Ford Australia claims its latest FG Falcon Mk II sedan and ute range is packed with more technologies and features than ever previously offered by the brand in this market sector.

The iconic ‘Aussie’ Falcon ute is going to need every bit of help it can get to keep its footing in a local ute/pickup market being flooded with an unprecedented number of imported full-chassis one tonners offering extra passenger vehicle features and refinement – including, ironically perhaps, Ford’s all-new PX Ranger.

Due to go on sale in December, the new FG MkII ute range will consist of three models – base XT workhorse, XR6 and XR6 Turbo.

Base model XT workhorse with dropside tray

Missing in the new line-up will be the unloved R6 model, which with subtle appearance and comfort upgrades was designed to bridge the gap between the base XT and up-spec XR models when introduced to the FG range in 2008. However, poor sales of the R6 sealed its fate.

It becomes the second Falcon Ute model to be axed,  following in the wheel tracks of the iconic XR8 which was sidelined last year (along with its sedan sibling) after Ford chose not to re-engineer the locally-built 5.4 litre DOHC Boss V8 for tough new Euro IV emissions laws. For XR8 ute buyers, this first round of Mk II announcements is a case of ‘no news is good news’.

Following a bigger than expected decline in Falcon ute sales, Truck Jungle was told by Ford Australia boss Robert Graziano that Ford had been forced to revisit this decision and consider a Mk II XR8 with a variation of the new Coyote V8 engine under the bonnet as a point of difference over the imports.

Expect a final decision on the V8 to be announced early next year, during the next round of Mk II announcements covering the EcoBoost four cylinder engine’s arrival in the passenger cars.

New ICC touch screen controls all main in-car functions

Major changes for the new FG Mk II Falcon Ute include:

  • New Interior Command Centre (ICC) with more user-friendly 8.0-inch colour touch screen multimedia interface, to control all the main in-car functions such as audio, phone etc.  Standard on XR6/XR6 Turbo, optional on base XT
  • New instrument cluster featuring revised design, graphics and improved functionality
  • New USB input facility to play MP3 audio files
  • Enhanced safety package with side-head/thorax (that’s the upper body area) airbags now standard on all Falcon Ute models
  • Dynamic  Stability Control (DSC) now standard on all Falcon Ute models
  • New exterior design appointments, including what Ford calls ‘tri-plane’ front end architecture with the now signature trapezoidal main grille design. XRs also get new high precision projector headlamps
  • New 18-inch alloy wheels on XRs, with new design 19-inch alloys available as part of the new optional Luxury Pack 
  • More effective dash, floor and body sound deadening package featuring increases to the inner dash insulator thickness and front floor sound barrier

XR6 with Styleside Box

 Although Ford appears to have significantly trimmed its Recommended Manufacturer’s List Pricing (MLP) for the FG MkII Ute range, it is more a case of bringing them in line with what was happening in showrooms anyway.

FG Mk II retail prices are now effectively aligned with the transactional prices of outgoing extra value packs and should provide a big boost to the artificially low and unfavourable resale figures generated by list prices that rarely applied in the real world. 

Combined with the added value of its new technology and features, Ford claims savings of more than $4500.00 for the base XT cab/chassis up to $5800.00 for XR6 Turbo:

XL (C/C)                $27,590

XL (SSB)                $27,990

XR6 (C/C)             $34,890

XR6 (SSB)             $35,190

XR6 Turbo           $39,190

Truck Jungle: Opinion

The Australian-designed and built Falcon Ute has never been better equipped or better value.

However, with such intense competition from imported, full chassis truck rivals that can tow and carry substantially greater loads, we think the Falcon Ute’s survival (just like its Holden VE Commodore nemesis) will rely more on appealing to the lifestyle buyer wanting a well-equipped and practical ‘sports car with a big boot’ (particularly the XR6 models) than the hard-nosed commercial shopper these days.

Yet Ford’s retention of a live rear axle and leaf springs, along with its wider choice of load carrying options over the ute’s rear chassis-rails due its cab/chassis design, remain major points of difference over the unibody styleside Commodore ute. TJ

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