Video: Driving the Ford Falcon XR6 Ute in the Outback
Australia's Native Automotive Creation Impresses a Skeptic
Epic Drives contributor Arthur St. Antoine makes the trek from the U.S. to Australia to get a taste of Australia's car culture with the 2013 Ford Falcon XR6 Ute. Australia is a country unlike any other. It's the sixth-largest country by land area in the world, yet has only 23 million people, less than a tenth that of the U.S., and fewer than the state of Texas, which, although known for its wide-open spaces, is a tenth the size of Australia. That means, aside from the densely populated coastal areas, most of Australia is wide-open spaces thinly populated by humans. The need to traverse these open spaces in comfort and capability led to the creation of the utility coupe, or so-called Ute, the archetypical car of Australia.
Who better to guide a Yank around down under than a native Aussie? St. Antoine met up with Motor Trend Editor-at-Large Angus MacKenzie in his hometown of Adelaide. MacKenzie teased St. Antoine with their ride for most of the trip, telling him it was a uniquely Australian turbocharged six-cylinder two-seater with a six-speed manual. St. Antoine's enthusiast hopes kept rising until he realized it was a lowly Ford Falcon Ute. Yet, MacKenzie pointed out that the 300-plus-hp Ute had a proper manual, something not available anymore in F-150s.
During the adventure, St. Antoine developed a respect for the Falcon Ute, praising its comfort, refinement, and power. He even mildly tested its off-highway capabilities while tackling some unpaved Outback roads. Watch the video below, and be sure to catch Epic Drives every fourth Friday on the Motor Trend Channel!