The new GS Ute is the ultimate work horse for those who seek a reliable tool which apart from its utility, it’s also able to offer spirited performances.
The vehicle was developed by Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV), bringing back to life the 30 years old badge of the iconic XW GS.
This beauty is sold on the Australian market and has a starting price of $49,950. If you consider this price tag expensive, take a fast look under the hood. There you’ll find one of the best V8 beasts you’ve probably ever seen and then you’ll realize that this car is not far for representing a bargain.
The Ford GS UTE must be one of the best looking work tools you’ll find in this class. Overall, the vehicle has a pretty clean design, but the entire front fascia features a tasty aggressive style enhanced by a low ground clearance.
To keep it up with today’s trends, the FPV GS Ute comes with a modern set of headlights which look tasty enough to make some jaws drop with admiration.
The FPV badge is mounted in the center of a “V” shaped radiator grille that received a honey comb pattern and despite its simplicity it looks fairly good.
The bumper is seamlessly integrated into the front fascia and features a massive trapezoidal air intake flanked by a pair of circular fog lamps. Along the sides the Ute received dynamic GS graphics, which further enhance the sporty look.
The vehicle comes with a new soft tonneau cover which securely fastens the aluminium top rails that join the bedliner and exterior sheet metal. The tonneau can be peeled up from any side and easily snaps back down into the groove like a snap lock plastic bag, improving access to the load bed.
The tonneau also features elasticised clips on the inside of the cover, which can be pulled down and hooked onto the aluminium side rails to allow it to sit higher than its normal fitment point, thereby creating a higher load space.
Hop inside and you’re welcomed by a very pleasant environment. All materials are part of the high class and the dashboard rewards you with soft touch areas and high quality plastics.
The build quality is also great and every detail received maximum attention in order to offer the best interior fittings.
The dashboard’s design is simple yet classy. Though we consider those rectangular air vents a bit dated for today’s standards, while the center console looks rather dull than modern.
The driver is greeted by a standard four spoke Ford steering wheel which is offered with integrated controls and a few adjustments to make your life on board even easier.
You won’t have any complains about the overall ergonomy either, as Ford’s long experience with passenger cars can be felt in every detail, with all controls and switches being in the right place. Though, the instruments are a bit small which makes them hard to read, but at least the cluster looks pretty sporty.
Sadly, the seating position is too high to be considered sporty and the seats design is more on the basic side of things. At least they are fairly deep and well-shaped, offering proper lateral support even during hard cornering. Though, we’ll have to criticize the absence of foot rest which is hard to be accepted in a car that was designed to be pushed to its limits on a daily basis.
Thanks to its generous dimensions, the Ute is fairly roomy inside and there are plenty of storage places around, as well. Apart from the conventional door pockets, glove box and other cubby holes, the FPV GS also offers useful space behind the seats although access is a bit awkward.
The Ford FPV GS Ute comes with standard six-disc CD stacker, MP3 compatibility, iPod integration, Bluetooth and dual-zone climate control.
Engines and performance
The best part it’s what’s going on under the hood, and with a 5.0 liter V8, we’ll assure you that there is a lot of “going on” out there. The GS’s V8 is basically a detuned version of the same unit that powers the super sport Ford GT model. The power was decreased from 335 kW to 315 kW, as the Ute’s configuration didn’t had the strength needed to physically deal with such a big amount of power.
Yet despite the downgrade, the GS acceleration it’s failry ballistic. You won’t even need to floor the go pedal, to feel how a tremendous amount of power will transform the ute’s wheels in asphalt eating beasts.
There is also a huge 545 Nm of torque available between 2000 – 5500 rpm, that will keep your adrenaline level up every time you want to have some fun.
The V8 sounds pretty imposing too and it’s nice metallic growl increases with every push of the accelerator pedal.
The engine can be mated on both automatic and manual transmissions. The Tiptronic automatic unit feels fairly smooth and refined with proper gear linkages, but the manual feels rather rudimentary.
Usually, if you’ll ask one of Ford’s engineers about the fuel efficiency of a 5.0 liter V8, he will stare into your eyes with a serious face and only after the tension will hit astronomical levels you’ll finally get your answer: 13.6 liters per 100 kilometers. This numbers are far from being anywhere near the word “efficient”, but if we take into consideration the muscular performances of the engine, this average fuel consumption score will start to sound less painful.
Ride and handling
Even the most powerful engine in the world will be useless if the handling isn’t part of the same sporty class. Sadly the GS doesn’t meet the entire requirements needed to help you enjoy the full power of the engine.
Firstly, the entire front feels a bit soft and tends to cut corners in a wide angle, while the back does exactly the opposite, tending to step out. On the other hand the steering is fairly repsonsive andrewards you with a great road feedback.
When it comes to calm down the V8’s volcanic character, the vehicle uses regular XR8 brakes which are offered as standard equipment. If you’ll want a better stopping power you can opt for four piston Brembos.
The GPV GS is certainly the most powerful Ute you’ll find around. Its exterior style looks pretty classy and we also like the interior environment which is sporty and welcoming. Thanks to the generous load bed found at the back, the GS it’s also pretty practical.
The V8 is faultless and offers tremendous performances, but it finds its limitation in a ute, as the vehicle needed a better tune for the suspensions to sharpen up its cornering abilities.
Video: Ford FPV GS Ute