It would be foolish to disregard Falcon if you are shopping for a large family sedan especially concerning the XR6 Turbo at around $46 grand.
Holden hasn't got anything near it in terms of six cylinder performance and we reckon the 6.0-litre V8 Commodore would struggle to keep pace with the boosted Falcon.
It's old school in some areas but still feels good to drive and has plenty to keep driver and passengers informed and entertained.
Explore the 2013 Ford Falcon Range
Impressive performance, to say the least, is delivered by the 4.0-litre turbo six pot that achieves some 270kW/533Nm. It feels more than that when you give it some "welly" and is a really lively drive into the bargain - almost flighty if you extend it too far.
The sequential sports shift six-speed auto we drove is the way to go for the turbo engine as there's no drop off in boost as with a manual which is also available on XR6 Turbo. Ford calibrates the XR6 Turbo to run on regular unleaded fuel or E10 - a bonus. The auto delivers a seamless headlong sprint to the horizon as the big six swooshes away like a vacuum cleaner. That's one of the few downsides to the XR6 Turbo - it sounds rubbish.
It's well equipped boasting an 8-inch touch screen for the infotainment system, 18-inch alloys, fog lights, a leather sports wheel with multi functions, decent audio, Bluetooth phone and sound, remote keyless entry, auto headlights, reverse sensors and climate control among its inventory.
We had problems with the height of the driver seat which causes moderately tall drivers to crack their scone on the roof getting in or out. A small price to pay for what lies under the bonnet. The ride/handling is halfway towards sporty and feels like the naturally aspirated XR6. It could do with some extra tweaking to contain the beast up front.
Though good, the brakes would struggle after a few kays of mountain passes taken at speed. The drive is impressive, heightened by the fact that the Turbo is a real Q-Ship on the outside apart from the 18-inch alloys. The sequential shift mode on the selector shift is handy but we just left it in D and pushed the accelerator to great effect. No mucking around to decide which mode you want to be in thank you.
The interior is OK - dated but functional and lifted in this case with multiple fascia and attractive instruments. There's oodles of room in the rear seat for three adults. It has a relatively supple ride and minimal noise intrudes into the cabin except on coarse chip roads. We even like the look of it even though the base chassis has been around for decades probably. They've made a silk purse out of a sow's ear here.