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2015 Falcon FGX Range Review: Falcon LPi, G6E Ecoboost And G6E Turbo Photo:
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Tim O'Brien | Nov, 28 2014 | 31 Comments

What’s hot: Brilliant SYNC 2 system; improved fuel consumption, large-car space and comfort.
What’s not: Interior feels like yesterday, and big sedans are yesterday.
X-FACTOR: It’s big, but it shrinks around you: the new FG X Falcon is the best Falcon ever, and sharply priced.

Falcon EcoLPi
Price: $35,900
Engine/trans: 4.0L EcoLPi DOHC DI-VCT I6 | 6spd sports auto
Fuel consumption listed: 11.7 l/100km | tested: 12.4 l/100km

Falcon G6E Ecoboost
Price: $40,110
Engine/trans: 176kW/340Nm 2.0L EcoBoost Turbo | 6spd sports auto
Fuel consumption listed: 8.0 l/100km | tested: 10.1 l/100km

Falcon G6E Turbo
Price: $46,550
Engine/trans: 270kW/533Nm 4.0L DOHC DI-VCT i6 Turbo | 6spd sports auto
Fuel consumption listed: 11.7 l/100km | tested: 14.4 l/100km

 

OVERVIEW

It should be perfectly simple: build a good car, price it right, and it will sell by the shit-tonne.

But that’s not the story of the Falcon in its latter years. Well-engineered, comfortable, robust and quiet, it was also priced right, but the big Ford’s sales decline sees it a bit-player in the current Australian market.

But now there’s a new range, the FG X, the “X” signifying “final”, and it is an improved car: improved fuel consumption, more features, more refined and quieter on road.

And it has had a price haircut.

So; this last Falcon… should you have a look at it? And will this one sell? That’s the inevitable question.

 

FG X RANGE: FEATURES AND IMPROVEMENTS

Standard feature list:

  • Ford SYNC 2 system with advanced voice control
  • Automatic emergency assistance (‘000’ dial)
  • 8-inch touch screen with climate control and music play-list functions
  • Front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera
  • Cruise control
  • Rain-sensing wipers and auto headlamps
  • Bluetooth integration, Wifi hotspot and DAB+ digital radio
  • SD card slot, iPod integration, USB ports with smart charging
  • LED daytime running lights
  • 4-way power-adjusted driver’s seat
  • (Sat nav standard in XR6 Turbo and above models)

The heavily revised 2015 Falcon range is compacted; the XT has gone, the entry to the range is now simply ‘Falcon’.

But it gets the feature list - plus a little more - from the former second rung model, the G6, which has also now gone.

And that’s the story of this updated range. Each 'new' model picks up the features from the model formerly above it.

So, perhaps some may be wondering if the 2015 car is a bit of a ‘patch-together’, a bunch of stuff from the parts bin tarted up in new clothes - something to carry Ford over the line for the next year or so.

Some of that may be right: there is a familiar feel inside, a familiar feel at the wheel, and some familiar components carried across from the older FG range.

The interior styling and trim, certainly, is a generation removed.

But not Ford’s high-tech SYNC 2 system. It now comes standard across the range: smart, easy to use, it is one of the best voice-control multi-feature systems anywhere.

And each in the range also get front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera, rain sensing wipers, WiFi hot-spot, DAB+ digital radio and emergency assistance.

Each also gets fuel consumption improvements and slightly improved responsiveness at the wheel.

Low rolling resistance (LRR) tyres are now standard, as is the addition of six aero-shields (front, side and rear) below the car, improving wind-flow and reducing drag 0.312cd to 0.291cd

There have also been changes to the front geometry to suit the LRR tyres.

There is a new, 10kg lighter six-speed 6HP26 ZF transmission, LPi torque converter (for liquid gas injected models), lower torque converter lock-up and revised suspension tune.

Dynamically, the FG X is incrementally better than the FG: it’s at the margins, a nip and tuck here and there, that delivers the improvements to the whole.

And this car, across the range, drives very, very well.

We drove each of the new Falcons at launch in the foothills to the Victorian high country, ending up at Winton Raceway for a ‘boys own’ sideways blat in the XR8 (separate review).

Here’s the rundown.

 

Falcon EcoLPi

Price: $35,900
Engine/trans: 4.0L EcoLPi DOHC DI-VCT I6 | 6spd sports auto
Fuel consumption listed: 11.7 l/100km | tested: 12.4 l/100km

In ‘flattening’ the FG X range, Ford has also flattened the pricing.

You can choose the 4.0 litre EcoLPi, 2.0 litre Ecoboost, or the 4.0 litre petrol DOHC i6 with no price impediment between them - each is priced the same.

There is no manual option, just the new six-speed auto with ‘sport shift’.

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To our thinking, the EcoLPi is the pick of the drivetrains. It pulls like the 4.0 litre petrol, sounds the same and feels the same, but it runs on gas.

That means you can virtually halve your fuel bills.

And don’t be fooled into thinking that petrol is going to stay where it currently sits. The Saudis are manipulating the global barrel price to inflict pain on (mostly) US producers. The party will stop and oil will rebound when it does.

The ‘liquid injection’ system in the Falcon is superior to Holden’s gas injection system, and is absolutely transparent under the bonnet of the Falcon.

It’s a while - more than a year - since we’ve driven a ‘boggo’ Falcon. We were surprised with the level of refinement, its settled nature on road and the all-round ‘ease of driveability’ of this car.

It is easy to see out of, shrinks at the wheel, and is effortlessly swift.

The base-model interior doesn’t excite the senses, the trims and surfaces are ok, but the textures are starting to age.

But the feature list, at $35,900, is very comprehensive.

It comes loaded, and the SYNC 2 system, as we’ve already rabbited on about, is brilliant. The only omission (and a box you’d tick) is sat-nav. Everything else is there including DAB+ radio, reverse camera, WiFi... the lot.

The LRR tyres, improved air-flow, and recalibrated transmission and engine management systems, produces a fuel consumption improvement from 12.3 l/100km in the FG model, to 11.7 l/100km.

We did 12.4 l/100km on a hard-working vigorous run. On gas, that is going to save you a lot of money.

 

Falcon G6E Ecoboost

Price: $40,110
Engine/trans: 176kW/340Nm 2.0L EcoBoost Turbo | 6spd sports auto
Fuel consumption listed: 8.0 l/100km | tested: 10.1 l/100km

Additional features above the Falcon for the G6E include 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seat inserts and matching door trims, satellite navigation with traffic message channel, premium audio, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, 8-way power driver’s seat, daytime running lights, front fog lamps and front scuff plates.

Slide behind the wheel of the G6E and it feels the more-refined premium accommodation. The leather seats are soft and cosseting and there are more visual highlights.

The G6E can be specified with the six-cylinder i6, or the 2.0 litre Ecoboost: the price is the same for either.

We were reacquainted with the Ecoboost for this drive.

As we’ve found before, this EcoBoost engine is a pearler. Thanks to its robust torque (340Nm) and eagerness to spin, the turbo-driven 2.0 litre feels, on road, much like the bigger i6.

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Certainly, it won’t tow a trailer as well, but it is nicely matched to the six-speed auto, and, even in the hills, is ‘settled’ like a larger six (it doesn’t hunt and fart about looking the right gear).

If anything, the lighter nose and improved rear/aft weight balance the smaller four affords, produces a more sophisticated and balanced feel at the wheel.

It is certainly a sharp steer, and feels barely or not at all like a large sedan when pointing it through a set of bends.

The new Falcon G6E Ecoboost is a surprisingly good drive, and one we would very much recommend that you would consider. (And, after all, most of our big European sedans here also rely on just 2.0 litres to do the lifting.)

 

Falcon G6E Turbo

Price: $46,550
Engine/trans: 270kW/533Nm 4.0L DOHC DI-VCT i6 Turbo | 6spd sports auto
Fuel consumption listed: 11.7 l/100km | tested: 14.4 l/100km

Above the G6E model, the G6E Turbo gets (natch) a hefty power and torque boost thanks to the addition of the turbo to that venerable 4.0 litre DOHC i6 engine.

In Turbo guise it also picks up 19-inch alloy wheels and alloy pedal covers. Otherwise, it’s much the same as the G6E (and the new model is nearly $10k less than the FG model it replaces).

But it’s the engine that transforms this car. The i6 has proven incredibly robust - at both bottom end and top - and is more than capable of handling the forces the turbo pushes through it.

The transmission too, the same ZF as in the XR8, is equally up to the task. A big car, but an equally robust drivetrain.

And it’s a sled. Slam this one to the firewall, and the G6E Turbo absolutely hauls.

And, according to Ford Vice-President Asia Pacific Product Development, Tallangatta boy Trevor Worthington, there is a lot more urge that can be safely released from this motor without compromising longevity.

Rolling acceleration, when overtaking or pulling out of a turn, is instant and electric. This big Falcon is a very fast car - it will nail 100km/h in around 5.0 seconds - and is the pick of some over the XR8.

Though the engine sits a little further forward, the weight in the nose is not so apparent when carrying through the apex. (On track, it would be an interesting tussle between these two very rapid point-to-point tourers.)

The steering calibration too of the G6E Turbo is just right. It is alert away from the dead ahead, but not nervous, and, though rolling on 19-inch alloys, is free of jarring.

We noticed a little rack ‘jiggle’ on a couple of corrugated corners, but the feel and feedback over secondary tarmac is very good.

At around $50k on road, there is lot of a performance and a lot of cosseting luxury on offer in the G6E Turbo.

Lastly, the Turbo was getting a reasonable workout in the hands of the press, but was showing 14.4 l/100km (the same as the XR8) at the end of our stint.

 

SAFETY

ANCAP: The new Falcon range has achieved an ANCAP 5-Star rating.

Safety features: Among a long list of safety features are side curtain airbags, driver and front passenger airbags, front seat side thorax airbags, dynamic stability control, emergency brake assist, traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution, anti-lock braking (ABS), emergency assistance, driver fatigue warning, crash severity sensor, advanced restraint module and pyrotechnic pretensioners.

 

VERDICT | OVERALL

The 2015 Falcon FG X range is the last hurrah from a Ford Australia we have known for so long, and its arrival also signals the arrival of a new Ford Australia.

An importer, not a manufacturer, one with a global range, and, when the Falcon and Territory run comes to an end, a range that will be without a large rear-wheel-drive sedan and wagon.

But if this is to be the last, it’s a fitting end. The Falcon, always a better car than the market gave it credit, is improved most places it matters with the new FG X range.

Refinement, feel, consumption and price... all have been improved. Add in the SYNC 2 system, and there is a lot of car here for not too much coin.

It has impressed us. Perhaps it’s time you also had another look.

MORE: 2015 Ford Falcon XR8 - Price And Features
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2015 Ford Falcon Ute - Price And Features
MORE: 2015 Ford Falcon Sedan - Price And Features
MORE News & Reviews: Ford | Falcon | Performance

 

Pricing (excludes on-road costs)

2015 Ford FG X Falcon Sedan

  • Falcon 4.0L Petrol, 4.0L EcoLPi or 2.0L EcoBoost (auto) - $35,900
  • Falcon XR6 4.0L Petrol (manual) - $35,590
  • Falcon XR6 4.0L Petrol (auto) - $37,790
  • Falcon XR6 Turbo 4.0L Petrol (manual) - $42,990
  • Falcon XR6 Turbo 4.0L Petrol (auto) - $45,190
  • Falcon G6E 4.0L Petrol or 2.0L EcoBoost (auto) - $40,110
  • Falcon G6E Turbo 4.0L Petrol (auto) - $46,550
  • Falcon XR8 5.0L Petrol (manual) - $52,490
  • Falcon XR8 5.0L Petrol (auto) - $54,690

Note: EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is a no-cost option on Falcon and Falcon G6E

Options - Falcon XR8

  • Prestige Paint - $385
  • Matching Alloy Spare - standard
  • Leather Seat Trim - standard
  • Tow Pack (1600kg rated) - $550
 
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