Final Ford Falcon sold while Ford Escape SUV confirmed
IT'S a case of out with the old and in with the new for Ford, as the final Falcon rolls off the production line and the imported Escape SUV is confirmed for early 2017.
For the two events to occur in the same week perfectly illustrates the sad demise of both local manufacturing and Australia's desire for large sedans, while at the same time showing Ford's future as an importer and our insatiable desire for SUVs.
Looking to the future first, Ford Australia is adopting the global naming strategy of Escape for the new mid-size SUV, which will have a starting price of $28,490 before on-roads - cheaper than the current Kuga SUV it will replace - when it arrives next year. In effect, the Escape is an updated Kuga with a new name.
The range starts with the Ambiente model with front-wheel drive, 110kW 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine and manual gearbox. An auto version will cost $29,990 and an all-wheel drive auto $32,990.
Key spec for these entry levels are an 8-inch touch-screen, SYNC3 entertainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, embedded sat nav, dual zone climate, reverse camera, cruise control, push-button start and seven airbags.
Move into the Trend, starting from $32,990, and you have a choice of 134kW 1.5-litre EcoBoost FWD auto or 178kW 2.0-litre petrol and 132kW/400Nm diesel autos in AWD. These cars add 18-inch alloys, silver roof rails and auto wipers and headlights to the spec list.
Range-topping Escape Titaniums start from $44,990, both with AWD and auto gearbox and your choice of 2.0-litre petrol or diesel. These start from $44,990 and add 19-inch alloys, leather power and heated seats, Bi-xenon headlights, keyless entry, panoramic roof and power tailgate.
Fuel economy ranges from 5.5L/100km (2.0-litre diesel) to 8.6L/100km (2.0-litre petrol), while braked towing capacity is between 1500kg and 1800kg.
The Kuga-replacing Escape will join Everest and EcoSport in the brand's SUV range, while a large SUV based on the global Edge was recently confirmed for our shores in 2018.
Meanwhile, Ford Australia has auctioned the final saleable Falcon, Falcon ute, Territory and Falcon XR6 Sprint to raise money to support Broadmeadows and Geelong Communities.
Funding STEAM robotics programs at local colleges, $231,000 was raised at auction. A blue Falcon XR6 sedan realised $81,500, a grey Falcon ute XR6 Turbo brought $81,000 and a silver Territory Titanium diesel went for $68,500.
Star lot was the last of 500 Falcon Sprint XR6 in white, which had a maximum bid of $122,000 that will go to the charity Give Where You Live in Geelong. Ford will keep the absolute final Falcon, Falcon Sprint, Falcon ute and Territory in Australia, which are non-registerable, for public display at local museums and events.