Ford Falcon XR8 road test
by Stephen Walker
16th March, 2010
Road Tests >
Not everyone is looking to fuel economy as a major factor
for their next car. There are just too many variables in the use of a car for one factor to override
others. Ute buyers tend to be amongst those who cannot buy on the basis of fuel economy alone. And if
you require some performance and/or sporting presence then you are fortunate to be in Australia. The
ute is still prized locally, unlike places such as Asia and Europe for example.
Ford compete in the sporty ute segment with different examples of their XR models. For this occasion,
we look at the Ford Falcon XR8 ute. The XR line-up offer buyers a dashing appearance and a range of
Nobody wants life to go too fast, but at least in a Falcon XR8 you can accelerate it too a degree.
The Falcon XR8 is fitted with a 5.4 litre V8 which produces some 290 kW of power to keep the driver
satisfied. The torque is a whopping 520 Nm. The test car had the optional automatic transmission.
A big 81 litre fuel tank is handy for long trips and it is good for city drivers too, keeping the
need for refills to reasonable frequencies.
The XR8 automatic ute has a conditional braked towing capacity of 2,300 kg which is very good for
this type of car.
Our motoring experience with the Ford Falcon XR8 ute involved 1,624 kilometres. We commenced our drive in
Sydney and took a 'run' to the NSW central coast and onto Newcastle before driving the ute to Melbourne.
There is plenty to enjoy with Ford's hot ute. The sporty presentation and the trendy colours are just
Inside the cabin you notice that all controls are convenient and our experience confirms they are
user-friendly. There's cruise control, 4-way adjustable steering column, a deep centre console storage bin,
a shallow bin behind the centre console suitable for coins or a mobile telephone, decent storage space
behind the seats for luggage, good interior lighting, sunglasses holder, alloy-look trimmings (including the
pedals) and quite comfy seating for two. The seats feature side bolsters and lumbar support. Leather seating
is available as an option, but we found the standard cloth seating quite nice.
Lots of options are availble to 'dress-up' the XR8, including a hard tonneau cover (which was fitted to
the test car). A good option to consider is side airbags. We'd like to see them included as standard.
From a driver's perspective, the Ford Falcon XR8 ute is a very user friendly environment. Additionally,
despite the sporty tone of the XR8's presentation, I found the ride qualities of the ute to be quite good.
Certainly not at all harsh like some sporty vehicles. The performance is easily managed, in the right hands
that is. But the XR8 has far too much power for an inexperienced driver. Of course, the tune played by the
mighty eight cylinders is quite harmonious when the engine is revving around the 3,000 to 3,500 rpm level.
Is this, in fact, the V8's finest quality?
But not everything is perfect with the FG series ute though. Vision over the driver's right shoulder is
very restricted. Extra precaution is required for lane changes when you're driving the ute.
Weighing up the pros and cons of the Falcon XR8 means an easy decision can be made when it's decision
time. Ford's top ute is a dreamtime drive, with a good-sized load bed, and its dashing looks will appeal
to the aesthetic senses of many folks.
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