New models - Ford - F-250
Driven: Performax hauls in Ford F-250 from $105K
Five-variant Performax Ford F-250 range spans tradie trucker to luxury liner
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5 Sep 2014
THE latest Ford F-250 Super Duty full-size pick-up truck, imported and converted to right-hand drive by Queensland-based Performax International, is now available from $105,000 plus on-road costs.
That opening price secures the base XL variant, while the $115,000 XLT and $127,000 Lariat occupy the middle ground and two luxury top-end options comprise the rural-themed King Ranch and urban warrior Platinum at $134,000 apiece.
All launch variants have the crew cab body style and a diesel four-wheel-drive powertrain but the range otherwise mirrors the five specification levels and eleven colours available in the truck’s native USA.
Each is powered by a 6.7 litre V8 turbo-diesel engine punching out a muscular 328kW of power at 2800rpm and stump-pulling 1166Nm of torque from just 1600rpm, helping achieve a five-tonne towing capacity for hauling palatial caravans, super-sized horse floats, big boats or race car trailers.
Performax general manager Glenn Soper told GoAuto 80 per cent of F-250 sales will be to people for which it serves a serious purpose as a workhorse, with most of the remainder simply wanting the vehicle for its sheer presence, for example as a rolling advertisement for their business.
Although there are no official fuel consumption figures for the F-250, Performax says drivers who are not towing can expect to achieve around 14 litres per 100 kilometres in mixed driving, rising to high teens or low 20s with a trailer hitched up.
Drive is sent through a six-speed automatic transmission with all but the XL getting electronic on-the-fly activation of the part-time four-wheel-drive system.
Standard safety kit across the F-250 range includes electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution, roll stability control, trailer sway control, trailer brake control, hill descent control, hill start assist.
Utilitarian XL base variants come with electric windows, electric adjustment for the mirrors and pedals, remote central locking, 17-inch steel wheels, cloth or vinyl upholstery and a chrome grille surround.
Performax director Greg Waters said the XL’s specification exceeds that of the Brazilian-converted F-250 sold here by Ford Australia for around $85,000 between 2001 and 2007 and that his company’s conversion is less compromised.
The XLT adds electric windows, cruise control, alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, manually activated towing mirrors, remote central locking and a chrome grille and front bumper.
Moving up to the Lariat trim level – that Performax expects to be most popular – adds a premium Sony sound system with eight-inch Sync touchscreen, subwoofer and amplifier, tan or black leather upholstery, 10-way electric front seat adjustment, a reversing camera and sensors, automatic headlights, a multi-function steering wheel and a rear differential lock.
Cost options include seat memory, seat heating and cooling, a sunroof, electrical towing mirror activation, remote engine start and 18- or 20-inch alloy wheels.
The rural-themed King Ranch adds premium brown saddle leather upholstery, front seat heating and cooling, memory for the driver’s seat, pedal and mirror adjustment, remote engine start, multi-function dashboard display, self-dimming interior mirror, a unique leather trimmed steering wheel with message centre control, woodgrain trim, a two-tone paint finish with colour-matched bumpers and grille surround and 20-inch alloy wheels.
Options for the King Ranch include a sunroof, a chrome pack, a tailgate step, illuminated side steps and heated rear seats.
Platinum variants get Pecan brown or Charcoal black leather upholstery, a specific woodgrain trim style and a leather/walnut steering wheel plus plenty of chrome bling including tailgate and step, door handles, mirror casings, tow hooks, side steps and a unique grille.
Buyers of this variant can also choose heated rear seats and a sunroof from the options list.
All variants come with the ‘FX4’ off-road pack as standard, primarily as the uprated Rancho shock absorbers improve ride quality for Australian road conditions. The FX4 kit also comprises hill-descent control and underbody protection.
Key features of the Performax conversion from left-hand-drive to right-hand-drive include a single steering box (previous versions used two steering boxes), an expanded driver’s footwell with footrest, fully functional dual front and side airbags, original Ford seatbelts all round, a full-sized glovebox and dual batteries kept in their original engine bay location.
The Bluetooth microphone is moved to the right-hand side while upper-spec Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum variants have the door security PIN pad moved to the right-hand front door and the electrically adjustable pedals found on LHD models are also present and correct in the RHD driver’s footwell.
Mr Soper said “old-fashioned conversion methods are no longer acceptable” for buyers of these increasingly sophisticated American trucks.
“In engineering, electronics and final fit and finish, the Performax difference ensures we build every vehicle to factory-original quality standards,” he added.
Performax wholly underwrites the F-250’s four-year, 120,000 kilometre warranty, which according to Mr Soper – an ex-Ford man – has almost identical wording to Ford’s.
He also said that none of the more than 100 new components used in the F-250 conversion are one-off or hand-made, meaning each one is part-numbered, consistent and readily available for spares.
As reported in July, Performax became the first manufacturer to gain Australian Design Rule full-volume compliance for the latest F-250 model, meaning there is no limit to the number of these trucks it can convert.
In addition to a significant engineering investment, Performax must adhere to more rigorous standards than under the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme approval process it still uses for other vehicles, which restricts the number of vehicles that can be imported and sold each year.
After more than 30 years of operation in Victoria, another Ford F-Series converter, Harrison F-Trucks, recently opened a new dealership in Maroochydore on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, 80km south of Gympie-based Performax.
Like Performax, Harrison can offer vehicles converted under full-volume regulations but it also imports and converts the smaller F-150.
“We’re totally confident the 13th generation F-Series we’re building now will be the best ever seen in this country,” said Mr Soper. “With unprecedented levels of performance, capability, safety and comfort, all backed by a comprehensive, competitive warranty and roadside service.”
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