As they say ‘And then there were two”, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’d be aware the big Aussie sedan is about to be shown the door. So how does the other half of the legendary duo still hold up in 2015? In this case EFTM has spent a week behind the wheel of the Ford Falcon G6E, the luxury equivalent of the opposing side – the Holden Calais.
The 10 Minute Test Drive
Immediately you feel at home when you jump in the refreshed FG X Falcon. It’s big, comfortable and sports a presentation that sits in its own category, for better or worse. Basically it’s undeniably Australian, you would never pitch it alongside something European nor would it be fair to compare it to some of the better Japanese offerings.
However being the flasher model you do score some tidier looking blackened trims around the centre console and the option of attractive tan or black leather seats. The instrument cluster is a fairly simple affair. A digital monochrome screen splits the usual speedometer and tachometer. But it lacks the flair and techy edge of more modern offerings. The steering wheel mounted audio and cruise control buttons are nothing new, but try using them at night given they don’t illuminate.
Ford’s SYNC2 system sits above the old school button plagued console. It’s a decent offering with the inclusion of DAB+ radio giving it at least one advantage over Holden’s MyLink interface.
On the road the Falcon G6E is above average and I’m happy to label it as “engaging”. Direct, predictable steering gives it an enjoyable personality. This model in particular benefits from the decades of collective knowledge on how to iron out our ordinary roads. It’s confident, sprung just right and honestly you’d be hard pressed finding fault with how it corners within the boundaries of how a largely fleet or large family car should drive.
There are three engines on offer, we tested the familiar 4.0-litre in-line six unit. It’s got enough guts and brawn to leave more than a few in its wake from the lights. On the open road it’s still abundantly capable of safe overtaking manoeuvres. Heck you could even hitch up a caravan, if it was another era.
I don’t mind the restyled front and rear ends of the FG Falcon, given the limited budget and its impending extinction. They’ve done a good job of crafting a polished, modern look onto a circa 2008 profile.
Ins and Outs
Our G6E was fitted with the proven 4.0-litre in-line six engine which produces 195kW @ 6000rpm and 391Nm @3250rpm. The solid performance is sent via an excellent German designed six-speed ZF automatic. The gears change swiftly and intelligently however don’t expect fancy paddle shifters for some fun finger flicking manual fun, that’s all done via the more traditional shifter which you’ll never bother with.
The styling changes to the FG X G6E include a new front fascia featuring the Ford signature trapezoidal grille with chrome detailing. L-shaped Daylight Running Lamps (DRL’s) impart a sophisticated look. While the rear end now features split tail lamps featuring LED lighting.
Rain sensing wipers, dusk-sensing headlamps, dual-climate control and auto rear-dimming rear view mirror are what you’d expect from the model formally known as Ghia. Parking is made a little easier with the addition of new front parking sensors, just don’t expect automatic self-parking as found in the VF Commodore.
The Tech Inside
Ford’s SYNC2 offers a very effective voice recognition system which can operate in-car entertainment functions and the climate system. But it works best with the standard satellite navigation. You can literally say an entire address in one hit and 99 per-cent of the time the Aussie accent tuned system will nail it. Digital radio as mentioned is a decent score over the Holden MyLink system as is the ability to create your own Wi-Fi hot spot for passenger use by resharing a public access point, or through a tethered link.
The system is displayed via a finger print prone 8’’ colour high-resolution touch screen. Personally I prefer the Holden MyLink interface which offers larger, brighter icons and a simpler, intuitive layout.
A major highlight is “Emergency Assistance”, a system that connects you to 000 operators in the event of an accident. It will deliver vital GPS information to emergency operators even if the driver or occupants are unable to communicate. Essentially the system runs in the background via the driver’s paired phone over Bluetooth. There are also two USB ports in the centre console box, handy for charging a couple of devices at once.
The Hip Pocket
Our test vehicle the Falcon G6E 4.0-litre petrol automatic is priced from $40,110 before on roads. A claimed combined fuel economy figure of 9.5L/100km was exactly what I achieved, which is a rarity! Importantly too, the Falcon range comes with myFord Capped Price Servicing as standard which includes roadside assistance.
EFTM Rubber Stamp of Approval.
This is by no means a game changer like the Holden VE and subsequent VF Commodores were. The Ford Falcon FG X still feels a good four of five years behind where it really should be if things were healthy in the Australian car manufacturing industry. But considering just how much car you get and the significant price reductions over previous models it’s also hard to completely dismiss it. The G6E offers a capable and somewhat premium package that will attract those who want a slice of the final piece of Down Under motoring cake. I award it the EFTM Pass Rubber Stamp of Approval.