New Name Reflects Sporting Character
Ford Australia has restructured its locally-built model line-up by introducing the Falcon XT as the entry level model of the new BA range.
"The Falcon XT has a real sports pedigree, with more power, Control Blade IRS, Sequential Sports Shift Transmission and a cockpit-style driving environment. We believe the name reflects the new character," Ford's Vice President Marketing and Sales Bruce McDonald said.
"The X links it to our XR Series which denotes the performance credentials inherent in every Falcon. The T is for touring and represents that Falcon is Australia's premier long distance car," Mr McDonald said.
The Falcon range now features two distinct sets of driving characteristics.
The Falcon XT and XR brands tap into Ford's rich motorsport heritage. The Futura and Fairmont draw down from the luxurious Fairmont Ghia.
In the new BA range, the Fairmont Ghia reaches new levels of luxury, while adding in a spirited edge to satisfy the enthusiast driver, with dynamic handling and performance credentials.
The interior of the sports models now boast exciting highlight colours against a darker Warm Charcoal trim. The luxurious Futura and Fairmont now feature a new, Stone trim to accentuate the new two-tone interior.
"Futura and Fairmont interiors are all about warmth, comfort and quiet, while the sports interiors are about energy, with vibrant finishes and trims," he said.
Mr McDonald said the strategy for BA Falcon was to start the model range with an aspirational vehicle and build from that base.
"Falcon XT is a car that will appeal to private buyers, but also to the user-chooser fleet buyer who is looking for something distinctive," he said.
"Falcon XT is a car that boast features normally lavished on high series vehicles, creating a truly aspirational vehicle that delivers on the driving experience
Falcon ? The Inside Story
Ford designers have combined quality craftsmanship with contemporary design cues to create a diverse range of cabin interiors that reflect the individual character of each model, from the vibrant, energising colours of the XT and XR range to the comfort and luxury of Futura, Fairmont and Fairmont Ghia.
"We have made quantum leaps in terms of the materials and technology available to us and that is reflected in the final product. The car is a real breakthrough in terms of quality and refinement," - Ford Interior Design Manager, Marcus Hotblack.
- Crisp contemporary design themes
- Wrap-around driver?s cockpit with sporty ambience
- Quality craftsmanship and materials throughout
- New comfort and convenience features
- Interior Command Centre
- Superior ergonomics
Modern fabrics and patterns combine with innovative surface treatments to give the cabin a luxurious yet light and airy feel.
The main feature of the dash is a new Interior Command Centre, a prominent centre stack containing a large LCD panel that gives information on air conditioning, the audio system, trip computer and time. On Fairmont Ghia, a premium quality colour screen is standard.
Marcus said the Falcon interior design process began with a series of intensive customer clinics to identify prevailing tastes and expectations.
"The end result is a design that is uniquely Falcon and uniquely Australian, but that also has the luxurious feel and look of prestige European offerings," he said.
"We wanted to create a cockpit feel, with all the necessary controls falling easily to hand, allowing the driver to concentrate on the road ahead."
To achieve the cockpit feel, the centre console was angled towards the driver and the gear shifter was moved rearwards.
"Interior design has important safety implications and things like Braille identifiers on switches and our class-leading wheel-mounted audio controls will help drivers stay focused and in control," he said.
"The changes make the driver feel at one with the vehicle.
"But we also ensured that the passenger was not left out of the picture, with easy access to environment controls, such as audio, satellite navigation, dual zone ventilation and interior lighting," he said.
A great deal of attention was paid to the tactile impact of controls in the car.
"We did a lot of work on the graining of interior surfaces and paid a lot of attention to the way the interior controls function. Things such as rubberised thumbwheel controls for the six large ventilation outlets create a real prestige feel," Marcus said.
Colour and Trim Design Manager Sharon Gauci said her team?s main aim was to create an interior that reflected the personality of its owner.
"We wanted each model variant to be special, from the look and touch of the materials to the finishes and detail," Sharon said.
That meant different treatments for each model?s interior.
"We decided that each interior design had to either soothe or excite," she said.
To that end, the entry level XT model now shares the sporty character of the XR range, while Futura and Fairmont are designed to suit family tastes.
"On Futura and Fairmont, our over-riding desire was to create an interior that exudes warmth, comfort and quiet ? a refuge from the demands of a hectic working life. For Ute and XR models, we have taken an entirely different approach and energised the interior with vibrant finishes and trims," she said.
The team also made a conscious effort to ensure that the interior trim patterns and surface treatments were not too busy.
"Part of the calming visual effect was to restrict the seat trim pattern to the seat cushions and not follow it onto the door trims.
"The colours and trims complement the surfaces and geometry of the interior design. They also create harmony between the interior and exterior design," she said.
A Dash of Style
Clean surfaces and modern styling cues give the Falcon dash an impression of quality and strength.
- Two distinct design themes
- Satin metal highlights
- Subtle woodgrain treatment
- Latest technology LEDs
"What we were looking to create was a crisp contemporary design overlaid onto a classic flowing architecture," Marcus said.
Part of that approach was to begin the dash design process with the entry level model, rather than the high series.
"We wanted to start with a truly aspirational entry level model and then add in additional features and style from there."
The XT has a sporty look with satin chrome highlights and a darker trim on the dash called Warm Charcoal.
The XR range carries the sports theme further, with metal finishes on the ventilation controls, blue LED lighting on the dash and a backlit XR logo on the speedometer.
The speedometer itself has a metal surround, giving it a similar look to men?s sports/diving watches. This treatment is also carried over to the Fairmont Ghia, which has a sports/luxury feel.
Meanwhile, the Futura provides a warm and relaxing environment, with a new, lighter Stone interior trim on the dash.
"Stone is a rich, warm and earthy non-grey with a hint of yellow and red undertones. Its inspiration was the Australian landscape," Sharon said.
This overall design theme is carried over to the Fairmont.
The prestige touches in the Fairmont and Fairmont Ghia dash include subtle woodgrain highlights designed to blend in with the interior trim. Other models have painted metallic highlights.
The woodgrain and metallic highlights enhance the door panels and the dash.
Ms Gauci said the woodgrain highlights had been given a modern interpretation, in keeping with the overall design theme.
"On Fairmont Ghia, the woodgrain has a grey base and maple finish, which gives it a less organic and more technical look in line with modern interior trends. With Fairmont we have again used maple but coloured it with a rich mahogany," she said.
On the Fairmont and Fairmont Ghia, the large oval clock and surround becomes a centrepiece, while the woodgrain spears create a calmer, horizontal visual effect.
All models feature a new ceiling trim panel finished in the new interior trim colour scheme of Stone. The surface treatment is a needlepoint, technical knit design with soft-touch texture. In addition to its sound absorbing properties, it imparts a high-quality look and feel.
Lighting the way
The instrument panel and Interior Command Centre lighting uses latest technology LEDs; green for entry level vehicles, blue for XR and white for Fairmont and Fairmont Ghia.
Similarly, the LCD readouts have green illumination on entry level vehicles and white for XR and high series.
The Interior Command Centre has a PC-style layout, with drop-down menus and cursors.
"The overall look of the ICC is similar to high range stereo systems, with its brushed aluminium look and high-tech read-outs," Marcus said.
The instrument cluster has more closely grouped dials that are easier to read in one sweep through the upper arc of the steering wheel.
The large tachometer and speedometer dials are spaced outward, while two smaller stacked, centrally-positioned circular gauges display water temperature and fuel tank information.
Gauge background and surround design varies by series, with speedo and rev counter increment markings different across entry level, XR and prestige models.
The priority with layout was for easy visibility for all drivers.
BA Falcon is able to offer such diverse instrument and dash design and detailing thanks to in-line vehicle sequencing component delivery systems.
This allows the production process to supply the correct dash for the model travelling along the production line, perfectly matching Futura dash to Futura body, Fairmont to Fairmont, etc.
A nice touch
Ford?s designers left nothing to chance with a deliberate and thorough policy of harmonising all switches, buttons and knobs to ensure a cohesive interior look.
In addition, the designers made great efforts to simplify the controls for the most intuitive operation.
- Consistent look and feel for controls
- Braille identifiers
- Minimum distraction to driver
- Larger ventilation outlets
- Tissue holder
The attention to detail extends down to the markings on dials as well as the grooves on switchgear.
Circular switchgear features radial grooves, while Braille identifiers on alternate audio switches help the driver or passenger locate a particular button without distraction.
The new-style steering wheel has additional buttons to provide increased auxiliary audio function control. Cruise control, where fitted, is operated entirely via steering wheel mounted buttons.
Braille markings are also embossed on the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning control switches and on the electric window switch control bank on the driver?s door armrest.
All switches either push on/off or rotate. Feedback from clinics suggested drivers don?t favour sliders. All switches have a consistent feel and weighting.
The translucent panels surrounding the audio control knobs and the CD entry slot are illuminated in green (XT and Futura), blue (XR) or white (Fairmont and Fairmont Ghia).
The lower centre console storage area incorporates a slot into which a pack of Kleenex Little Travellers tissues can be installed.
"The tissue-holder is unique for an Australian-made vehicle and demonstrates the attention to detail and customer focus behind the interior design," Marcus said.
A cigarette lighter is now optional: the 12V plug is dedicated to powering mobile phones or other accessories.
Ventilation outlets are larger than before, giving more effective cooling and heating, while each individual outlet can be closed via a rubberised thumbwheel complete with flow graphic. The wheels are larger than before and easier to operate.
The rubberised thumbwheel has a tactile quality, as do the satin-chrome interior door releases and gear shifter.
"Our aim was to have exceptional ergonomics," Marcus said.
The light switch control has been moved from the dash to the end of the indicator stalk, making it easy to locate without having to remove hands from the wheel. The on-off button for the cruise control has been moved onto the steering wheel.
The steering wheel itself has been redesigned also, with a thicker rim and a flat, grained centre housing the dual-inflator airbag.
Also new is the central mounting of the wheel on the steering column, so the wheel does not ride up and down as it is turned from lock-to-lock. This also helps reduce rattle and shake vibrations fed through the steering wheel rim.
New indicator stalks are fitted to all models. They are designed to protrude higher up on the wheel at the ten-to-two position many drivers favour, so they can be activated by fingers easily without having to completely remove the hand from the wheel. The previous stalks were set closer to the quarter-to-three position.
The left stalk operates the wipers and adjusts the dwell time for the intermittent wipe action, while the right stalk operates indicators and flash as well as hosting the main switch for the parking and dipped beam headlamps.
The previous dash-mounted switchgear has been deleted.
The dome light cursor switch has been moved to the centre console so the front passenger can also operate it, while the hazard warning lamp switch has also been removed from the top of the steering column.
"During clinic appraisal, it became clear that Australian drivers dislike the prominently-mounted orange warning triangle switch so we have moved it to the instrument panel housing where it can be reached with ease but is not visibly prominent," Marcus explained.
Behind the gear selector and ahead of the console box is a new style dual cup holder hidden by a pop-up flap
- Computer modelling used extensively
- Improved driver orientation
- Wide range of adjustment for seating positions
- Better visibility
Ford designers and engineers used three-dimensional modelling software called RAMSIS to determine the positioning of switches and controls.
The RAMSIS software allowed designers to create a virtual interior.
"They could see fingers curling around stalks and steering wheel rims, work out where thumbs would rest or how fingers would operate buttons and switches, as well as predicting eye-points within the car," Marcus said.
Using RAMSIS, designers were able to elevate the armrest fitted to the door trim, allowing for more elbow room for the driver.
Some other changes instigated as a result of the ergonomic review of the interior include:
- The new gear shifter has been moved 30mm closer to the driver, for more comfortable operation.
- The Interior Command Centre fascia is 40mm closer to the driver than the previous car for easier switchgear access.
- The centre console bin is now deeper and its lid holds business cards and a pen.
- The front seats have been moved inboard by 12mm each to provide greater shoulder room and provide space for the deployment of side airbags. As a result, the driver is now positioned more centrally behind the steering wheel and has a better view out past the A pillars. Moving the seats inboard also increases hand clearance and access to the new electric seat adjuster and the backrest adjuster.
- The recliner uses a new, smoother mechanism offering finer adjustment.
- Infinitely variable lumbar adjustment is now available, replacing a stepped adjuster.
- Front seat track travel has been increased by 24mm, 12mm fore and 12mm aft from the mid-point to cater to the 95th percentile male.
- The change adds an extra notch of travel each way on the track.
- Driver?s seat height adjustment range is now 50mm up by 10mm.
- Front seat cushions are mounted on a flexible mat rather than a steel pan for greater bump impact absorption.
- The centre and rear floor panels were redesigned to reduce NVH transmission, making in-car conversation easier.
- The revised rear seat now flips in one plane thanks to a single pivot at the base of the backrest. This design also allowed the engineers to provide for higher loadings for resistance to luggage intrusion.
- The boot now has a plastic scuff cover over the loading lip for enhanced protection and to maintain an attractive visual appearance.
- Gas strut mounting points for the bootlid have been upgraded to remove unsightly weld spots and steel plate junctions.
The Art of Craftsmanship
"Craftsmanship is the skill of enhancing the visual and tactile quality of a car through meticulous attention to detail and treating the customer as someone special." ? Barra Falcon?s craftsmanship project leader, Salman Shami.
"Craftsmanship is more than just a buzzword ? it's a mindset," says Mr Shami.
"Adopting a craftsmanship approach to BA involved a sizable commitment from the design teams, but it was one they adopted with a passion.
"We examined every single detail of the car and looked for ways to improve quality. Our aim was to ensure that every one of the customer's senses was satisfied by driving a new BA Falcon," Mr Shami says.
To assist in achieving a modern, uncluttered exterior, Ford teams worked hard to achieve high standards of surface quality, panel alignment and reduced panel gaps.
Typical of this approach was the decision to take the windscreen washer nozzles off the bonnet, moving them underneath the bonnet line.
"It made for a cleaner looking car, but also a quieter car. However, the existing washer jets weren't suitable for this application. We sourced a new nozzle that emits a fine mist of water that is much more efficient in keeping the windscreen clean."
The antenna was taken off the front fender and placed on the rear windscreen. Apart from the obvious aesthetic improvement, the on-glass antenna has resulted in a strong radio signal as soon as the stereo is turned on.
In addition, it cannot be damaged if an owner forgets to turn the radio off before entering a car wash.
"This feature is usually found only in expensive imported luxury cars. Again it was company wide commitment to quality that saw it approved," says Mr Shami.
To ensure a quality appearance, designers employed pressed aluminium rings to surround both headlights, and recessed side indicators to eliminate any gaps between the lens and the fender.
The front and rear windscreens use special, recessed seals to visually create a seamless transition between glass and metal.
All external touch and lift points received similar attention.
"Door handles were optimised to ensure the feel was comfortable and smooth. The handle to lift the rear deck lid was designed to ensure that it is smooth to the touch. To ensure good grip even in the rain, the handle uses a specially developed dimpled feature."
Doors are carry over, but the fit and finish has been improved. Ford invested considerable resources to narrow a margin by half a millimeter just to improve the crafted fit of the front door handles.
The all-new interior shows the benefits of the craftsmanship approach right across the model range, with an emphasis on making it plush and inviting.
The quality of materials received special attention. All cars get high-grade materials. In common with many more expensive cars the dashboard and upper part of the doors are draped in Thermoplastic Elastomer Polyolefin (TPO), which gives it an animal skin like texture, and feel. The grain is made using special high tech rollers, laser etched to apply a finely detailed grain.
Complementing the TPO is plush fabric for the seats and cut pile carpet for the floors even for the entry level. The new carpet is easy to clean.
Tastefully applied touches of satin chrome decorate the cabin and, in a subtle manner, "colour code" the touch zones for the customer ? the gear lever, door handles, door lock button on the driver's door and the four knobs on the entry level series Interior Command Center (ICC).
The satin chrome is not silver paint. Instead it is a deposit of real metal. This ensures it feels very smooth to the touch as well as cool on a cold morning and warm on a hot day.
All air outlets and their shut-off wheels were designed to move smoothly and consistently. The shut-off wheels are bigger, and coated in durable rubber with a texture to ensure ease of operation.
The ICC boasts two of these air outlets, and also houses the message display screen, stereo and temperature controls. A bank of high quality buttons and knobs designed to operate silently while providing good tactile feedback controls these features. High quality home hi-fi equipment was benchmarked for the feel.
The buttons have strategically placed pips to aid tactile recognition. All interior buttons feel like they belong to a family.
The steering wheel now has eight buttons that control the sound system as well as cruise control. The feel of the buttons matches the ICC. The steering wheel and rim was designed to feel smooth and to integrate with the design of the rest of the interior.
The satin chrome interior door handle was tuned to feel precise but robust and feel in synch with the external handle.
The gear shifter was carefully crafted with the sound and feel of the lever specifically tuned to maximise the quality feel. For sequential shifting the shifting logic was purposefully designed to suit performance drivers.
The speedometer cluster and most buttons are backlit using LEDs instead of bulbs for a consistent and uniform appearance as well as ensuring longevity.
Entry level cars emit a green light, XRs are blue and high series is white.
"The blue illumination on the XR looks rather special," Mr. Shami says.
The team even did a wash and vacuum exercise, cleaning a car inside and out to ensure that customers would not scratch themselves on any sharp points.
The engine bay received special attention. Instead of hiding the engine with a plastic cowl, the team opted for the more difficult task of improving engine aesthetics.
To ensure that the appearance of the engine actually matched its high tech cutting edge specifications and to reflect the justifiable pride of its owner, the individual engine components were styled by the studio.
The use of high tech plastics, innovative design of the coolant reservoir, colour and texture coding of components and careful attention to tooling has resulted in a clean and presentable engine bay.
The remote keypad has been similarly upgraded, ensuring improved functionality and reflecting the improved craftsmanship of the vehicle.
The team even tuned the frequency of the indicator blinks that signal the car is locked. They are now 30 per cent quicker.
Smart Features for a Smart Car
- Reverse Sensing System introduced on High Series
- Auto headlamps on/off on High Series
- DVD Satellite Navigation
- Improved audio and cruise controls
- On-glass antenna
- Controller Area Network (CAN) bus and multiplex wiring provide faster computer interaction
BA Falcons offer a host of user benefits, one of which is the adoption of a new Reverse Sensing System.
Standard on Fairmont Ghia and optional on Fairmont, Reverse Sensing System helps prevent damage to customers? cars caused by unseen obstacles and gives drivers extra peace of mind when reversing into tight parking slots.
The parking assistant uses a quartet of sensors that emit warning signals through the stereo system?s speakers (separate speaker on Fairmont).
If the Ghia?s audio system is in use the sound is muted while the car is reversing and the sonar alarm sounds.
Reverse Sensing System is automatically enabled when reverse is selected and reads the distance between the vehicle and obstacles in its reversing path.
The system warns of obstacles that are approximately between 1850mm and 450mm from the rear of the vehicle. The warning tone sounds ever more rapidly as the distance closes.
A continuous tone is adopted when the gap is reduced to 450mm or less.
This safety distance allows for towbar protrusion. The system is automatically disabled when towing.
The colour-coded sensors are discretely mounted in the lower section of the rear bumper facia.
The sensors emit short ultrasonic pulses, calculating the distance the vehicle is from the object.
The outboard pair of sensors provide 500mm of coverage around the side of the vehicle as well, useful for avoiding gateposts when reversing out of a driveway.
However, Reverse Sensing System does not remove the need for drivers to be careful while moving in reverse.
DVD-based Satellite Navigation
Ford?s feature-laden BA family also offers the latest state-of-the-art DVD-based satellite navigation system.
Included along with vocal guidance and destination route planning come enhanced point-of-interest listings as well as an infrared remote control handset that can be used by the driver or passengers.
A speed lockout restricts inputs to the system when the vehicle is moving.
DVD-based mapping allows for more detailed maps, faster route planning including rerouting after missed turns, and improved capacity for data storage, ensuring greater detail such as the extra points of interest information.
These include petrol stations, banks, restaurants, hotels, travel agents, business facilities and historical monuments.
The main display screen is integrated into the centre console and uses TFT laptop computer screen technology to provide a super-clear full colour display.
The screen can be split to provide a map and turn-by-turn information, as well as a zoom feature for particularly tricky navigating.
Directions are given by voice via the car?s audio system as well as ?turn-by-turn? on the display.
Satellite navigation is available as an option across the BA.
Remote entry update
From an aesthetic and user-friendly point of view the separate remote central locking fob has been redesigned to be even easier to use.
The buttons for lock/unlock have been relocated in the casing, and the two stage locking system can be pre-set by the driver.
Two-stage unlocking allows the driver to unlock either just the driver?s door or all doors with a single push of the button.
The panic alarm button has also been recessed into the remote fob to help prevent unintentional triggering.
On Ghia models, the remote fob also stores memory information such as the settings of the seats, mirrors and Power Adjustable Pedals.
Audio and ICC security
The ignition key transponder also initiates another security check, by sending a signal to the Powertrain Control Module to provide power to the audio system, once the PCM has determined the correctly matched audio system is installed.
The audio system emits a unique code at start-up that has to match a pre-programmed code held in the PCM memory. If the code is incorrect the audio system will refuse to work, rendering it useless.
After a battery disconnection, the security code for the radio does not need to be re-installed, saving inconvenience for drivers and owners who may have misplaced the back-up card with the radio code inscribed.
The Interior Command Centre module is also protected by the same coding system that prevents stolen modules being swapped from car to car.
The ICC security code is buried deep in the unit?s electronic memory and does not rely on battery function to continue to work.
Audio and cruise control button upgrade
Falcon?s steering-wheel-mounted button feature has been enhanced for greater customer benefit with the arrival of the BA family.
The audio (and cruise control where fitted) buttons now number four per side, with the addition of a ?mode? button for the audio and an 'on/off' for the cruise.
The mode button allows drivers to cycle through AM, FM and CD options, as well as being able to change discs and tracks.
The cruise control on/off button has been relocated from the end of the indicator stalk, which is now the main lighting switch.
The overspeed warning system is once again incorporated into the wheel buttons as a sub menu. To activate, the mode button is pressed continuously for three seconds and the speed is adjusted by pressing the + or ? buttons.
Audio and accessories
Ford has recognised the keenness of Australians to adopt new technologies and has added an extra auxiliary input cable to each audio system to allow customers to plug MP3 players or Walkman cassette players into the high-quality standard BA audio systems.
The plug is connected via an easy-to-use under-dash connector.
Fairmont and Ghia models are fitted with an ?auto headlights? feature that allows drivers to select a setting that automatically illuminates the dipped beam headlamps when a predetermined light level is reached.
A light sensor mounted on the dash controls the auto setting.
Dipping door mirror
Fairmont Ghia drivers are provided with an intelligent passenger door mirror that dips to reveal the kerb for reversing manoeuvres.
The electronics are contained within the package that provides for memory seat settings.
BA Falcon owners can say goodbye to broken radio masts with the adoption of an on-glass antenna across the range.
Developed specifically for all Australia reception environments, the antenna has been finessed to provide excellent performance on both AM and FM radio bands.
In addition, special pulse filters have been fitted to all BA radio systems to help reduce interference that commonly degrades reception within inner-city areas.
Another benefit of the on-glass application is that the unsightly mast is gone from the front mudguard removing the need for a hole in the panel as well as eliminating a key NVH generator.
Multiplex and CAN bus
BA Falcon debuts multiplex wiring that is used as the carrier system for the data required by the Controller Area Network, the BA?s main electronic nervous system.
This links the main on-board computers, allowing them to communicate their status and report faults. These include the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), Body Electronics Module (BEM), heater integrated module, instrument cluster, audio system and traction control.
The super high-speed link also allows the traction control system to pass requests from the ABS modulator to the Powertrain Control Module for a spark or fuel supply reduction to limit wheelspin or slip.
The high-tech communications system also allows the implementation of smart user-friendly features such as speed-dependent audio volume control.
The audio module that receives vehicle speed data from the Powertrain Control Module via CAN controls this.
CAN electronics also underpin the operation of speed-dependent windscreen wipers, varying the intermittent wipe speed as vehicle speed rises or falls.
The use of the CAN bus network also allows a smarter and faster trip computer.
The advanced CAN bus system also allows far more detailed reporting and storage of faults should they occur, helping to cut down service and fault finding times.
New Falcon's a Breeze
- All new, more efficient HVAC system
- Dual zone climate control for high series
- 14-speed fan for entry level car
- Higher flow ducts for faster cool down/warm up
- New one-touch A/C Max and Demist functions
- New lap coolers for front occupants
- Enhanced rear seat outlets
- Standard lint and optional pollen filters
BA Falcon drivers and passengers will now relax in perfect climatic comfort thanks to the development of a significantly improved and easily operated heating, cooling and ventilation system.
Run by a microprocessor, the system is able to cool or heat more quickly due to the adoption of larger compressors and heat exchangers, while new ventilation outlets and redesigned airflow channels brings the hot or cold air to occupants faster.
The system operates more quietly, enhancing the feeling of luxury and serenity within the cabin.
It introduces dual zone climate control on high series cars while even entry level cars have a 14-speed fan and semi-automatic cool-down and demist functions.
A lint and airborne debris filter is standard fit while a pollen filter is an option across the range.
The new HVAC system works harder than before blowing 150 litres of air per second into the cabin, 30l/s more than the previous system, helping to increase cool-down rates.
Performance of the compressor, evaporator and condenser has been increased by 10 percent to improve cooling speed and temperature while a larger and more powerful heater system with a larger core provides faster warm up.
By offering a 14-speed fan setting on entry level cars, Ford?s engineers provide greater driver and passenger control of the cabin environment.
The finer differences between settings also incorporate a higher fan speed than the previous system (which had just four coarser settings), as well as the reduction in fan noise.
The actuators that direct the warm or cool air to the outlets are now electronically controlled, replacing the previous vacuum system and providing quieter operation.
The air delivery system has been totally redesigned to achieve a higher airflow and to cope with increased velocity.
The cross-sectional increase in duct size and larger outlets on the dash, as well as the introduction of lap cooler vents in the lower dash housing, provide a greater spread of air (known as a plume) to front passengers.
Rear passengers continue to enjoy ventilation via dual outlets in the rear of the centre console, now enlarged to increase cool-down or warm up rates.
New user-friendly features
A neat new feature provides warm air to the rear outlets when the system?s mode setting is switched to direct warm air to the front footwells. The rear outlets can then be directed downwards for rear feet warming.
The new HVAC also has a new set of control knobs and switches, designed to be more intuitive and user-friendly.
To enhance this still further, two switches are programmed to operate the most commonly desired settings, one for rapid cool down and one for demist.
These occupant benefits are possible thanks to the new generation microprocessor controller fitted on both high and entry level models.
The adoption of dual zone climate control air conditioning on higher series models affords individual settings for both driver and front passenger.
BA Falcon upgrades are not only concerned with safety and enhanced driver features, but also provide a more comfortable cabin environment for occupants, especially allergy sufferers.
A new dealer-fitted particulate air filter prevents pollen and other fine airborne particles entering the cabin and irritating the sinuses or other allergy centres causing occupant discomfort.
The ventilation system is now fitted with an airborne debris filter that restricts coarse dust and leaf particles from being drawn into the fresh air inlet ducts.
It also helps extend the ventilation system?s working life and boosts its effectiveness.
The filter is easily cleaned either at regular service intervals by the dealer or more frequently by the owner in dusty or dirty operating environments.
Technology with a Human Touch
BA Falcon represents a revolution in the interior design of Australian cars.
- All new dashboard and Interior Command Centre
- TFT colour screen for DVD Satellite Navigation
- LED dash illumination
- Audio upgrade with integrated high-tech security
All Falcon models including Ute feature a new Interior Command Centre; a prominent centre stack that contains a large, legible display panel that reports on the status of the audio, heating and ventilation systems.
The range-topping Fairmont Ghia uses a TFT full-colour screen and adds advanced trip computer functions.
A new DVD-based satellite navigation system is part of the BA program, controlled via a hand-held infrared remote control.
The Interior Command Centre?s appearance is styled with an eye to the look of high-end European home audio systems and can be compared with some luxury European car consoles, which sell in Australia for significantly higher prices.
ICC?s emphasis is on ease of operation with intuitively designed switch location and clear labelling. Switchgear feel and actuation is high-class, with fingertip push operation. All switches and actuators are single sourced for consistency of feel and operation.
There are four different Interior Command Centre versions, one for entry level, one for entry level with optional satellite navigation, one for Fairmont, and one for Ghia.
LED displays illuminate the instrument panel and Interior Command Centre switches, providing indefinite working life and reliable light output. The illumination is green for XT and Futura, blue for XR and white for Fairmont and Fairmont Ghia.
Entry Level Interior Command Centre
The entry level ICC LCD screen reports on audio and HVAC operating status as well as providing a digital clock.
On the lower lip of the LCD surround are six buttons that operate the audio system presets for radio frequencies and CD track selection.
Set into the lower ICC panel are five flush fitted, identically sized and shaped push buttons for audio control, flanked at either end by a large knob.
The right hand knob controls on/off and volume, the left is split into two hemispheres, one for CD track shuttling and one for radio tune scrolling.
Immediately below the radio controls is the single CD slot, back illuminated with a centre hotspot that fades towards the edges of the slot.
Below the CD slot, two large control knobs operate the HVAC.
The left knob controls temperature, with the air conditioning on/off button recessed slightly at its centre.
The right knob controls fan performance across 14 speed settings and has the recirculate button mounted in its centre.
Between the two knobs are two rows of three flush-fitted switches - similarly sized to the radio switches. These control the ventilation flow as well as rapid demist and rear screen heater elements.
At the base of the entry level ICC there are two small circular buttons, centre-mounted, one for central locking lock/unlock and the other for dome light control,
to enable passengers to activate the light as well as the driver.
Hold the new dome light switch down for five seconds and it disables the door courtesy lamps. This means customers can open the doors without the lamps illuminating at night and possibly waking sleeping children.
The entry level ICC with optional satellite navigation replaces the mono LCD screen with a larger TFT colour screen that displays audio, ventilation and time information but can also be switched to display route guidance information.
High Series Interior Command Centre
The high series Fairmont ICC layout resembles an expensive home hi-fi unit, thanks to its brushed aluminium look facia panel.
Both Fairmont and Ghia boast an elegant analogue clock in an ovoid case mounted above the two large ventilation outlets set atop the ICC.
Fairmont?s ICC features a large format mono LCD screen that displays audio, dual zone climate control and trip computer readouts as well as outside temperature.
Trip meters are standard across the range. Entry level cars display the information on the instrument panel digital readout, while high series car relay this information via the ICC screen.
BA?s trip computer offers instant displays of distance to empty, average speed, average fuel consumption, instant fuel consumption and trip time. The auto headlights on/off feature is standard on Fairmont.
Below the LCD screen sits a long row of flush black plastic audio control buttons with a silvered knob in the centre of the row operating on/off and volume.
The top row of buttons also contains the CD slot while a separate row below has a larger but similarly flush row of seven buttons to operate the climate control.
Below this row sits a quartet of smaller, identically-sized silvered flush circular buttons for traction control on/off, central locking, dome light and the trip computer scroll button with a smaller reset function button slightly offset.
For the top of the range Ghia, the ICC?s physical layout is identical to Fairmont with the exception of the insertion of a TFT colour screen to replace the mono LCD.
This provides high colour graphics for the audio, trip computer and HVAC operating status.
Other BA models specified with optional sat-nav use this TFT colour screen as well.
Audio system upgrade
BA Falcon ICC systems are programmed to work only in the vehicle to which they were fitted at the factory. This applies equally to the ventilation system head unit as much as the audio system components.
The audio head unit is programmed to check with the Body Electronics Module and Powertrain Control Module each time before switching on.
This will help deter thieves from removing the radio in the first place since the audio system will not work in another car.
Music lovers will enjoy their favourite tracks at optimum volume irrespective of the driving environment thanks to speed-dependent volume control that increases volume to compensate for road noise.
AM station listers will receive crisper reception thanks to new circuitry that dials out interference. In addition the new, on-glass antenna removes the possibility of car wash damage and the replacement cost.
Modern music is available from a variety of systems so there is an auxiliary input to plug in a PlayStation or MP3 player to run through the car?s speakers. This plug is located under the dash and requires only a simple connection to be made.
There are three levels of factory-fitted audio:
Single in-dash CD, LCD screen, auxiliary input for MP3/PlayStation, improved security, speed dependent volume control, AM noise reduction, 100W output.
Adds Multi-CD in-dash.
Adds to Prestige system with: Colour TFT display, digital signal processing offering a choice of sound modes and CD compression that cancels out road noise.
BA Falcon?s speakers are connected to the audio system but also provide delivery of spoken navigation instructions.
When these are issued, the sound level is biased towards the front of the car and the audio system mutes.
The rear speakers on Ghia also double as the audible warning for the Reverse Sensing System that chimes in over the audio system.
Fairmont optioned with Reverse Sensing System employs a separate, rear-mounted speaker.
New Falcon Promises a Seat Treat
All-new designs, luxurious trims and standard power adjustment across the range highlight the dramatic changes to seating in the new Falcon.
Barra Falcons will have all-new seats with four-way power adjustment as standard, with the range-topping Fairmont Ghia featuring six-way memory adjustment.
The four-way adjuster controls the height and tilt angle of the seat cushion for greater personal comfort. It will be the first time Forte and Futura models have offered power adjustment.
Fairmont Ghia?s six-way adjuster adds the convenience of powered fore and aft movement.
Comfort behind the wheel was a key priority of the Barra development team and the front and rear seats have been completely redesigned to deliver for the customer.
All front seats will feature manually adjustable lumbar support.
Ford devised the new seats using considerable feedback from customers. There are simple, clean lines and richer fabrics.
Greater cushion height adjustment and increased fore and aft track travel also improves comfort, while attention to detail will improve the backrest recliner mechanism action.
Passenger seats with manual adjustment have an easier to use fore/aft travel adjuster.
All seat tracks will have plastic covers for improved visual presentation.
The new seats will feature upright, formal architecture, with wide, soft bolsters, guaranteeing better lateral support to hold occupants in place.
Improved contours and backrest height provide greater comfort.
Head restraints will be bigger and positioned higher up for greater rear impact safety.
The level of detailing is consistently high throughout the interior with map pockets and grained plastic covers on the seat backs.
The seat trim is attached to the foam pads by a new method that holds the material more tautly in the seam grooves using a new hook and loop system that is similar to Velcro.
This method was devised to provide seats that were not only more comfortable, but also more durable.
In the rear, the seat shape and squab angle will be improved for greater comfort while a vibration isolation mat with flat springs is inserted into each seat cushion to help enhance the high levels of vehicle refinement in Barra.
Using computer-aided engineering, the seats have been tuned to match body and floor vibration modes that also dial out unwanted vibrations.
The redesign of the 60/40-split fold mechanism will offer more secure location. The centre armrest is bigger and will feature two integrated cup-holders.
Terrific Trims *
New luxury velour seat covers, contemporary trim patterns and a choice of interior colours show an attention to detail on new Barra Falcon that's sure to impress.
Grey will be banished and replaced by the stone family, with ?Warm Charcoal? the darker black. Two-tone trim is available with Warm Charcoal and Stone on Forte, or an all-Stone two-tone effect on other models. Warm Charcoal is available throughout for those customers wanting a classic monochromatic interior.
"Stone is a rich, warm and earthy non-grey with a hint of yellow and red undertones that works well in Australia," says Ford's Colour and Trim Design Manager, Sharon Gauci.
Warm Charcoal ? a hue that originated at Jaguar ? carries over from the Series III.
The colour is strong enough to convey blends of sporting, luxury or family values depending on the trims with which it is matched.
"Careful choice of materials and textures have ensured the new Falcon will offer an impression of visual elegance, supported by strong tactile sensations," Gauci said.
Each model will have its own individual colour scheme, pattern and texture, while the top of the range Fairmont Ghia seats will come with standard leather and a broader, more imposing look and feel.
All trim materials ? vinyl, cloth and leather ? will be sourced within Australia.
Forte, Futura and Fairmont seats will have bolsters for backrest and cushion, with the seat centre sections divided horizontally by deep seam lines.
(* Please note that this release was previously issued on Wednesday, April 17, 2002)
The three-panel backrest and three-panel cushion design will be identical across the three non-leather trimmed models, with the material varying according to model.
Each model will be offered with a choice of two interior colour schemes, the seat fabric reflecting the colour theme of the dashboard and door trims.
Seat trims will be finished with a soft velour fabric, with a sensational nap and sheen. The bolsters carry a plain colour, while the centre sections are patterned.
In Forte models, the centre panels will have a dark, boxed geometric pattern that contrasts with the stone or black background.
"This trim has a luxury feel to it. The fabrics have a pile with some nap and sheen that mirrors the glossy cosmetic and fashion trends," Gauci says.
"The Forte trim is strong, sporty and business-like."
Futura will boast a slightly softer velour-like trim with greater napping effect thanks to a different fabric construction.
"There?s an almost transparent, three-dimensional overlapping pattern to the insert facing panels," Gauci says.
The impression will create visual depth, conveying the experience of the plusher feel with a more affluent look.
In Fairmont, the seat trim will have greater texture, along with a subtler boxed pattern for the seat cushion and backrest inserts.
Larger bolsters with a softer feel, in line with the more luxurious Fairmont?s positioning, will be offered.
Fairmont Ghia will have an all-leather seat as standard in Warm Charcoal or Stone or, as a no-cost option, there will be a cloth insert style bound by leather bolsters.
The cloth insert, in Warm Charcoal, Stone or black to match the bolsters and interior, is a flat woven fabric with a sporty European feel, shot through with a bright silver highlight thread.
The leather covers are simple and elegant with double needle stitching to enhance the high-grade luxury feel. The feel and texture of the leather is a significant step forward to improving the luxury look and feel.
This styling characteristic will mirror today's popular detail finishes on high fashion leather goods such as handbags and hand-made shoes and boots.
The Ghia seats will have a more contoured bolster with a larger shape cushion. The Ghia?s headrest is also individually styled to differentiate from the other models.
All seat fabrics used on Barra family cars have undergone a lint retention test to ensure they don?t attract and hold fluff and other debris that adversely affect the appearance of the interior.
The seat fabric is prepared in-house at the Ford assembly plant on newly installed, state-of-the-art computer controlled cutting machines.
The laser cut fabric is then sent next door to the Air International seat factory on the Broadmeadows site, where the seat is assembled on an in-line vehicle sequence delivery plant to ensure a smooth integration with Ford Australia's assembly line.