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Car reviews - Ford - Falcon - Futura sedan

The Car

31 Oct 2002

UNIVERSALLY accepted as a better looking, if more conservative vehicle than the edgy and unpopular AU Falcon, the BA arrives with the same doors and roofline but with virtually all other exterior components dramatically changed.

Riding on a 37mm longer wheelbase and growing 10mm in overall length, Falcon is now 25mm longer than Commodore, as well as 22mm wider and 6mm lower. A much wider rear wheel track also fills out the rear wheel arches better than before and gives the appearance that Falcon sits on the road more comfortably.

But biggest change is the new front and rear sheetmetal. Gone are the droopy hind quarters, replaced with a higher, broader and more square bootline with subtle trailing edge lip.

The front-end is now also more muscular, if a little conservative, with new twin projector beam headlights residing, Commodore-style, behind clear lenses either side of a large new crosshatched black grille with prominent Blue Oval badge.

Much attention was paid to uncluttering the new Falcon's lines, with the front quarter aerial replaced by a rear screen mounted antenna and both the windscreen wipers and washers tucked beneath the bonnet's trailing edge.

Sporty moulded side skirts are standard even on the entry level XT, which Ford admits was the target of much attention to lift its visual impact, but Futura further improves on the basic XT look.

Futura models replace the XT's 16-inch steel wheels and seven-spoke plastic wheel covers (Commodore still wears 15-inch items) with 16-inch alloy wheels, going one better than its direct rival, the Acclaim, which still wears 15-inch alloys.

The slightly more upmarket Futura also replaces the XT's black exterior mirrors and rub strips with colour coded versions, but for other Futura additions one must look inside.

Cleaner, classier and more masculine, BA Falcon is a more mainstream design that shouldn't polarise opinion like AU did. It might look more like an EL than the AU - and Commodore and Falcon are back to looking similar again - but this is a Falcon that's sure to have much wider spread appeal.

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Did you know?

Fifty four focus groups were conducted for BA Falcon, attended by more than 500 people. In addition, more than 700 people were interviewed in other BA Falcon research studies

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