I own a 12 month old BA Fairmont Ghia (I6) and have been both disappointed and enthusiastic.
It looks great inside and out and makes people jealous.
The ride quality vs handling compromise rates bonus points for Ford, an excellent job.
Damper control is good and as an interstate tourer it rates very highly.
Steering feedback good aside from a bit of tram-tracking, but I accept that as part of the trade-off for steering feedback.
Engine has enough poke, the torque curve works pretty well with the transmission (like any 4 speed auto it would be even better with 5) even given the slight weight increase over an XT.
Traction control is ok but requires some adjustment to driving style to get best results from the system combined with the electric throttle (you can end up with no power at times).
General ergonomics, comfort etc good (except for the stupid Falcon gear selection that you push further away for ‘sports use’).
Sound system and controls generally good.
Sunroof is ok but does rob some headroom (but not severely like a Calais).
The reversing sensors are good value once you learn how to use them as additional reversing feedback, not the only feedback.
My wife and kids never complain about anything while travelling (a very good sign).
Overall a very nice family car to drive that lets you know what’s happening around you.
Bad points (some are faults across the whole BA Falcon range).
I preface this by saying that I have been criticised for not accepting the level of faults (there has been many and some remain) present in Ford’s premium Falcon model. I will not list all I have experienced or go into depth as I know others have not had the same level of faults present.
Auto mode on the climate control is a joke, the fan stays at higher speeds and is noisy.
The noise from the traction control solenoids is excessive.
The drivers seat (electric base) has movement under braking and acceleration (quote “they all do that”).
The trim is very easily marked, just like a sales rep special model.
The dash has been replaced but still moves around and creaks.
Poor alignment of trim, console, demist vents, kick panels, etc, just like a base model.
Fuel consumption is higher than it should be and difficult to justify.
The short story, would I buy another one?
Probably yes, but I would be far more critical and inspect the car very carefully before accepting delivery. If you don’t get all of the basic issues fixed before they have your money it takes a very long time to resolve.
Thanks for the tips supermono, that has helped me greatly. Sad to see such things as misalignment of the dash and trim etc. I cant stand noises in the car apart from the stereo. And when you say fuel consumption is high, how compared to what the book indicates?
I can live with the drivers seat movement, Im sure that can be either fixed or tightened.
Ive never had traction control on any car I've owned so until I was to drive the car over a period of time I wouldnt know the difference.
As far as the trim being marked is concerned, I'll watch for that.
If I was to buy one I would be looking at a used car yard not a brand spanker. I cant justify buying a new car with the way they depreciate, so I will end up going the used but no more than 2-3years old. By then I know they will have some quirks but Im sure as an overall it would be better than what Ive got in as far as refinement is concerned.
Thanks again for the review.
If anyone else has a pertanent point to voice, please keep the personal reviews coming.
Try driving with the traction control in a crommydore, very jerky and loud, you have also probably bought one of the first BA Ghias to come out so I am sure the newer ones will most likely not have the interior misalignments that yours has. This is from experience with base model stuff from the AU's from 1 to 3. I drove them all basically from release for my work. We used rent a cars and had to replace them every 3-4 months. So newer built cars will be better.
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In the end I'll be looking for something with lower k's, not a fleet car, and one owner.
Im hoping by doing that it will minimise the chances of the above problems to be of a big concern. As far as the seat goes XTS220, I agree it would be best that who ever I buy it off should fix it.
But if they are the worst things in as far as quality is concerned Im laughing. I thought there might have been more pressing issues like suspension or gearbox or engine problems to worry about. They were the main issues I was looking for as they are the most expensive.
Seat movement: repaired successfully once, but gradually becoming worse again, generally ignored by the dealer (as they all do that).
I have asked if movement is OK, then how many mm is OK and how many is not OK.
Trim alignment: I have checked some brand spankers cars on the lot and many have exactly the same issues. Door handles, console, demist vents, kick panels…
Not resolved on new models, just less frequent in occurrence.
Fuel consumption: about 14L/100 kms around the suburbs, 11L/100 kms on a trip.
I have a very light foot, same conditions previous Verada did 11L/100 kms and 8L/100 kms. Previous Commodore did 11.5L/100kms and 7.5L/100 kms.
Dashboard moving: gap between the R/H side and the A pillar moves from 0mm to 4mm.
(yes I have measured it).
Note the bulk of the previous noises and creaks/groans have been fixed by various means.
It is a very good car to drive, but is let down to a degree by a few design and build quality issues.
thanks again for the further info supermono, your experience means a great deal in respects to these issues.
I know Im getting about 14L/100km in my Xr8 but then again the BA in question is a 6, so I can see how economy would be of concern. What about an aftermarket chip to help the economy issue, is it worth it?
Also are there any problems with the engine, trans, diff or suspension that are of major concern that I would need to be aware about?
I had a leaking oil seal on the rear end early on, the usual BA brake shudder has raised it's head.
But as far as I know the only real mechanical concerns are those that are generally known on BAs such as the brakes. There is an issue relating to dodgy spot welds on the inner front guards (symptom is noisy dashboard, 6 months to resolve) that is in the midst of being published for a field fix.
The different suspension tune (different to base Falcons and XRs) is I regard the best available for day to day driving varying conditions. Trade off is the steering tram-tracking (as mentioned) and a bit of ‘thump’ over sharp edged potholes.
OEM tire life is a bit light on too, maybe 25K out of the first set of tyres, I’m at about 20k and can’t see another 5K being available.
Go and drive one, a few are sitting in yards as ex-demo stock.
I think most are I6, but the odd V8 is around.
I wouldnt mind taking a ghia for a drive considering Ive driven a 6T. There cant be that much difference apart from power and obvious visual changes. I noticed that the 6T didnt like the potholes very much either. It felt quite rigid going over it.
Tyre life is a little suprising too. At least 17" tyres are fairly cheap these days.
The rear seal, is that a general problem with every BA or just this particular model? Did you have any further leaks after the seal was fixed?
The Ghia is more supple than the XRs, a good compromise.
Personally I think the 6T should be an option in the Ghia in addition to the V8, just seems to be an obvious oversight to me.
No more oil leaks after the first one, no idea if this is common but I know of a Futura that had the same issue.
Tyre life is the subject of a thread a few months ago so if you go mining you might find something. A few posts canned the wet weather grip levels of the OEM tyres, but I don’t think that’s an issue in particular. Wet roads have less grip, end of story.
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