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Future models - Ford - Falcon Ute

First look: A Falcon ute with altitude

Look, up in the sky: It's a bird, it's a plane. No, it's a Falcon Hi-Ride.

Ford goes for the high-life with an elevated Falcon utility

Ford logo7 Mar 2003

By BRUCE NEWTON

WHILE Holden is launching the reborn One-Tonner and panel van at the Melbourne motor show this week, Ford has literally upped the local utility stakes with the Hi-Ride.

Due on sale late this year, the Hi-Ride one-tonner is not only a Falcon ute with Attitude, but altitude as well.

Despite the ride height being 80mm higher than standard, it is not four-wheel drive.

But it is designed to venture further off-road than its standard brethren, with a locking rear differential switchable on the fly from the cabin.

The Hi-Ride ute will also have an increased wheel track of 50mm, underbody protection shields, ABS, power windows, power driver's seat, CD player and driver's airbag.

There's also the choice of three engines including the 220kW 5.4-litre V8 and a range of transmission options including a four-speed floor shift automatic, four-speed column shift automatic and a five-speed manual.

Pricing is tipped to start around $30,000.

"Value for money is a vital component for tradesmen and we expect pricing to start from approximately $30,000 for the cab chassis," said Ford 4WD and Commercial Vehicle Marketing Manager Kevin Lillie.

"The new Falcon Hi-Ride ute is set to become a unique vehicle that truly is just at home on the blacktop as it is beyond the Black Stump, with the added surety of increased ground clearancee," Mr Lillie said.

"Prototype versions have already undergone hundreds of hours of tortuous testing in some tough conditions and come through with flying colours." But Mr Lillie said the Hi-Ride was designed to complement Ford's imported all-wheel drive commercial vehicle range rather than replace it.

"If you want to explore the Canning Stock Route or traverse the Gunbarrel Highway, then an F-Series or Courier is still the vehicle of choice," he said.

"For the tradesman who wants something that is a durable workhorse during the week and a more than capable leisure vehicle he can take just about anywhere on the weekend, the Hi-Ride Falcon ute is a fantastic option.

"Our objectives with the Hi-Ride utility were a workhorse that offered outstanding comfort, ride and performance with some off-road ability - and this ute certainly delivers on all those attributes." * Ford is offering you the chance to give the Hi-Ride a new name. Enter at ford.com.au for the chance to win a tonne of tools.

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