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Ford finesses Falcon for 2010
Six-speed auto and fuel economy gains headline Ford’s 2010 Falcon six upgrade
7 Apr 2010
FORD Australia has revealed a raft of improvements for its six-cylinder Falcon sedans and utes, less than 24 hours after we revealed the Blue Oval's all-supercharged 5.0-litre V8 plan for this year’s upgraded XR8 and FPV models.
As with the new force-fed Coyote V8-powered models, which are unlikely to emerge until September, the six-cylinder Falcon model upgrade is designed to meet tighter federal emissions legislation, which comes into effect from July.
Beating their blown bent-eight XR8 and FPV siblings to market by up to four months, Ford’s upgraded 2010 Falcon sixes enter production next month and will become available in showrooms earlier than anticipated in June.
“Falcon XR8 sedan and Ute models are not part of this Euro IV upgrade for the FG Falcon range,” said Ford. “Details regarding plans for the iconic XR8 nameplate will be revealed at a later date.”
As expected, while the Euro 4 Falcon upgrade brings no performance or cosmetic upgrades, there are equipment and fuel efficiency gains across the 4.0-litre petrol engine range, following the replacement of volume-selling models' five-speed automatic transmission with Ford's slick six-speed ZF auto.
Accompanying increases of between $100 and $1100 see the Falcon price range start above $40,000 for the first time, which Ford says is more than accounted for mechanical, equipment and safety upgrades.
The latter includes the standard fitment of side head/thorax airbags in XR6 and XR6 Turbo Ute models - but not in entry-level utes.
Similarly, while head-protecting front side airbags are standard across the Falcon sedan range, curtain airbags that also protect rear passengers remain optional at base level in the Falcon, unlike its locally-built large-car rivals.
Bluetooth phone and iPod connectivity will, however, be standard on all 2010 FG Falcons (except utes with an optional column-shift), instead of being standard only on the G6ET.
LPG-powered Falcon E-Gas models are understood to have received Euro 4 exemption until they are replaced by Ford's all-new LPI liquid-injection - which has been delayed until early 2011 - while the Falcon wagon will also continue unchanged, before it is discontinued mid-year.
Holden's answer to Ford's next-generation LPG Falcon appears increasingly likely to lie only in its first E85 Commodore, due on sale late this year, but Ford will have no direct response for Holden's direct-injection 3.0-litre SIDI V6 Commodores until its first four-cylinder Falcon appears in mid-2011.
There are no changes to the Territory, which was upgraded to Euro 4 standard as part of the SYII update in May 2009 before receiving a major midlife facelift and V6 turbo-diesel power early next year.
For 2010, Ford's polished ZF six-speed auto combines with a range of hardware and software revisions to lift the Falcon's fuel economy by up to 8.5 per cent.
Previously optional on the entry-level Falcon XT sedan and standard on G6E and G6E Turbo sedans and all XR6 Turbo and XR8 models, the six-speed ZF replaces the five-speed auto currently available on naturally aspirated petrol Falcons, including the XT, G6 and G6E.
Ford says all non-turbo, non-LPG Falcon sedans equipped with an automatic transmission now return average ADR 81/02 fuel consumption of 9.9 L/100km, representing an improvement of 5.7 per cent on the XT, G6 and XR6 models and a gain of two per cent on the G6E, while the G6ET and XR6T are unchanged and 11.7L/100km.
As a result, exhaust emissions also improve, with upgraded models now producing 236 grams of CO2 per km, which equates to a 5.5-point federal government greenhouse rating (out of 10).
Naturally aspirated ute variants fitted with an automatic transmissions bring an even great fuel economy improvement, with an 8.5 per cent consumption reduction for the Falcon Ute, R6 and XR6, ,which now return 10.7L/100km. The XR6T Ute is unchanged at 12.5L/100km.
While the six-speed ZF will become the default automatic transmission for the entire petrol FG Falcon range, the Falcon’s Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual continues as the standard transmission on XR sedans and all Falcon Ute models.
A revised column-shift option for the ZF has also been developed, allowing a three-position bench seat to continue to be available for entry-level Falcon Ute workhorses.
Engineering upgrades for the straight-six Falcon drivetrain echo those made to the Territory last year, including a new catalytic converter and revised powertrain control module calibration to deliver emissions, driveability and fuel efficiency improvements.
Ford says the former incorporates latest catalyst technology, including a higher cell density within the catalyst brick and a new washcoat, while the new PCM calibration includes optimised cold-start and warm-up calibration, optimised hot idle calibration, revised pedal progression and a more progressive launch profile, minor transmission shift schedule changes for optimised upshift and cruise gear selection, and enhanced deceleration fuel shut-off (DFSO) for optimal urban fuel economy.
The 2010 Falcon six range comes with price increases of between 0.2 and 1.9 per cent. Ford says the FG upgrade represents even greater value for money for large car customers, with extra safety and equipment more than offsetting the price increases on most models.
For example, Ford’s manufacturer’s list price (not including luxury car tax) increases by $500 for the Falcon G6, which is claimed to gain almost $2500 of extra equipment. Similarly, the R6 Ute price increases by $500 but includes more than $1000 of extra features.
Falcon sedan pricing now opens at $40,290 for the entry-level XT (up $600), making the cheapest four-door Falcon $300 more expensive than its most direct rival in Holden’s Commodore Omega sedan ($39,990).
Similarly, the base Falcon Ute now costs $31,095 (up $600), but remains $2395 more affordable than the auto-only Commodore-based Omega Ute ($33,490).
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