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Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo 2012 Review

If you really want your blood to pump, add the word "Turbo''.
EXPERT RATING
8

Ford chopping off two cylinders to make a four-pot Falcon is like being told your private parts are obsolete and by government decree will be removed.

That will upset most men - but particularly those who are not married and still have a reason. Despite the launch of a 2-litre, four-cylinder engine Falcon model, Ford still has a reason to make a decent six-cylinder version, especially the turbocharged one that dumps 270kW/533Nm and makes most men weep tears of joy.

The XR6 nameplate is old, dating back to 1993, but instantly and unmistakably signals performance. But if you really want your blood to pump, add the word "Turbo''.

VALUE

Ignore the cynics who term this a Plain-Jane Falcon with a turbocharger. It's actually one hot sedan that's idea for the family and can give you similar buzz to some Euro sedans costing three times the price. Easy to fix (which is just as well) and cheap to maintain (Ford's capped service is about $360 a year) it also can be reasonably frugal on standard-grade fuel.

XR6 Turbo gets top-end infotainment systems with Bluetooth and sat-nav; reverse camera; sports seats (leather is $2100 extra); 18-inch alloy wheels; cruise control; and trip computer are among standard features. Build quality is adequate.

DESIGN

Adding plastic wings and skirts to an existing sedan is the time-honoured and el-cheapo way of adding a bit of visual fire. The XR6 Turbo is nicely done, but like a Can-Can dancer, never fails to completely cover what's under the trimmings.

The FG MkII Falcon is a solid foundation, with heaps of comfortable cabin room, split-fold rear seats and spacious dash area with some simple - the radio bugs me, though - yet effective controls. Window switches on the driver's door are better than rival's centre-console buttons.

TECHNOLOGY

Recipe: To one warm conventional twin-cam in-line six just spin in one turbocharger and spice with a pinch of intercooler. Not really high tech but it's enough for a 0-100km/h in about 5.5 seconds which isn't shabby. XR6 Turbo adds sports suspension, 18-inch wheels (19-inch available) and sends power through the optional (in this test case) ZF six-speed auto and a limited-slip differential. It's a simple recipe. Enjoy the meal.

SAFETY

The Falcon rates very well, picking up the maximum five-star gong in crash tests and having six airbags, stability control and brake assist. The spare is a temporary unit though a full-size alloy is a $250 option. There's a rear camera, fatigue warning device, seatbelt reminders, reverse park sensors and follow-me-home delayed lighting.

DRIVING

Turbo-power grins come at the expense of turbo-thirst sads. Fact is the sedan's power delivery is so linear and the 533Nm of torque maxxing out from a low 2000rpm that it can be driven as a shopping car by Mum during the week and handed over to Dad for spirited club events on weekends.

Leave the foot flat on the go-pedal and it will rush seamlessly to the speed limit and drink like a parched Ford fan on a stinking hot day atop Mount Panorama. Handling is very good and precise - no electric steering here - and optional 19-inch rubber is unusually compliant. Brakes are claimed to be performance items but didn't relay much confidence at higher speeds.

Perhaps the test car had a hard life. The seating position is high, so the steering wheel is low to make the big car feel small. VERDICT: XR6 and XR8 are justifiably sought-after Falcons but XR6 Turbo best balances the ownership costs and performance. Quality issues niggle the Falcon but the payback is a sensible, easy-to own and smile-inducing family car.

Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo 

Price: $48,235
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Resale: 52 per cent
Service interval: 15,000km/12 months
Safety rating: Five star
Spare: Space-saver
Engine: 4-litre turbocharged 6-cyl 270kW/533Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto; RWD
Body: 5.0m (L); 1.9m (w); 1.4m (h) Weight: 1733kg
Thirst: 11.7l/100km; 91RON; 278g/km Co2

Pricing Guides

$13,999
Based on 322 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$5,950
Highest Price
$29,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
G6 4.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $8,780 – 15,990 2012 Ford Falcon 2012 G6 Pricing and Specs
G6 (LPI) 4.0L, LPG, 6 SP AUTO $8,690 – 12,210 2012 Ford Falcon 2012 G6 (LPI) Pricing and Specs
G6 Ecoboost 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $8,990 – 14,990 2012 Ford Falcon 2012 G6 Ecoboost Pricing and Specs
G6 Limited Edition 4.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $10,866 – 16,555 2012 Ford Falcon 2012 G6 Limited Edition Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$15,850

Lowest price, based on 11 car listings in the last 6 months

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