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Ford previews 2012 Falcon facelift

Nose job: The FG MkII Ford Falcon gets a subtly redesigned face.

Fresh face, more safety and Territory-style touch screen for new Ford Falcon

Ford logo15 Sep 2011

By RON HAMMERTON

FORD has gone public with images and details of its facelifted FG Falcon MkII, up to three months ahead of the locally-made large car’s showroom debut in the last quarter this year.

The announcement comes just a week after arch rival GM Holden disclosed revisions to its Commodore for the 2012 model year, including styling changes and minor fuel-consumption gains.

The redesign of the Ford Falcon will come none too soon for the big Ford, sales of which have slumped almost 40 per cent this year, to less than half that of the Commodore.

New Ford Falcon pricing has been held back until the cars go on sale, probably in December, but as expected, the Falcon gets a fresh look across the nose, with a new grille and bumper treatment that follows in the design footsteps of the new SZ Territory released in June.

A Territory-style eight-inch in-dash touch-control ‘command’ screen has been introduced on all models (optional on the base XT and Ute), as well as more noise deadening - also pioneered on the Territory - and reverse parking sensors on all sedans.

The fleet-friendly XT gains side curtain airbags, meaning they are now standard on all Falcon sedans, while the Falcon Ute gets side head and thorax airbags and electronic stability control – features that previously were optional. The Holden Ute already has these features standard.

27 center imageLeft: Falcon interior. Below: Falcon models (from top): XR6 Turbo, G6E, G6, XT, XR6 Ute.

And also as expected, Ford has confirmed that the most important addition to the new Falcon, the optional 2.0-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engine, will not arrive until the first quarter of 2012.

Surprisingly, Ford has stuck with hydraulic power steering rather than adopting the electric system introduced on the Territory. However, Ford has not ruled out a running change to make the switch to the fuel-saving electric system in future.

Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano said the improvements to Falcon would make a great car even better.

“FG Falcon MkII builds on the success of the FG Falcon program, as well as the recently released new Territory range, by offering customers more equipment and the latest technology innovations, while continuing to deliver outstanding performance, fuel efficiency, refinement and safety," he said.

Production of the new model will start in November, with the first six-cylinder cars expected in customer hands in mid-to-late December. Ford says the EcoBoost GTDi (gasoline turbo direct injection) turbo-four – Ford’s first four-pot Falcon – will arrive in early 2012.

No power, torque or performance figures were confirmed for the EcoBoost model, although speculation suggests the imported 2.0-litre direct-injection engine will arrive in 176kW form.

It will be available on XT, G6 and G6E sedans, but not on the Ute.

The Geelong-made 4.0-litre inline six continues unchanged in 195kW naturally-aspirated and 270kW turbo forms, as well as the newly released 198kW EcoLPI liquid-injected LPG guise.

The evolutionary body design changes include new projector headlamps on the upper models, G6E and above.

All levels get their own ‘look’, but they all include a wider, sportier ‘trapezoidal’ air opening – a Ford signature. A variety of treatments in and around this opening help to define each of the models.

All models get a narrower upper grille with the metal-rimmed ‘wing’ design, stretching either side of the Blue Oval badge, except on the sporty XR6 and Turbo, which have a painted version.

New alloy wheel designs have been employed on most models, along with new badges at the back.

Inside, all models get a new instrument cluster with new graphics and improved functionality. As well, all audio systems have been upgraded, and now include a USB port inside the console storage bin that also includes a new holder for the iPod connector and relocated auxiliary input socket.

Equipment wise, the base XT sedan gains a USB music port, side curtain airbags and reversing sensors, while the eight-inch touch screen Interior Command Centre is optional, along with the EcoLPI LPG and EcoBoost four-cylinder engine choices.

New for the mid-range G6 sedan gets the new touch-screen command centre as standard, along with the new-look 17-inch alloy wheels.

The G6E and its G6E Turbo stablemate get the new projector headlamps along with LED parking lamps. Like the G6, it gets the new eight-inch screen, but with the bonus of sat-nav with traffic messaging.

An alarm is also now standard on G6E and G6E Turbo.

Fresh alloy wheels and the new touch-screen system are the main gains for the XR6 and XR6 Turbo, apart from the more aggressive front styling.

The big news for entry-level Ute buyers are the safety gains that not only include the new airbags and ESC but also traction control and emergency brake assist.

The touch-screen is now an option on the base Ute and standard on the XR6 version, which also gets the limited-slip differential as standard and restyled alloy wheels.

XR6 buyers in both Ute and Sedan can tick the box for a Luxury Pack that includes leather trim, dual-zone climate control, sat-nav with Traffic Message Channel and 19-inch wheels. The sedan pack also includes an eight-speaker premium audio system and reversing camera.

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