Car reviews - Ford - Fairlane - Ghia sedan
Space, V8 power and refinement, tough, durable, easy to work on, plenty of parts
Room for improvement
Unrefined and thirsty 4.0 EFI, still too much noise from engine/road/suspension, feels l-a-r-g-e to drive
25 Jul 2003
THE N-series Fairlane was launched in mid-1988 with much fanfare from Ford.
The Fairlane used the same floor pan as the Falcon with the wheelbase stretched 127mm. It made the Fairlane the biggest sedan manufactured by Ford anywhere in the world.
The longer wheelbase added a lot more leg room to the rear passenger area and five adults can be comfortably accommodated with room to spare.
The Fairlane dominated its market sector which was not surprising because it did not have a real competitor until the Holden Statesman arrived in 1990.
The design concept was great but the execution left the Fairlane with lots of niggling minor and not so minor quality and durability problems.
This rapidly improved with time and by the introduction of the Series II NA model, with a four-speed automatic transmission at last, it was and still is a great value for money car.
Late 1991 marked the release of the NC Fairlane which brought the V8 engine back into the range.
Ford did not rest on its laurels and the Series II NC Fairlane, introduced in May, 1992, was another big leap forward in equipment level, refinement and quality.
The Series II NC Fairlane was not just a minor upgrade. It introduced a revised six-cylinder engine, higher quality trim and equipment and, six months later, Ford's Smartlock anti-theft and immobilisation system.
There are two equipment levels with the Ghia at the upper level.
The Ghia driver gets an excellent level of luxury equipment with electronic climate control, electric windows and mirrors, cruise control and a topline Alpine sound system.
There was also a long list of options for the Fairlane including a six-stack CD player, electric sunroof, Tickford sports suspension and sports wheels and tyres.
The Ghia had body-coloured bumpers from March, 1994, until it was superseded by the next model at the end of the same year.
The inline six was revised and the capacity increased to 4.0-litres with a corresponding power increase to 148kW with plenty of torque to match.
The big plus for the 4.0-litre engine is it is much smoother and quieter while using slightly less fuel than its predecessor.
The Fairlane is designed to carry people in comfort so the suspension is set up for a soft, plush ride. It does this job admirably but it is a big, heavy car so its forte is not high-speed cornering.
The Fairlane Ghia is a lot of metal, interior space and luxury equipment for the money. With the 4.0-litre version it is not much more expensive to run than a Falcon.
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