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Used car review Ford FG Falcon XR6 2008-2009

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    The FG came in the wake of the BA and BF models, two solid models that managed to recover much of the ground lost by the unloved AU. Had it not been for the AU's failure the BA, and the BF makeover, would never have been.

Graham 'Smithy' Smith reviews the used Ford FG Falcon XR6 2008-2009: its fine points, its flaws and what to watch for when buying it.

There have been many important events in the Falcon's long running history in this country, but none more so than the release of the FG Falcon in 2008.  The FG represented the last play in the Falcon fight back from the AU disaster. Ford couldn't afford to have another lame duck on its hands, so it had to be right.

Two years on from the launch, as it appears on used car lots around the country as company lease cars, fleet units and ex-renters come up for sale, it's the winner Ford had hoped it would be.

Model Watch

The FG came in the wake of the BA and BF models, two solid models that managed to recover much of the ground lost by the unloved AU.  Had it not been for the AU's failure the BA, and the BF makeover, would never have been.

The model slated to replace the AU was to be a mild makeover to keep Falcon sales ticking over until an all-new model could be developed.  But such was the alarm over the AU sales slide that Ford pressed the go button on a major revamp that became the 'Barra' or BA.

The BA proved a success, as did its BF cousin, and the AU became a distant memory.  Enter the FG, the much-trumpeted all-new model that pushed the AU even further into the depths of history.

With a new body, smart new looks, and new chassis, engines and transmissions the FG truly was an all-new car.  What's more there was a new model line-up that clearly differentiated between luxury and sports models.

By the launch of the FG the XR6 was a well-respected sports sedan model on the local market and was the entry model to Ford's new sports range. The other sports models were the XR6 Turbo and the V8 XR8.

While the FG boasted a new look, the XR's sporty look came from its specific headlights, grille, front bumper, fog lamps, rocker panels, and 17-inch alloy wheels.  The sports theme continued inside where in addition to all of the features of the FG XT, it also came with sports dials, sports seats, alloy pedal covers, and on the manual models there was an aluminium shift knob.

Under the bonnet lay the familiar 4.0-litre double overhead camshaft six, but it now had a new fast-burn cylinder head and clever dual- mode intake manifold, and a revised engine calibration.  As a result of the upgrades the peak engine output rose to 195 kW at 6000 revs and 391 Nm at 3250 revs.

Not only was the engine's performance increased, its efficiency was also improved, and that meant better fuel economy.  There was also a new five-speed auto, with sports shift function, and a new six-speed manual transmission.

A new suspension package, with lightweight virtual pivot control link front suspension and control blade independent rear suspension, along with revised steering and new monotube shock absorbers gave the FG impressive on-road dynamics.  Unique 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped with Dunlop SP Sport rubber completed the XR6 package.

On the lot

A 2008-2009 XT6 can be had for $25,000-$30,000, which makes it an appealing buy.

In the shop

Owners of previous model Falcons have regularly complained to carsGuide about problems with their cars, but to date the complaints about the FG have been few and far between.

One regular complaint from owners of those previous models related to the adjustment of the park brake, which was tricky, but the FG has a self-adjusting park brake that should eliminate that issue.

The overall lack of complaint is a good sign for FG owners, hopefully one that is a pointer to future reliability.  But with less than 50,000km on average it's still early days for this model.

It's worth making a thorough check of all systems to make sure everything on the car works, listen for odd noises while driving, make sure auto transmission engages smoothly and without hesitation.  Check also for signs of crash repairs, mismatching paint etc., gouged alloy wheels from contact with gutters and kerbs, and scarred bumpers.

In a crash

The XR6 came standard with an impressive list of safety features, including driver and front passenger airbags, front side head/thorax airbags, dynamic stability control, traction control, ABS brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assist.  By any measure it's an impressive array of safety systems, enough to be given a five-star ANCAP rating.

At the pump

Driven by Carsguide, an FG XR6 returned 10.0 L/100km in general running around town, which was spot-on with Ford's official figure.

Owners say

James Creece has owned several Falcons over the past 10 years and is bewildered by the complaints owners make about them. He currently owns two FG XR6 Falcon autos and is very happy with both of them. One, a work ute, has done 75,000km mostly with a load and towing a loaded trailer, has averaged 12.2L/100km and he says it's a good ute with a tight body, it handles well, everything works, and it's good value for money. The other is a sedan with premium sound, leather, 18-inch alloys, iPod/Bluetooth that has done 30,000km. He says it's great on the road, the best car he's ever owned. James runs it in PULP and it has averaged 8.9L/100km on mostly country driving.

On the other hand, after 1000km Steve Walters noticed a clunking noise in the right front of his FG XR6 manual when backing it out of a driveway. The dealer checked it and tightened the front-end, and declared it fixed after a test drive, unfortunately when Steve subsequently checked it he found it was still there. This time, after another check, the dealer compared it to another XR6 and found it too exhibited the same noise. The dealer's response was that it was a characteristic of the car and told Steve to "put up with it". After some frustrating discussions with Ford's Customer Relations people, the dealer, and a Ford service rep, the car was once more checked and the noise was diagnosed as being caused by the front lower control arm. The arm was replaced and for a time it seemed the problem was fixed, but after a few days it returned. The car has now done 15,000km and the noise is still there.

Look for

. Sports looks
. Great chassis
. Responsive six-cylinder engine
. Five-star safety
. Few problems reported

Also check these

Holden Commodore SV6 - 2006-2009: The SV6 was new to the Holden range in the VZ model, and a sign that Holden is feeling the pressure from the XR6 success. While the SV6 used the 195 kW 3.6-litre Alloytec engine it lacked the low-down grunt of the Falcon six and needed to be revved higher to extract the performance. Good driver, but lacks road presence. Pay $17,500-$30,000.

BMW 325i/330i -2000-2004: Smaller than the Falcon and costs more, but there's no doubting the on-road thrill of the smooth-revving small BMW six. Pay $15,000-$35,000.

Mitsubishi 380 GT/GTL - 2005-2008: Sadly gone the sports version of the doomed 380 was a neat driving car weighed down by the troubles of the company at the time. Value for money, worth taking a drive. Pay $15,000-$22,000.

The Bottom Line

Grunty engine, good driving chassis, good buy.



Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 35 comments

  • I also disagree and grew tired over 10 years ago of carsguide complaining about a very well built and developed AU. I mostly discontinued reading carsguide because I felt they were too biased. I have had an AU since new, still have it 300000km later, I have had to do no work to the car at all, it is still punchy, silky smooth, and uses no oil or water. The inside is as new and the paint is also still perfect. Yeah, what a terrible car. They would never let it go, and still all these years later they still cannot. Seems like a good, fair article but unfortunately I can never be too confident with Graham Smith.

    Azron Mitchell of Victoria Posted on 27 October 2013 8:52pm
  • ive owned fords starting with mark 1s and owned every model falcon from xd to now , so in my garage I have 1969 falcon just excellent cond and xr6 fg falcon , muched improved on the xr6 2004 ba , I found this car had too much road noise and didn't ride that well

    barry of nz Posted on 12 June 2013 11:02am
  • ive had falcons/fairmonts for the last 23 or so years i used to strech them years ago. all cars have their faults and the fords would have to be the best oot of auzzie. currently have 04 xr6 and love it. 3 years ago we sold another nice car which was a 02 vx2 r8 clubsport but still prefer the ford.

    rob allen of New Zealand Posted on 12 January 2013 4:21pm
  • I disagree with you 100 per cent i have owned an au 2001 since new and still drives really good i never had any trouble the only thing i have changed is tyres brakes and a timing belt the paint has faded but its still a good car but upgrading to a fg xr6 next month but i will miss my beloved au Josy

    Josy of Greenvale Posted on 21 November 2012 5:02pm
  • bought a falcon g6 after decades of driving jap/korean fwd and euro garbage driving is fun again just like it was 35 odd years ago

    sam lukie of sydney Posted on 01 October 2012 8:10pm
  • i change my oil in my FG every 4500k, always use 5-30 type and alternate to 5-40 sometimes.

    don of brisbane Posted on 12 June 2012 12:27pm
  • A couple of mild tunes and 406 rwhp. Why pay for a Euro, and I've had a few, when you can get a better car for a fraction of the price. not convinced? then have a look at what an M3 or c63 costs in America

    Kimla Posted on 04 May 2012 11:45pm
  • Whoever says FG can not compete with euro trash is wrong. Take a look at what you get for 47,000 grand (thats how much was mine XR6t) from europians. This by far the best car ever produced by Ford if they could just fix their dealers that would be a bonus, almost 3 years later and not a single issue with the car even though I had a car accident(such is build quality that the VZ commodore was demolished and on my XR6t hardly any damage, bumper bar cost an arm and a leg) and still it doesnt make any noises no clunks no dramas, goes like hell and I'm leadfoot driver when I drive it it flat footed lol and it still returnes 13l per 100km now find me a car that can beat everything on the road bar the supercars be driven as hard as hell yet be fuel efficient for me 13L is awesome since its got 270RWKW stock, handles very well you can feel when you about to loose it, it can be serviced for as little as $150(I do service with my own mechanic as I said Ford dealers are just crooks. engine oil just expensive $90 for 5L). The only negative for me is Fords stupidly negative aproach to parts building e.g. aftermarket parts are very rare for FG headlights being the worst to say fit angel eye kit.

    Mad XR6T of Adelaide, HH Posted on 04 February 2012 3:29pm
  • Had a accident in my falcon with a tram and walked out without a sratch this is an amazingly safe car, I previously owned a AMG spec 2005 e350 mercedes and I can say the ford g6e turbo is better in some facits is only let down by a slightly cheap interior. However for around $50-$60K nothing comes close in Australia when you consider value for money and overall quality and performance. A pick benefit Ive found is that anything european that is high perforance / high tech is very expensive to fix and minor techincial repairs can be frequent where as the ford due to its simiplicity is very cheap and reliable

    Jim of adelaide Posted on 09 January 2012 4:33pm
  • Wayne, the poor fuel economy could be from a clogged throttle body. Take it to a non dealer mechanic and get them to clean the throttle body and injectors for you properly and see if that helps. My xr6 turbo had a similar problem where the throttle body got some dirt in it and got clogged up. Got it cleaned out and fuel usage went back to what it should.

    brian of Wagga Wagga NSW Posted on 09 January 2012 12:09pm
  • Recently bought a 2009 XR6 with 18000k's . My bigest problem is the fuel economy I get about 16 to 17 Klm per 100 ltr this is far from what they say. Been back to dealer and they did some sort of update which has only made matters worse. Any ideas of how to get this figure down....and no I am not a leadfoot thats just normal driving..

    Wayne Bourne of Victoria Posted on 22 December 2011 12:19pm
  • I purchased a 2011 XR6 brand new and upgraded with 19inch rims and Falken tyres - it handles superbly. Acceleration, stopping and handling are great. I work for a prestige European dealership and am extremely happy to save many thousands of $$$ to get comparable performance and value for money.

    Bill Liondos of Ambarvale NSW Posted on 04 November 2011 10:16pm
  • I have a 2008 FG XR6 Falcon. I average about 1000kms a week for work and its currently up around the 85,00 kms mark and to date it has not missed a beat. It handles like its on rails and I have no complaints about front arm noise that the review speaks off.

    adrian hingston of Don Devonport Tasmania Australia Posted on 11 October 2011 8:44pm
  • I had Fords the first 16 yrs of having my licence, all Falcons, great reliable cars. In 1999 I lashed out and bought a new AU Forte. Firstly the widescreen wipers wouldn’t work and had a new motor installed, then the drivers outside door handle broke then the hand brake handle, then the passenger side exterior door handle, then the bonnet opener actuator inside the car, then a faulty battery all in the first 12 months! Traded it in on a Toyota. Swore I would never buy another Ford. Still reluctant to buy one.

    Mark feild of south australia Posted on 10 September 2011 8:37pm
  • My XRFG6 has done 60,000kms now and going strong - I mentioned dealers try and handball ... but when l went to Blacklocks Ford in Wodonga I was surprised with the service I got in fixing my noise problems with the mirror and taillight problem. All was replaced and the noise problem although it took 5 hours to find it. Blacklocks service centre have a great customer service where you take your car to them to fix and they don't make you wait around, they drove me to Albury centre to enjoy the day while they fixed my car. Then picked me up when it was ready. Now that is customer care I didn't expect. Well done Ford at Blacklocks.

    Greg Sujecki of Mount Beauty Victoria Posted on 02 September 2011 8:02pm
  • Requested a new FG XR6 from Hertz for pick up from Launceston Airport when on holiday earlier this year. Got a 3 year old Commodore Omega with 100K on the clock and in desperate need for a front alignment.

    miles of gisborne Posted on 09 August 2011 12:51pm
  • cars are made by humans and humans make mistakes, with any car it is hit and miss. not any one Falcon can be the same as the next. i drive the 09 R6 and it is great, never had a problem with it and its a quick car but also a nice car to drive when i want to enjoy a comfy ride. i am a Holden man, but ford have nailed the market with the FG, kudos to them!

    Jesse Posted on 09 July 2011 10:43am
  • Dealers are an we all know once the car is out.. problems with dealers in my experience they try to handball and don't want to fix the issue true.. this is where you need to read which l doubt many people do and read the warranty hand book, as to my previous commented below.. l haven't had any issues other than the fender splash should have a screw near the body of the car lower down to avoid noise and so far after 15,000km's ( now at 47,000km's) highway driving since l bought the car,l do have noise problems( wind noise) on the driving side window while driving after 100 km's/hr on the highway near the mirror side... but other than that, the driving and handling its great....l have to say the car is great..can ford buy a wind tunnel ???? like Holden has thou..this may fix the problem l have.

    Greg Sujecki of Mount Beauty Victoria Posted on 25 June 2011 11:05pm
  • Ive been driving the xt6 for the past 3 days as a hire car and have decided to purchase one, the car rides incredibly well on the open road and the economy is fantastic, no to mention its grunty.... seems like a tight clean car.... the sv6 has nothing over this (as thats what i presently got), IMO.,...

    steve of melbourne Posted on 22 June 2011 10:42pm
  • bought mine in 2009, there was a clunk in the gear box early on, and i was told this was normal? after owning 3 previous new cars toyotas and a holden this is not normal. after 10 months the box blew up and took weeks to fix. took it home and it had not been adjusted properly took it back. Since then I had the door bolts retightened, the brakes have a large sqeak, wipers have stopped mid screen, and a new battery after 35000klms all repaired under warrenty, I will be moving on to something else, when I first bought it I thought that I would give it a go, it looked good both in and out, but have been dissapointed with the continual issues both minor and major, the worst part was the dealer telling me that it was all normal, even before the box blew up? go figure

    shaun of brisbane Posted on 22 June 2011 3:05pm
  • I Worked for Holden Engineering 13 years, 2 years ago l left to move to the country and needed a car for traveling and l saw the short cuts Holden made to keep there status with the VE ,sadly its not for me to hurry up new l bought the Ford 2009 XR6 and couldn't be happier.I do a lot of highway driving ( Mt Beauty to Wodonga ) everyday 200kms.. and with this car found the steering and handling around corners most surprising along with the fuel economy is great 8.8 litres per 100k'ms at the moment using premium unleaded.Only fault l have found so far is one of the rear tail lights has condensation.Not a bad fault for a car like this, for a driving experience.Response and traction on the road is awesome took me a while to get use to the steering for it felt heavier than the VE Commodore, but l prefer it now on the highway for l feel the road more.

    Greg Sujecki of Mount Beauty Victoria Posted on 20 May 2011 3:05am
  • Had my XR6 for two weeks now, and couldn't be happier. Never thought Id say that, considering I love holdens.

    Andrew of Sydney Posted on 01 May 2011 12:14am
  • I have 2010 fg xr8 and was involved in an acciedent 6 week after pick up. I was hit in the rear by mits triton at about 60 kays and he literally climbed into my boot and onto the drivers side chassis rail you would think that the rail would have been bent at that rate but it was dead straigh upon inspection in all a very strong chassis but the damage bill was ove 30k. My insurer assesed the car and claimed that the repaires were only 5,300 thats a big difference parts alone for the repair toped 8,000 so dont trust you insusrer especially if it is AAMI. take the car to your repairer and dont let the insurer bully you to use their repairer and get your car checeked for heavens sack by IVIC if it does not pass their inspection the repairer will have to buy the car from you.

    Raymond of Melbourne Posted on 10 April 2011 3:20pm
  • 2008 FG F6 - Great car - one of the best Ford have ever made! No problems 46,000 on the clock. Good on fuel, and drives like most Euro's for half the price. Highly recommended, drive one and you will understand.

    Perth Person of WA Posted on 01 April 2011 12:48am
  • I have an 09 FG XR 6 (6 spd auto). Drove from Toowoomba to Newcastle and returned 7.9 litres / 100 and 8.1 on return journey (uphill I guess). By 60,000ks I have been through two sets of Dunlops which always wore unevenly on the outer edges regardless of tyre pressure adjustments, and at $320 each are a rip-off. As a first model I bought a 6 year factory warranty which has been accessed for some diff work (whine & a clunk). The glove box has had some hinge issues landing in my wife's lap on more than one occasion but it is fixed now. My neighbour was provided with a hire Xr6 on a trip to NZ and said he loved the drive over the 5 days there. Two of my brothers have also driven 'bluloo' and this has prompted them to trade their VT Commodores in on the same blue oval model, For the main I am greatly pleased with the decision to purchase and consider safety, reliability, economy, quality, comfort and the start up price as major attributes. I also think that the 6 spd auto is an awesome option that leaves the car clocking at about 1700rpm at 100kph which explains the great economy. Its a 5.5 out of XR6 from me.

    Matthew Evans of Toowoomba Posted on 18 March 2011 5:26pm
  • Sorry Rod guess your car could sense that you weren't a blue oval man from the start i'm sure the wankers at Holden will sell you something that easily gets left at the lights by a falcon. I have an xr6 ute 6 speed auto best car i have ever owned also after buying this car and allowing the missus to drive it occasionally she decided to by the same thing in a sedan they are gorgeous cars, only complaint i have is its hard not to drive it in sports mode full time which is a little heavier on the fuel consumption. Long live the blue oval !!!!!!!!!!

    robert durnam Posted on 08 March 2011 7:42pm
  • I have a 09 XR6T. It has 7k on the clock and the only complaint I have are the woeful Dunlop Tyres. They are awesome when hot, but bloody dangerous when cold (a few pant sh!ting experiences when cold!). Also; the Auto seems to 'pulse' and 'stutter' on start up... Apart from that, it may be the best car I have owned. Build quality is much better than HSV ( I have owned both)

    lincoln Smith of Sydney Posted on 18 February 2011 5:55pm
  • Have an 2010 FG XR8, car stalls and leaves us in traffic. Dealer can't fix it and Ford won't take responsibility. Last Ford I will ever buy.

    Rod Harrison of Canberra Posted on 09 February 2011 4:58pm
  • Too much time for whining, FG's are great I have had 6, all good! The Dunlop tyres on the 17 inch rims were a bad tyre choice for a passenger vehicle, they have changed the profile of the edge, all good now, just get the 18's, they look heaps better anyway. Go the turbo's!

    Jack Daniels of Melbourne Posted on 29 January 2011 11:58pm
  • Bought my XR6 Dec 2009,,has done 29,000klms. already scrubbed front L.H.S Dunlop. Don't know what tyre to buy next,,,something that gives me more thats for sure. Also agree with Rod/Melb posted 12 Sept 2010 about Cruise Control running over mainly on downhill runs it exceeds too far over what it is set at and potentially a trap if any speed cameras around. Not at all happy with that as I look after my car well and expect the cruise control to back off downhill to the speed I have set it at.Due for 30,000 kms service shortly so few minor points to point out to Ford,,but overall happy with its performance so far.

    Phil Greenhill of Trafalgar Vic Posted on 22 January 2011 9:42pm
  • 2003 BA GHIA with 112,000km. Dual air frtized - only drivers side heater works - $1,400 to repair. Air bag light come on. Shuddering in tight turns in car parks. Stuttering from fuel injection that needs full service, pedals no longer move electrically. Bloody silly niggles which never occurred on NF Fairlane Ghia. And the economy isn't any better than the Fairlane either - which is surprising. But the ride and handling generally are heaps better. Just a pity other drivers don't seem to be able to see it in Acid Rush (metallic yellow) with headlights on. Magnet for idiots.

    Iaho from Duncraig WA of WA Posted on 10 November 2010 7:13pm
  • 2009 XR6 28000 klms developed clunking noise in the front. Had a front right-hand side sway bar replaced under warranty. Front tyres scrubbed out already, body kit flimsy. Cruise control lets you go up to 10 klms over what it is set at. Glad I didnt pay for it, company car.

    Rod Bystersky of Melbourne Posted on 12 September 2010 10:16pm
  • I have a 09 nitro blue xr6 and absolutely loved it from new ,it is very poweful and comfortable ,it is a bit too low at front and rear and constantly cops scrapes going into driveways etc,has developed engine oil leak which ford have hopefully repaired by removing timing chest bolts ,cutting off 5mm and refitting ,why wouldnt they just replace bolts ,also has fault with cruise control not setting all of the time,and the onboard display constantly says there is a system fault in the headlights but they operate correctly ,,,,Ford cannot find any faults with the vehicle and said the problems will have to develop further to find the fault .I really like this car but cant help feel the quality is not quite there ...brad

    Brad Loiterton of Cootamundra NSW Posted on 30 July 2010 10:49pm
  • I owned a 2002 BA XR6 , installed rage exhaust,pacemaker extractors and a K & N air filter , power and economy increase instantly ,just had a FG XR6 for week and bit, you can see where the development went, it just feels an improved car, will be buying one shortly.Cheers Mike

    MK of Brisbane Posted on 22 July 2010 5:15pm
  • I just bought a 2008 FG XR6 with Tech Pack, after driving an AU Fairmont for a couple of years (and a DA LTD before that). I love the XR; it is a pure pleasure to drive. Nice and quiet as you cruise around town but a healthy, responsive growl when you put your foot down (no clunks or squeaks as yet - 36,000km). The lines, safety and handling of this car are outstanding. I get regular comments about it from drivers of BMW's, Audi's and Peugeot's about the style and looks of the car. All in all, the best buy I've made so far.

    AJ1964 of Adelaide, SA Posted on 12 May 2010 6:02pm
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