available as an option on the Falcon XR6 sedan, which will give customers greater choice by combining the lower fuel costs of LPG-powered vehicles with the distinctive visual appeal of the Falcon XR brand," Mr Burela said.
For any of you behind the mail on this, running a Falcon on E-Gas gives you the running costs of a small four-cylinder, even allowing for the fall-off in consumption, and a cleaner-running engine.
The 2009 SY Territory MkII has also come in for fuel-consumption improvements, achieving an almost five percent improvement on five-seater RWD models, down from 12.2 l/100km to 11.6 l/100km and a 1.6 percent improvement in seven seater models, down from 12.2 l/100km to 12.0 l/100km.
The 2009 Territory TX comes also comes standard with side-curtain airbags, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels and a full-body colour package for the bumpers, door handles and mirrors, while the TS comes with the full-body colour package, along with reverse-parking camera, fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel, handbrake and gearshift, and a third-row seat as standard.
Ghia models also get the third-row seat, an Alpine rear DVD system, side steps, rear privacy glass and 18-inch alloy wheels.
So check 'em out. The FG and Territory are both darn good cars, full stop. Now they're even better.