Skip navigation
36043 Visits Today

Ford Falcon four-cylinder takes a risk

  • image

    There have been some desperately underwhelming four-cylinder cars sold in Australia over the years.

Some people will be suspicious about the Ford Falcon four-cylinder.

And not without reason. There have been some desperately underwhelming four-cylinder cars sold in Australia over the years. Here are a few of the fours that flopped.


When the cute coupe first hit Australia in the late nineties it was dozy with a capital D, thanks to 1.8-litre turbo power delivery and gearing that was tweaked for 200km/h autobahn action. Things only changed when a senior Audi engineer hit Melbourne and was stunned to be out-gunned at every set of lights by Commodore and Falcon taxis.


A 2.0-litre engine should have been fine for the time, but the American pretender was underdone and a three-speed auto from the dark ages killed it. There was lots of talk about go-kart handling, but reviewers found crappy quality and a severe lack of go.


Definitely the worst Commodore in the car's history, with a gasping 1.9-litre motor - a chopped-down inline six - that had zero performance and terrible response.

Holden's response to global oil shortages came in the VC Commodore but, ironically, it needed such thrashing that the economy was often worse than the six. Among its many derogarty nicknames was "Backfire Four".


The first 'world' car to reach Australia, the Camira was lacklustre in so, so many ways. But worst off all was the undersized and overstretched four-cylinder engine. In a land where torque is tough, this was a loser and even later growth to 1.8 and 2.0 litres failed to erase the early setback.


Billed as 'Australia's first four-cylinder limousine', the Bluebird of 1981 was anything but luxurious. A body built from recycled Coke cans, underwhelming quality from the factory in Clayton and a 2.0-litre engine that was past its best meant the car struggled through to 1986.


A giant 3.0-litre four was the biggest of its type in 1989. Porsche was doing everything it could to find friends for its baby coupe and the four-pot did make 155 kiloWatts, but it took the arrival of the Boxster - soon to get a 21st century four - to turn the tide.


Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 42 comments

  • Its more fun reading the comments than the story. Ah-choo

    Archie itsikson of Brisbane Posted on 29 April 2012 10:23am
  • Him ecoboost ford never suiting fellow neanderthal like eugene. Him way much to technical.

    caveman Posted on 27 April 2012 3:22pm
  • How come my very truthful and polite comments this tosser of Paul Gover does not appear in the comments? This is serious media manipulation. Another reason why carsguide is now out of my bookmarks. Shame on you. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Eugene, your previous comment could not be published because you didn't write it in the comment box. You wrote it on the tech feedback form. Feedback left there does not publish to the story pages. Regards, Karla Pincott

    Eugene Lacoix of bribane Posted on 27 April 2012 1:12pm
  • There have been some desperately underwhelming automotive articles written in Australia over the years. And I thought Tony Davis had the market cornered in this area; appears not!

    Warwick Williams of Como Posted on 27 April 2012 1:06pm
  • ...and I thought it was an article about the new falcon - damn - a mindless history lesson instead!

    Michael Drenth of Portland NSW Posted on 27 April 2012 7:05am
  • I must have re-read this article half a dozen times hoping to find some information about the new 4 cylinder Falcon. Did you forget what the brief was Paul?

    Gra of Wagga Wagga NSW Posted on 26 April 2012 10:14pm
  • Sorry Paul I am disappointed but for some reason not surprised again, please lift your game just this once.

    T . Corby of Wodonga Posted on 26 April 2012 9:32pm
  • First world car? What about the Ford model T and the like.

    Get Real of Brisbane Posted on 26 April 2012 9:12pm
  • What a pathetic comparison of the sins of the past in 4 cylinder under-powered cars. If Ford was stupid enough to put a stock non-turbo Focus engine into the Falcon then the comparison would be valid but its a Turbo with many kw and many nm. Just like the Ford 6 turbo in most respects out performs the V8, the 4cyl will be on a par with the 6 but with better economy. Ford should though, have modified the front end by reducing the length and weight to further differentiate the smaller engine and make it more efficient.

    Wayne H of Aldinga Beach SA 5173 Posted on 26 April 2012 8:58pm
  • I remember this guy crying on Skaifes shoulder when Ambrose kicked his mighty HRT backside. Whatever he writes is always full of rubbish, I would not have expected anything else, true to form.

    JG of Sydney Posted on 26 April 2012 8:55pm
  • There was nothing inherently wrong with any of these cars (well, maybe the Bluebird - though it was heaps better than the 200B). Who wants to drive as badly as a Melbourne Taxi driver? The VC 4 cyl was the best handling of the model - unless you wanted to do power slides. Similarly, the Camira was a very sweet car - if you didn't want to thrash it like a car-tester would. Porsche and Audi - so what - we've had many under-whelming Euros here, and worse English cars. Did the job they were designed for, but not here.

    Alan of Logan City Posted on 26 April 2012 8:16pm
  • I have had a lot of success using 4 bangers over the years. My '65 Corona could easily tow a double horse float, with horse, and average 100kph! My '63 1200cc Cortina could tow a 15ft caravan, but needed 33% Methyl Benzine to keep cool! The '68 crossflow 1600cc Cortina would tow our Coronet Princess caravan and average better than 28 mpg on a long trip!

    Renny Williams of Merbein, Victoria Posted on 26 April 2012 8:12pm
  • Gover, you are still living in the '80s. If you can't write a relevant comment on this most modern of Fords,then don't write anything.

    Neale Brumby of Ascot Vale Posted on 26 April 2012 7:14pm
  • Paul Gover; a family member must be the editor of Cars Guide, otherwise i'm sure they would've realised your pathetic biased articles were not up to professional standards ages ago. To the rest of the Cars guide team, get this joker fired.

    Kevin Williams of Australia, where we'd like to continue to make car Posted on 24 April 2012 6:34pm
  • My dog could write a better artical...he should be sacked, and replaced by someone with knowlage and talant.

    Nikk Macrae of Tamworth Posted on 24 April 2012 6:13pm
  • The Commodore Four and Holden Camira were both products of Graham "Smithy" Smith's engineering talent at GMH. Probably why he now writes for Carsguide rather than engineers anything.

    steve Posted on 24 April 2012 3:38pm
  • This article(sic) is the truly embarrassing for Paul. All I can think is that he got drunk during the launch, ran out of time, panicked and produced this masterpiece at late notice.

    Poor Judgement Posted on 24 April 2012 2:00pm
  • Really Paul, thats the best that you can come up with. I really hope that Ged Bulmer takes note of the comments because your days as a journalist are shorely numbered.

    Bad Boy Paul Posted on 24 April 2012 1:52pm
  • We are in 2012, not 1980, get with the times, this vehicle is a fantastic option we are lucky enough to have in Australia, large rear drive sedan with an engine good enough to rival 6 cylinders. Did you actually drive one before putting this article up? As for the public, do yourself a favour and go drive a Falcon ecoboost before taking any notice to this article and post up with you think. I've driven it and it is brilliant.

    Nathan of Maroochydore Posted on 24 April 2012 12:52pm
  • Paul seems to be death riding the Australian made vehicles. Give this car a decent chance. Hopefully Ford will market the Falcon better than it has done so over the past couple of years.

    Woodpecker of Northern Beaches Posted on 24 April 2012 9:31am
  • I thought that this article was going to be about the Falcon 4cyl, not a history lesson about other cars.This headline is very missleading and should be changed.I wanted to read about the 4cyl Falcon. Very disapointed,utter garbage,not relevant to the Ford.

    Andrew Willis of Brisbane Posted on 24 April 2012 8:27am
  • Paul Gover at it again! Sorry Paul, but I missed the point you were trying to make comparing the new Eco Boost Falcon to many of the 1980s 4cyl cars you have listed. The similarities are what exactly? Do you know what the term 'Boost" refers to? Lacking in your argument is that car technology has progressed in the last 30 years and none of those cars had turbos.

    Marshall of The Hills SA Posted on 24 April 2012 12:51am
  • I think ecoboost has Mr Gover worried. clearly threatened by it. His beloved holden is about to be spanked... hard!

    Rob of Adelaide Posted on 24 April 2012 12:10am
  • Paul Gover you should be ashamed of yourself to be putting this garbage in print, no ones going to take you seriously if you continue the Ford bashing as you do all to often. Its a world class engine and drive train, so why compare it to dud vehicles of the past? Dissapointing.

    paul frank of south australia Posted on 23 April 2012 9:10pm
  • What a rubbish article. Have you driven the car Paul? All you've done is bagged it based on crappy cars from the 1980's and 1990's. Great journalistic talent there. There is no detail about the Ecoboost Falcon at all - request to editor: why did this even make the cut for publishing?

    David of Perth Posted on 23 April 2012 8:45pm
  • Sooooo .... you write an article with the only comparisons from engines that (most) all are 20 odd years old? You are comparing a Camira engine and starfire 4 to a new generation 179kW and 353Nm of torque Turbo 4, direct injection, variable valve timing and Euro 4 complied engine? I do not think you give those who read your articles any credit in knowing what is now available from the Euros in 4 cylinder... especially matched with induction. How about a little positivity now and again for what Ford are doing at the moment? They are just as Australian (If not more) than Holden...

    Dave M of Australia Posted on 23 April 2012 8:21pm
  • There have been some desperately underwhelming motoring writers in Australia over the years. Functional illiterates, denim-jacket fatties and bald old buzzards like Gover, who take a free plane ticket to an auto show to have his hand held by Mark Reuss round the GM display, shuffle-steering his incompetent way through a driving event, hold down barstools for the evening, and then rewrite the GM press release during the flight home, a pawn of the PR people who bought him.

    max Posted on 23 April 2012 7:47pm
  • I agree this is bad even by carsguide standards!!

    Ivan Winter of Australia Posted on 23 April 2012 7:08pm
  • Paul, I can only recommend a dose of 'reality check' by your local GP. This comment is as relevant as the article, therefore I expect to see it occupy space in the internet just as your article is given space.

    App with GP Posted on 23 April 2012 6:53pm
  • wow, what a story. Full of real world experience on how this car performs. I really don't understand the negative comments or the reason to actively create a perception that a state of the Art technology is even comparable on any level to what you have reported on above, it's not, AND the car has hardly hit the showroom floor! I have driven many prototypes of this ecoBoost Falcon, people just need to ignore anything written by you and just go and test drive the thing. They will be sold! Game Over for Paul Gover. Cheers

    jpmaster Posted on 23 April 2012 6:48pm
  • Please, let's be a bit adult about the Ford Ecoboost engine, it's going into hundreds and thousands of vehicles world wide, so let's not become paranoid and poo poo anything new that comes along. This engine will have way more low down zest than the Holden 3.0 SIDI and I'd be willing to bet that real world fuel economy will be similar to the baby Holden. In the end the market will decide the fate of the Ecoboost Falcon, and that's the way it should be...

    jpd80 of Brisbane Posted on 23 April 2012 6:44pm
  • Hey Paul... Why have you not gone and driven the car? Seriously your anti Ford bias is a joke. I have driven an Ecoboost Falcon (no I don't work for Ford) and found it to be very very interesting. If only your bosses took the time to read some of your readers comments, I think you would be down at centrelink. Makes me wonder why Ford support your organization with advertising.

    Gavin Posted on 23 April 2012 6:37pm
  • What a joke this so called journalist & website has become!!! Please, employee some real journalists so we have something with substance to read. You are fast become a joke website.. Seriously!!

    Joe of West Ryde Posted on 23 April 2012 6:37pm
  • So a whole article about failures, but absolutely nothing about the new falcon? or the new tech being used for the first time in an aussie built car? Who ever is this journalists, and I use that term very loosely, boss must surely be looking hard at his performance. Seems there is a strong anti ford bias in the media these days. remember the 380? seems some in the media are trying to do the same to ford.

    james of brisbane of Australia Posted on 23 April 2012 6:21pm
  • C'mon Paul. Stop the negativity and give this car the story it deserves. Comparing this world class powertrain to the rubbish above is a joke. Perhaps next time report the facts, and write about the performance and economy of this Australian built car. Lets see some professional journalism please!!

    Paul Antony of Caulfield Posted on 23 April 2012 4:45pm
  • What a s* article, There has been plenty of "V6/V8" FAIL vehicles designed built and discontinued quickly in history. So much modern technology/reasearch and development has been put into the Ecoboost. -This vehicle will not be the Failure of past 4 cylinder vehicles. Has to be the worst BIASED article I've red. Talk about Aussie product bashing.

    m.bro of NSW Posted on 23 April 2012 3:22pm
  • Its is really disappointing that "articles" like this are even ok'd. Its embarrassing for the author and the website and reflects the creditability they have. Please enlighten us to what GMH have done recently?? Ford have a world class LPG system, the TDI in the Territory, the EB in a Falcon..all support for locally manufactured cars. Whats Holden doing now?

    You know Me Posted on 23 April 2012 3:16pm
  • I cannot believe the waste of space this article has taken up. A new moel is released and all we get are past "failures' from other brands. At least drive the god damm car and make your claims, ffs.

    Dr Smith. of Melb. Posted on 23 April 2012 3:01pm
  • Paul Gover is like a theater or movie critic crapping on a show or film just to get noticed.

    john of bendigo Posted on 23 April 2012 2:49pm
  • Disgusting. Disgusting. Abso-friggin-lutely disgusting. When I read this article, I see one terribly biased reporter having a slash at a local company, obviously the opposition to the company which is lining the said reporters pockets. Read all the reviews - they all said the Ecoboost is a surprising performer with handling on a par or better than the 6, thanks to the lighter engine. How about helping Falcon get out of the hole in which it's sinking by telling us about some of the successful 4's? What makes it worse is the senior and rather eminent status of the reporter. It takes Carsguide's sincerity to a new low.

    i can see the light Posted on 23 April 2012 2:10pm
  • Wow Paul Gover, goes on a biased Falcon bash again with no facts to back it up...

    The Truth Posted on 23 April 2012 12:46pm
  • So theres a whole article on how they might glue the VF commodore front and rear bumpers to the commodore V8 supercar, but on the release of the ecoboost falcon we get an article informing us of other 4 cylinder failures is it safe to assume carsguide is inferring that the ecoboost falcon will be a failure and hopefully the falcon will go away allowing more space to promote there advertisers vehicle from GMH

    jts of melbourne Posted on 23 April 2012 11:40am
Read all 42 comments

Add your comment on this story

Indicates required

We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Please provide your full name. We also require a working email address - not for publication, but for verification. The location field is optional.

Share your feedback