2003 Ford Falcon BA XR6 ute 4.0L straight 6 cylinder from Australia and New Zealand


Cheap way to get a fast, good handling and comfortable new car


Brake shudder, fuel tank restraints loose, fuel pump sender float replaced.

General Comments:

I purchased this car off Ford as an "executive driven car" as the "executive" was a friend. The car was six months old. Purchase price was $29500 with the retail and on road costs of a new Ute at about $38000. Sale price after 18 months from new was $25500.

The Australian market has been flooded with BA falcons so I experienced a high short-term depreciation. If I were buying another BA I would buy privately or through an auction group.

All of the things that have gone wrong with the car were replaced under warranty without any problems during the scheduled services.

Note that factory dealers for all the car-makers will fix faults with your car (including those that you might not have noticed) which the car-maker has found after launching the vehicle. Most of these problems are at the cost to Ford's suppliers. This is what happened when the fuel pump unit was replaced in my car. Apparently some of the floats in the early build BA falcons were being dissolved by the fuel. The dealer replaced this at the 1000km service. I'd suggest always going to a dealer for the warranty services.

From what I have been told by one of Ford's manufacturing engineers the brake shudder has been a major problem with BA's built between Sept '02 to the end of '03. It effects about 20% of BA falcons built during this period. My understanding is that since the AU falcon's brakes weren't very good the brake power of the BA was increased lots. However the increase of the brake power was too much for the tolerances they have been machining the disks to so the discs wear unevenly causing the shudder. On my car the discs were machined at 15000kms and 30000kms. At the 30000kms service they also did something that made the brake pedal feel less sensitive. The car still had good stopping power though. If you will be buying a BA falcon that is out of warranty I'd suggest checking old service records to see if the brake discs have been repeatedly machined. Replacement discs are really expensive.

The fuel tank restraints loosening caused the tank to shift slightly so the filler nozzle didn't line up correctly with the fuel door. Not a big problem, but a nuisance during filling.

The XR6 BA Ute is a wonderful vehicle and I wouldn't hesitate in getting another (although I'm in the UK now so I can't). The engine is great, smooth with heaps of power and a good sound.

The interior is ergonomic, comfortable and looks good. The air conditioning is great, but can be a little too much sometimes since the Ute's cabin size is small. The air conditioning compressor is very noticeable when it comes on by the reduction in the engine power.

Sporty suspension, a little too hard over bumps when driving sedately, but if you're pushing it the body roll is minimal and the tyres keeps on gripping. Very predictable when driven on the limits. The leaf springs and rear axle don't cope well with bumpy roads unless there is something heavy in the back tray.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd June, 2004

2003 Ford Falcon GT-P 5.4L V8 - 290 KW from Australia and New Zealand


Mike Tyson in a Hugo Boss suit


Nothing so far. It was a demonstrator, so it had about 7000 Km on the clock at delivery. If there were any new car "bugs" to be ironed out - they seem to have been attended to already.

General Comments:

Gotta love the sound of a 290KW beast on full noise. Though the car is a bit on the heavy side (1700+ Kg), you'll never feel it with so much torque and outright power on tap.

Handling for a big heavy car is surprisingly lithe too. It manages to feel light - but really well planted at the same time - nice work!

Not as skittish at speed as the HSV was. Doesn't "tram-track" in the front end over broken surfaces, and turns-in really nicely. Probably not as reactive as the new R8 is, but far more liveable around Sydney's goat track road system.

Performance brake option (multi spot Brembos on ventilated disks) have got to be felt to be believed!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st March, 2004