Ford Falcon EcoBoost First Drive Review
The Falcon might well be on its way out, but the four-cylinder engine in the Ford Falcon EcoBoost G6E is easily the Falcon’s best engine ever. And it’s not just in fuel saving where it scores – the EcoBoost Falcon offers an improved drive, too, says Isaac Bober.
After all those years of power wars with cross-town rival Holden, who would have thought that what the Falcon needed to make it better was a smaller engine. Enter the Ford Falcon EcoBoost G6E.
That’s right, the luxurious-looking range-topping Falcon G6E you’re gawping at right now is powered by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that runs in the Ford Mondeo. Part of the EcoBoost family, the Falcon is the first rear-drive application of this engine found everywhere in the Ford universe.
And that meant plenty of local testing (thousands of kilometres covered in the outback during summer and the Snowies during winter), which resulted in tweaks, not just to the engine, but also to the Falcon itself. For instance, the EcoBoost (available in XT, G6 and G6E trim) sits slightly lower, has retuned spring and damper rates, runs a different power steering pump and features improved noise and vibration levels. Oh, and the EcoBoost Falcon range also gets a special low, rolling resistance tyre, too.
The Falcon EcoBoost G6E is priced from $46,735 (+ORC) and gets plenty of standard features, including a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating, leather interior, sat-nav with traffic management, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, an eight-inch touch screen entertainment system with human/machine interface. It also gets dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors and a driver fatigue warning system.
Under the bonnet, the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder produces 179kW at 5500rpm and 353Nm of torque at 2000rpm. The engine is mated to Ford’s smooth six-speed ZF automatic transmission, and unlike some other turbocharged cars there’s almost no lag in the EcoBoost Falcon. Indeed, more than 80 per cent of torque is available before peak torque at 2000rpm, which makes acceleration a refined and effortless affair. Official fuel consumption is quoted at a reasonable 8.5L/100km.
Climb in behind the wheel and while there’s plenty of adjustment for the seat and the steering, taller drivers will never feel totally at ease. See, the steering wheel feels too low set and the seat, even in its lowest position, feels too high. The dash design, on the whole, is both pleasing to the eye and a cinch to use on the fly, but the quality of the finish is a little disappointing. For instance, the join of the two halves of the indicator wand could clearly be seen and felt.
There’s plenty of room in the back seat for three adults (back seat passengers get almost as much legroom as those in the front – 989 vs 1073mm, respectively) and the squidgy, soft front and rear seats make for a comfortable long distance tourer. The boot offers 535 litres of space, while a 17-inch temporary spare lies beneath the boot floor (18-inch alloys are standard).
The steering offers decent weight and feel, and feels more direct with better on-centre precision than the steering in a standard Falcon. And that’s probably down to the lighter weight engine. The ride and handling is impressive, with this Falcon feeling noticeably lighter on its feet than its non-EcoBoost siblings, which is no doubt thanks too to the lighter-weight engine.
PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS
While sales of large cars are on the decline, the EcoBoost Falcon shows Ford might be able to take on competitors like Honda’s Accord Euro and the Subaru Liberty. The Ford offers the room of a large car, with the fuel consumption of a medium-sized four-cylinder… we think that’s called having your cake and eating it too.