MELBOURNE, Australia — Ford’s global reputation for vehicle dynamics and excellent road manners has received another significant boost with the entry of the FG Falcon MkII EcoBoost.
“The FG Falcon MkII provides drivers with precision, agility and confidence in every aspect of their vehicle’s handling performance,” said David Wilkinson, E8 Vehicle Line Director.
“From the outset we wanted to make sure the EcoBoost would deliver those same handling attributes our customers have come to expect from a Falcon but also, the added benefit of significant gains in fuel economy.
“The Falcon EcoBoost has the cross-country cruising comfort and performance of a large car with the fuel efficiency of a mid-size car.”
Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, Territory and the all-new Ranger have well-deserved reputations for providing drivers with fun-to-drive vehicles that deliver exactly what they expect at all times, he said.
“The new Falcon EcoBoost improves this even further at a time when consumers are increasingly facing rising fuel costs,” he said.
The new entrant didn’t take long to impress the Australian media.
“The EcoBoost four-cylinder at least gives Ford dealers some bragging rights in terms of economy over rival cars,” wrote Jez Spinks from CarAdvice.com.au.
“It's a winner. I would happily welcome an EcoBoost Falcon as my new company car and will recommend it to friends,” wrote Paul Gover on www.carsGuide.com.au.
The Falcon EcoBoost also impressed New Zealand media who were brought across for the launch.
“After several hundred kilometres in the lowest-spec EcoBoost XT on these roads - and a couple of hours playing on a country racetrack - the car was an absolute surprise. I'd take the new four-pot over the six in a second,” Matt Greenop, Editor, New Zealand Herald’s Driven.
During its development, Ford’s global high-tech EcoBoost engine went through rigorous local testing to meet the demands expected of Ford customers in Australia, he said.
Ford Australia was also able to access critically important engine testing data undertaken in other EcoBoost markets to ensure the engine was capable of handling the demands of Australian drivers while delivering fuel efficiency.
Apart from engine performance and fuel economy, Falcon EcoBoost models – XT, G6 and G6E – underwent demanding testing to ensure they met the dynamic expectations of Falcon customers familiar with the precision of Ford’s six-cylinder models.
Ford Australia engineers applied the lessons learned from the development of the highly acclaimed FG Falcon range, adapting and enhancing them for the Falcon EcoBoost during its three year development program.
The EcoBoost engine in the Falcon is the first rear-wheel drive application of the engine in Ford’s global EcoBoost family.
Like the FG Falcon six-cylinder, Ford Australia’s engineering teams spent thousands of kilometres behind the wheel of EcoBoost prototypes during exhaustive outback and cold weather testing.
This included repeated cold weather and altitude testing towing a trailer up and down Mount Hotham in Victoria’s high country to ensure the robustness of the drivetrain for local conditions.
“It wasn’t a case of just dropping in an EcoBoost engine into the Falcon body,” Ford Australia powertrain development manager, David Mitchell said.
“This is the first rear-wheel drive application of this technology so there were a number of challenges to ensure it met both Ford Australia’s standards and the standards our customers expect from an engine in a large family sedan.”
Mitchell said durability testing was also critical in the Falcon EcoBoost’s development.
“A great deal of durability work on the engine was done at our You Yangs Proving Ground and at our Geelong Research and Development Centre,” he said.
Early prototype vehicles were also subjected to harsh testing in central Australia as well as extensive hot weather testing in Arizona in the United States.
As part of this development process the vehicle’s air conditioning system was modified to suit the location of the air conditioning compressor on the EcoBoost engine. As well, a high efficiency air conditioning compressor has been installed, along with new liquid lines and electrical circuitry.
Enhanced engine sound characteristics, reduced in-cabin noise levels and improved exhaust sound quality are just some of the key areas that have been developed for the FG Falcon MkII EcoBoost.
The Falcon chassis underwent specific upgrades to its steering and suspension to accommodate the lighter mass of the EcoBoost engine, according to Vehicle Dynamics Manager, Alex de Vlugt.
During the development program, Ford engineers worked hard to ensure the XT, G6 and G6 EcoBoost models matched the ride and handling expectations of Falcon customers.
“We want the Falcon EcoBoost to be competitive with the best four-cylinder vehicles in the C/D segment from Japan and Europe but we also want it to be a game changer in the large car segment,” Mitchell said.