Falcon XR6 Turbo plays catch-up
Falcon XR6 Turbo. Supplied picture

When the Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo was launched in 2002 as part of the BA Falcon overhaul, it was hard to find a car that provided more bang for your buck.

But 10 years later, though it has been upgraded a few times along the journey, you can't help but feel it is less relevant in a era where we are moving to smaller more fuel-efficient cars.

When shopping it against other cars in the $50,000 price range, the XR6 also lags behind in design and quality compared with European, Korean and Japanese competitors.

But it continues to excel in regards to performance - and many will say that is precisely why Ford added the XR6 Turbo to its Falcon line-up.

The forced-induction 4.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine is just as capable of putting a smile on your face today as it did when it was first released.

Unfortunately for those who enjoy a sporty driving experience, they may be a little surprised at just how quickly the needle on the fuel gauge falls away from F towards E.

For a large component of the test period I drove the XR6 as a day-to-day car - a role in which the 270kW turbocharged engine is very comfortable - and struggled to keep the fuel consumption figure below 14.0L/100km.

And that number climbs quite rapidly when you put your foot down and start to extract its performance capabilities. Fuel consumption aside, when you do plant your right foot and send the tacho towards the 2800rpm mark, a gush of boost has the big sedan surging forward as quickly as Usain Bolt leaving the blocks.

The XR6 Turbo continues to excel in performance. Supplied picture
The outstanding six-speed ZF automatic transmission reacts just as quickly, always picking the right gear for the situation. It is also "intelligent" enough to adjust its mapping to suit any style of driving.

After testing a series of vehicles fitted with electric power steering, the XR6 Turbo's non-electric steering felt a bit heavy but it was nice to get back into a vehicle where you felt so connected with the road. The suspension also does a great job of ensuring the big sedan remains well composed.

Around the city the ride is quiet and relaxed, which has always been a strength of the Falcon.

The seats are big and comfortable, and there is plenty of room in the cabin for five adult passengers. The rear seat also splits and folds, enabling access to the cavernous boot and providing for longer cargo when required.

But as I said earlier, the interior finish, with its hard plastics and odd rattle, could be described as adequate at best.

However, the XR6 Turbo does get a top-end infotainment system with Bluetooth and satellite navigation, reversing camera, sports seats (leather is $2100 extra), 18-inch alloy, cruise control and a trip computer.


Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo

Price: $48,235
Engine: 4.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive
Outputs: 270kW/533Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Thirst: 11.7L/100km, 91RON standard
Safety: Five stars

The West Australian

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