I’m going to miss the big Ford once it’s finally killed off…
Far be it for me to speculate far and wide about what’s going to be in the final Falcon. Though I was part of the team that helped the FG through the prototyping, testing and launch stages (which is now about six years ago!), without really knowing about the total budget available to the engineering team behind the project, it’s hard to think what new goodies could be included. But hey, I’ve never let that sort of stuff stop me and my opinion. So, here goes.
Initially, I had figured that since the sales of the current model was declining, there wouldn’t be too much of an effort put into this final upgrade. But, I think my assumption might have initially been misled and just plain wrong. Without a doubt, the FG was never going to be thoroughly reengineered by Ford. It doesn’t have the sales numbers to warrant such an investment and Ford doesn’t have the money to do so anyway.
What the FH (presumably its designation, though it could be FU for all I care) will be, is a facelift. Not a botox and patch up, more along the lines of what the Commodore received in the shape of the VF. The front and back will definitely fall in line with Ford’s new design language, octagonal grille, thin, sweeping headlights to the front wheel arches and a rear end that will look similar to the Mondeo/Fusion that has been as “coming soon” since 2013.
Mechanically, there won’t be much difference in the car. Aside from fuel economy tweaks, the power and torque produced by the straight six engine should remain the same, both in forced induction and naturally aspirated form. The EcoBoost turbo four, the newest addition to the powertrain should also remain the same in output and fuel economy. The biggest debate will be the output of the carryover supercharged V8. Knowing that FPV’s special edition GT-F has a peak power output of 351kW, there is no way that Ford would allow that to be equalled. So, my guess is that the final output will likely be the 335kW tune in the current GT or, slightly less likely, the 315kW tune in the GS.
In the other important mechanical aspects, such as the transmission, I would expect no change to the choices of a six speed manual or automatic. The chassis might well be moderately improved in trends of handling, but without a big budget engineering change, it’s a matter of fiddling around the edges. I would expect that the GT RSPEC suspension package is attended to the turbo six and V8 models though, for better grip and traction.
I suspect that the interior is the place where the most work is needed. It’s not that it’s a bad interior, just an old one. It remains quite functional, but it hasn’t agreed as gracefully as I thought it would upon first sight. I’d expect the centre dash and console area, as well as the steering wheel to be revised somewhat, with a new look and hopefully, better materials and fit and finish. I would also expect some more electronic gadgetry, though the self parking thing is doubtful to make it into the Falcon. I would like to see voice commands ala SYNC to make it into the car, as well as better display technology and that sort of thing, not that the Falcon is really deficient in these measures anyway.
So, the final Falcon, sadly, will be a simple facelift, some plastic surgery to keep it fresh and saleable until late 2016, when the plant winds down. Then, both it and the mildly updated Territory will go the way of some other great cars, into automotive heaven.