What do a little bear’s bed, a breakfast cereal, and the Ford Falcon XR6 all have in common? All feel ‘just right’.
As you’re probably aware, not much has changed in the transition to FG X, but it’s a good opportunity to re-acquaint ourselves with what could be the pick of the range.
So what is new? Well, there’s the looks. As ever with questions of design, attractiveness is largely up to the individual, but we reckon the new face and Jaguar-esque rear end do a brilliant job of making the Falcon look fresh.
Inside, it’s a case of business as usual bar the new SYNC2 infotainment system that includes sat-nav, Bluetooth audio streaming, digital radio and Wi-Fi.
Mechanically, there’s not much to write home about, either. You’re limited to the venerable 4.0-litre inline-six in 195kW/391Nm petrol or 198kW/409Nm EcoLPi form, the latter only available with the six-speed ZF automatic.
Morley reckons the biggest problem with the XR6 is that you can get a Turbo for not a whole lot more. He has a point, as the basic XR6 is never going to give the acceleration hit straight-line junkies crave, but there are a couple of reasons why the atmo toiler is worth a look.
Firstly, adding a snail brings the price tag up by more than $7000, no small sum. And then there’s the chassis. Unlike some other models in the FG X range, the XR6 hasn’t had any suspension tweaks, so its setup remains identical to FG Mk II.
But that’s no bad thing, because there wasn’t a lot wrong to begin with. In terms of the crucial ride and handling balance, the XR6 is just about ideal, not paunch-jigglingly stiff like the XR8 but firm enough to keep everything under control when the going gets twisty or bumpy.
The extra grunt of the blown six (or eight) can also sometimes ask questions the Falcon’s ageing platform can’t answer. With less weight over the nose and less power to contend with, the XR6 allows the driver to control the chassis like a conductor does an orchestra.
Neat and tidy or wild and lairy, either option is available, as the Barra six has j-u-s-t enough power to overwhelm the rear tyres in the dry, and on slippery surfaces it’s a drifter’s delight.
It’s not the most inspiring engine around, though, and it’s a shame the auto doesn’t match revs on downshifts. Making an EcoBoost XR6 would solve both problems, but it appears that one will remain a pipe dream.
The biggest improvement the FG X has brought, however, is to the bottom line. At just $36,090, the basic XR6 manual is $3900 cheaper than before – it’s actually the cheapest FG X you can buy!
The automatic has had less of a haircut, but at $38,290 it’s still $2700 less than FG Mk II and represents excellent value.
At this price point the old interior and questionable build quality are less of an issue and you’re left with a big, comfortable Aussie sedan that can tow a boat and swallow a family, yet still entertain the driver. Just right.
Engine: 3984cc inline-6, DOHC, 24v
Power: 195kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 391Nm @ 3250rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual/6-speed automatic
Weight: 1748kg (manual)
0-100km/h: 7.2sec (estimated)
Top speed: N/A
Fuel consumption: 9.0L/100km (manual)
Price: from $36,090