Make / Model Search

New models - Ford - Falcon

New Falcon: Final secrets revealed ... finally!

Tougher stuff: The BA Falcon's stiffer body has pay-off's for safety, quietness and road behaviour.

Safety, stopping power, steering and quietness take the final BA technical spotlight

25 Sep 2002

FORD finished its roll-out of BA Falcon technical information last week by detailing safety, NVH, braking and steering changes.

As predicted by GoAuto (see "New Falcon: Price rise rethink" in "New Models"), the highlights included an 88 per cent increase in body rigidity and a new brake package developed with local supplier PBR.

THE BA Falcon has a host of passive and active safety upgrades which are wrapped up into a package called an Intelligent Safety System (ISS), designed to deliver appropriate safety responses to a range of crash situations.

Elements of ISS include dual stage front airbags and new chest and head protecting side airbags, which are standard on Fairmont and Fairmont Ghia and optional across the rest of the range.

The ISS features an integrated network of early-warning crash severity sensors, monitors and electronic triggers all linked to "talk" to each other in the event of a crash.

The ISS is backed up by extensive revisions to the Falcon's body structure. Claimed improvements include footwell intrusion reduced by 45 per cent, A-pillar movement reduced 40 per cent, instrument panel movement reduced 30 per cent, brake pedal intrusion reduced 55 per cent and steering column intrusion reduced 53 per cent.

But one usually standard item that has been sacrificed for BA Falcon is a driver's left footrest, which was omitted for both safety reasons and, specifically in relation to manual gearbox models, packaging.

"We've traditionally had small, narrow footrests in our cars and you can position them where you like as long as they are so narrow that they don't impinge on the gap you need between the edge of your foot and the clutch pedal," said Ford product development vice-president Trevor Worthington.

"We have done a lot more off-set crashes (for BA) than we have ever done before and when you do that you start to see the variability that can happen crash-to-crash.

"One crash you might be all right for a certain dummy kinematic and for another you won't be ... so we found it's very possible for the foot to slip off the footrest and then you get the top of the foot possibly moving into the dash and the heel moving forward underneath it." Mr Worthington said omitting the footrest was the best solution, short of starting with a clean sheet of paper.

Ford Australia made no claims in relation to possible NCAP independent crash test performance. The AUII was the highest rated local large car with three stars and only just missing out on a four-star rating out of a possible five.

Noise, vibration and harshness
FORD says the BA is the quietest Falcon ever thanks to an intensive noise, vibration and harshness reduction program across the entire vehicle.

Key achievements include an increase in body shell stiffness of 88 per cent, as well as reductions in wind, road and suspension noise.

Engineering efforts included tuning engine notes for driver enjoyment, stiffer door seals which hug more tightly, door mirrors redesigned to direct wind noise away from occupants and new generation insulating foam between the body and carpets.

Important technical changes which contributed to the noise reduction included the new Control Blade rear suspension, a two-piece propeller shaft and low rolling resistance tyres.

Inside, the seats and new steering column have been designed to better resist shake induced by rough roads and a stiffer instrument panel structure cuts squeak and rattle opportunities between the dash and body, and the instruments and accessories inserted into the dash structure.

FORD has uprated Falcon brakes significantly, moving from 287x28mm rotors up front to 298x28mm and 303mmx16mm at the rear (287x16mm previously).

Front rotors are ventilated and rear discs solid.

They are mated to 40 per cent stiffer twin pot-callipers, bigger brakes pads with longer life, stiffer brake hoses and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), which replaces a fixed front-to-rear proportioning valve in the master cylinder.

Ford is claiming less fade, improved pedal feel and shorter stopping distances.

There is also an optional premium braking package available for the XR sports models with 325x32mm ventilated and grooved front rotors and 303mmx16mm grooved rear discs. The option costs $2950.

The traction control system fitted to some BA models has also been recalibrated to provide a more refined level of operation.

Steering, front suspension
THERE is now a new steering wheel, steering column, steering ratio and revised steering gear.

The front suspension has also been updated with new stiffer mounting points and top mount bushings.

The new steering wheel includes audio controls and cruise controls (where fitted) and the rim diameter has been reduced and rim thickness increased compared with AU.

The steering effort is reduced with a tighter 2.8 turns lock to lock.

Steering and suspension ball joints have also been updated to offer reduced friction, assisting responsiveness and feel.

So after all that, what's it like to drive? Go to the "New Models" section to find out. Wednesday September 25 we dissect XT, Thursday September 26 Fairmont Ghia and its new three-valve V8 goes under the spotlight, and on Friday hang-on as we review the XR6 Turbo.
And for more detail on Falcon pricing and equipment levels go to our "New Models" section and read the story "New Falcon: Pricing revealed".

The Road to Recovery podcast series

GoAuto can help you buy a new Falcon

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Ford models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here