Oct 2003 Madder Mag Ute Comparo
Is there enough room in the Ford BA stable for both the bold XR8 and the tougher XL One-tonner? The Madder team recently had the opportunity for a back-to-back flogging, now read on….
As many of you know the XR8 Ute has been a favourite with the Madder crew for some time now. You can imagine how stoked we were when the local dealer of choice offered us the awesome XL Cab-Chassis to play with for a day.
Needless to say when we finally snatched the keys and went out to meet the beast we were immediately impressed by the no-cost Winter White paint job and dealer fitted door stickers. We were led to question the bucks involved in optional Mercury Silver on the XR8 when they might have been better spent on the performance-styled door appliques. We also reckon the optional Ford-supplied aluminium tray is the go, and wonder what the Broady boys were thinking when they restricted the XR8 to the uninspiring and dated Style-Side Box design held over from the AU. The XR8’s standard side-skirts and twin-tipped chrome exhausts are pretentious and impractical versus the high-riding tray, business-like single-tip and low slung mudflaps of the XL. We've also got to say that the 16" steel wheels have far more street cred than the 17" alloys standard on the XR range and make the 18"s seem like total overkill.
Leaving aside the annoying separate remote of the XR8, this XL was equipped with key-only entry encouraging greater contact with its sleek door metal. Opening the door we were struck with the XL’s unobtrusive seat colour, and yes, we were being spoilt, the optional fold-down middle seat. This option results in two extra bonuses, one is no console to get in the road of intimacy with that special person you met at the B&S. More importantly it meant we got to try the fabulous old-school column-shift auto. This dispenses with the novelty-value-only “Sequential Sports Shift” version that is the only auto option on the XR8.The lack of console means the familiar Interior Command Centre floats above the floor with a stylish space-age feel harking back to the hallowed AU pod design. Much of the rest of the interior was familiar to us except the more swish fabric door inserts and the practical rubber flooring. Now to the wheel, lack of cruise control was not lamented, as this is a driver’s Ute after all. The wheel had a grippy rubber texture inspiring confidence unlike the slightly slippery leather standard in the XR series. The ergonomic contouring even makes the optional XR sports-wheel seem totally redundant. Finally the key was inserted and the new DOHC 4litre 182kw Barra hero motor roared into life.
Stay tuned for part 2; Drive Impressions, coming up in the next issue of Madder Mag.
Possessed by FF and the Silver Devil
Last edited by Madder; 10-01-2003 at 00:50.