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Ford Falcon four-cylinder takes a risk

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

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.