While we wait with bated breath for the next incarnation of the Ford Falcon (little birds tell us some time next year), perhaps now is a good time to revisit the XR8 ute.
Despite all the fuss about dwindling fuel reserves and the availability of a turbocharged 6 cylinder engine for the Falcon ute, the V8 is still a highly desirable engine and the XR8 still a highly desirable vehicle. Why?
You can point to the generous tray — 1818mm long, 1154mm wide and 410mm deep and, yes, the XR8 has good towing capacity (2300kg for an automatic with heavy duty towbar and load levelling kit, 1600kg without) and, yes, you can stuff things into the cabin behind the bucket seats if you really have to, but there’s more to it than that.
There are the 5.4-litre, V8’s 260kW and 500Nm peak power and torque ratings. Combine these figures with the slick ZF 6-speed auto with clutch-less manual sports shift as well as traction control, and the Falcon easily offers bark and bite at the same time. But there’s even more to it than that.
Sophisticated sports suspension
There’s the sophisticated sports suspension which turns the load lugger into a hot handler with some serious carrying capacity — but there’s even more to it than that.
As to specification, the XR8 boasts an impressive array of driver comforts and conveniences such as cruise control, dual airbags, remote central locking, Smartshield security system, a restraint control module, and adjustable lumbar support for driver and passenger. But there’s even more to it than that.
The X-factor of the XR8 is its visual appeal. And this is a visually appealing vehicle.
It sits low on the road and has that awe-inspiring bonnet bulge which, when you see it approaching in your rear vision mirror, good sense should tell you to move left. The fact you can barely see the driver behind that bulge should give you even more encouragement.
However, the bonnet bulge is not merely there for show. It is actually a critical element of the XR8’s design, as it was the only way Ford’s design teams could get the powerhouse Barra engine into the car!
But you have to look at the XR8 Falcon for what it is — an aspirational ute. This is a vehicle that sends a message through its design and presence.
For the target market — namely the trade — an XR8 lets all and sundry know that your business is in good shape and, furthermore, it still has your hand on the tiller.
You could have bought anything, but you actually bought a good looking, powerhouse of a ute which is still able to carry the essential items of your trade.
At $53,990, the XR8 is the top of the tree when it comes to the Falcon ute line-up.
But that $53k buys you quite a statement about the health of your business and one heckuva fun vehicle to drive!