It’s the age of the SUV and the small hatchback – traditional family cars such as the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon are struggling. So they’re pulling out new tricks, mainly in the fuel conservation department. Is this new age small-engine-in-a-big car trick going work?
Ford is hedging a few of its bets on the above by releasing the Ford Falcon G6 Ecoboost. It’s a sedan the size of a normal Ford Falcon – which if you don’t remember, is bloody huge. In a Ford Falcon you can traditionally fit four adults in luxury, five without too much trouble, and plenty of baggage. The big difference is the engine – four cylinder, two litre, turbocharged, outputting 179kW and 353Nm of torque.
Despite the practicality of cars like the Falcon, bigger, higher SUV style cars are starting to take their place as the prime choice for family cars. Think Ford Territory, Toyota Kluger, Holden Captiva, Range Rover Evoque, BMW X5 or Audi Q5. The only similarity between these tall cars is the fact that they are tall. They are all of different sizes, different drive systems and with different engines and fuel consumption. It isn’t simply a case of having more space, because many of them don’t. What they do all have is a better line of sight, not that traditional family cars have a poor one.
Putting a two-litre, four cyclinder engine in a car the size of a Ford Falcon seems to be a little bit suicidal. Over the next couple of weeks EFTM will be testing out a Ford Falcon G6 Ecoboost with some real world tests, not just a quick drive, to see if this small-engined big car can really save the traditional family sedan. To do it we’ve enlisted family from overseas and will be doing trips out of Sydney and parties around town which require copious amount of alcohol – which the driver will obviously not be consuming!
The first stage of getting the car to carry four adults with three large pieces of luggage back from Sydney Airport has answered a few brief questions already. Is the engine underpowered? No. The car never feels sluggish although it’s not exactly perky. You wouldn’t think you are driving such a small engine though. Does it still have the same amount of space? Yes, everything and everyone went in without any dramas what-so-ever and there was even space left over.
Once we give it a really good drive with people and luggage we’ll make some comments on the real performance of the car, and importantly, whether or not it actually does save you any fuel.
Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men’s Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney’s North Shore with his girlfriend.