Car reviews - Ford - Falcon - XT sedan
19 Dec 2002
A TOTALLY redesigned dashboard is the highlight of a comprehensive cabin facelift for Falcon. Like the VY Commodore, BA Falcon takes on a decidedly European interior look, but in this case the crisp, clean new appearance is backed up a consistently high standard of tactile and well laid-out controls.
Dominated by the new Interior Command Centre, the revised cabin layout is also a big step forward ergonomically. Using three-dimensional modelling software called RAMSIS to determine the positioning of controls, Ford interior designers moved the gear lever and dash fascia back toward the driver by 30mm and 40mm respectively, relegating the long gearshift reach to the past.
By moving the new front seats inboard by 12mm to accommodate the optional side airbags, there is now more room to reach the side-mounted seat adjuster and, more importantly, the Falcon driver now sits in line with the steering wheel and has a better view around the still-intrusive A-pillars.
The dash itself resembles that of a more expensive vehicle, featuring a sharply hooded binnacle, stylish new instrument panel and an array of well presented controls.
Wrapped in Thermoplastic Elastomer Polyolefin, a soft, textured, animal skin-like material that also graces the upper part of the doors to produce a two-tone effect, the new dash is complimented by satin chrome highlights on the door handles, gear lever, door lock button and the four control knobs on the entry level ICC.
Said to contain a deposit of real metal and not just paint, the satin chrome finish feels classy and cool to touch, while instruments and most buttons are backlit using LEDs instead of bulbs - green on XT and Futura, white on Fairmont and Ghia, and blue for XRs.
Velour inserts to match the seat trim and light coloured, woven headlining material to match the lower dash and door trims contribute to a brighter and classier cabin ambience, let down only by some minor fit and finish issues, especially where the carryover doors and new dash meet.
The lack of a redline on the new tacho is an oversight, but otherwise the new gauges are well executed. Featuring a large 7000rpm tacho on the left and 220km/h speedo on the right, with fuel and temperature gauges stacked in between, the new instrument layout is smart, simple and effective.
Did you know?Ford's engine lab completed 24,000 hours of endurance testing - the equivalent of five million kilometres at 200km/h or 125 times around the equator
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