Car reviews - Ford - Falcon - GLi sedan
Comfort, space, versatility, ease of maintainance
Room for improvement
Thirsty engines, skittish dirt road steering, loud drivetrain when pushed
7 May 2003
THE EF Falcon, released in August, 1994, was the product of the most comprehensive interior and exterior upgrade since the release in 1988 of the EA Falcon on which it is based.
The result was a much improved car in a number of important areas.
Safety was addressed by making a driver side airbag standard across the range, fitting improved seatbelts including a lap/sash belt in the centre rear position and strengthening the cabin structure for better occupant protection.
The Falcon came in four equipment levels - GLi, Futura and the luxury level Fairmont and Ghia.
The GLi is well equipped for a base level model. It was priced to attract fleet buyers which it did very successfully as it was one of the best value for money big cars on the market.
Power steering, remote central locking and electric mirrors were standard equipment. Ford's Smartlock immobilisation system and an AM/FM radio cassette with four speakers were also included in the GLi package.
The 4.0-litre, overhead camshaft, inline six carried over in the EF with improvements to increase mid-range torque and power while reducing fuel consumption and noise. The power output is 157kW at 4900rpm with 357Nm of torque at 3000rpm.
The standard transmission is a five-speed manual but most buyers went for the optional four-speed automatic.
Ford opted for a relatively softly sprung suspension to put ride comfort, which is very good, ahead of outright handling and cornering performance.
Late 1995 saw the Series 2 EF Falcon released which introduced changes to the power steering and front suspension to improve steering feel and handling. A front passenger side airbag also became available as an option.
One of the Falcon's strong points is the interior which is not only spacious but looks good and has comfortable, supportive seats. All the driver, heater and radio controls are logically arranged and easy to use.
The Falcon's boot is long and wide with a low loading height but the spare wheel is stored under the floor so it is not very deep.
Maintenance costs, which include service, tyres and replacement of fast wearing parts such as brake pads, are among the lowest of any car which explains the Falcon's popularity with fleet and taxi operators.
An LP gas system is worth up to $1500 extra if the conversion has been properly engineered and installed by a company such as Tickford.
The GLi Falcon's combination of big interior space and convenience and safety equipment make it one of the best value for money buys as family transport.
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