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Ford FPV F6 2009 Review

The FPV F6 Ute is a vicious mongrel, in more ways than one.

It mixes old and new into a dauntingly powerful package that can you make you laugh and shortly thereafter swear and/or cry, depending on the outcome.

We're in a six-speed automatic, which might normally cause me dismay, but with 565Nm and 310kW running through the clever ZF six-speed auto (a no-cost option), I'm not really missing the clutch pedal.

The reprieve for Ford's engine plant is a blessing for its staff, as well as fans of the turbocharged in-line six — the four-litre turbocharged and intercooled powerplant is monumental.

Not only for the block's longevity — it dates back to the 1960s at least, although it is rumoured to have powered Noah's Ark — but the newer bits teamed with it provide such mammoth outputs.

When the newest incarnation was unveiled there was a snicker of laughter when the torque ‘mesa’ was shown, as it's no curve — 565Nm from 1950 through until 5200rpm, with a 300rpm gap before 310kW is delivered.

The powerplant has work to do, overcoming the inertia of just over 1.8 tonnes of Australian utility, but it does it with eerie and unearthly ease.

A gentle prod of the throttle spits the tachometer needle into an abundance of torque, whisking the F6 Ute away from standstill with little apparent effort and a minimum of fuss.

It's a subtle, quiet engine given the sort of outputs on offer — there's a real woosh at full throttle and a bit of the turbo whinny when stepping off the right pedal, but extroverts will be sorting out the exhausts PDQ.

Anything more than that can see the rear-end skipped, stuttering and fighting to remain faithful to the direction of the front (dictated by sharp and meaty, if heavy steering) if the surface is uneven.

Add any moisture and the stability control system gets busier than a pub pokie room on pension day, and that's without the benefit of a dropped clutch.

The rear end is light and ye olde leaf-sprung rear end's penchant for wiggling — it's like Beyonce with too many short black coffees on board and in some ways more amusing.

The retention of the rear suspension is no doubt due to the desire for one-tonne Falcon ute models, something its immediate opposition doesn't have any more.

Despite the heritage-listed back end and 35-profile tyres, the ride quality isn't too bad — nothing a few big bags of sand in the tray would temper nicely.

Bolt a couple of big lockable toolboxes in the rear tray and that would work as well.

A surprise, given the astronomical performance potential, is the fuel use — Ford claim 13 litres per 100km, whereas we had numbers around 16, but given some of the enthusiastic driving a number in the 20s would have been likely in a V8.

The test car was a bit of minstrel in colour scheme — white paint, black highlights and tonneau and dark 19x8in alloy wheels, wrapped in 245/35 Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres.

Features on the F6's list includes dual front and side head/thorax airbags, a prestige audio system with 6-CD in-dash CD stacker and full iPod integration.

The test car is hauled to a standstill in eye-popping style by big cross-drilled and ventilated front discs, with optional Brembo six-piston calipers — standard fare is four.

The rear end gets and slightly smaller cross-drilled and ventilated rear discs with single piston calipers.

Complaints are few — rear vision when head-checking over the right shoulder for a lane change is largely pointless and the rear tailgate mechanism can be a little deadly on fingers.

The F6 ute is a not really a workhorse — it's too low-slung and without enough payload for real work — but as modern Australian-built muscle cars go its A-grade, with brawn to burn.

FPV F6 Ute
Price: from $58,990.
Engine: four-litre turbocharged DOHC 24-valve in-line six-cylinder.
Transmission: six-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive, with limited slip differential.
Power: 310kW at 5500rpm.
Torque: 565Nm at 1950-5200rpm.
Fuel consumption: 13 litres/100km, on test 16 litres per 100km, tank 81 litres.
Emissions: 311g/km.

HSV Maloo ute, from $62,550.


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Range and Specs

(base) 4.0L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $29,990 – 33,917 2009 FPV F6 2009 (base) Pricing and Specs
E 4.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $19,250 – 24,310 2009 FPV F6 2009 E Pricing and Specs
(base) 4.0L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $29,990 – 33,917 2009 FPV F6 2009 (base) Pricing and Specs
Stuart Martin
Contributing Journalist


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