By Malusi Msomi
We recently headed down to the Mother City to sample the hotly anticipated and locally built new Ford Ranger. The Next-Gen Ranger is manufactured at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria (alongside the new VW Amarok), which underwent a R15.8 billion modernization process, including the installation of state-of-the-art tooling at supplier companies. Additionally, Ford invested an additional R600 million at its Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha to introduce a new 3.0L V6 diesel engine, and to upgrade the assembly line for the 2.0-litre Single Turbo and 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo engines.
In terms of design, the new Ranger boasts a bold appearance, inheriting Ford’s global truck design DNA. The design features a new grille and a signature C-clamp headlight treatment at the front, a subtle shoulder line running down the sides, bolder wheel-arches that give the Ranger a stable stance, and the tail lights are designed to complement the front graphic. On launch we sampled the XLT and Wiltrak. The XLT comes standard with C-clamp LED headlamps with LED DRLs, side steps, towbar, and power adjustable mirrors.
The top of the range Wildtrak gets 18-inch wheels, privacy glass, a sports hoop with aluminum load-box tie down rails, Wildtrak front grille in signature Boulder Grey accent, Auto High Beam & LED front foglamps. Its good to point out that the Wildtrak looks epic with its model-specific exterior styling.
The interior of the Next-Gen Ranger is a comfortable and pleasant place to be in. The XLT model comes with cloth seats that are quite comfortable, as well as a digital instrument cluster and a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Ford has done a great job in improving the cabin design, which is a welcomed change. The infotainment system is easy to use, the dashboard is well-organized and the materials used are of good quality. There is ample legroom and headroom for both front and rear passengers. The cabin also offers a good amount of storage space, including door pockets, cup holders and a center console. The XLT model also has plenty of standard features such as air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, and a rear-view camera.
The range topping Wildtrak gets a bigger 12.0-inch infotainment screen, leather 8-way power adjustable driver and passenger seats, dual zone automatic climate control with rear air vents, and unique orange stitching throughout the cabin. The Bang and Olufsen sound system will have audiophiles happy for days. It’s honestly a beautiful place to be in.
Powering the XLT 4×4 we drove is a 154kW 2.0-litre BiTurbo engine which sends its power to all four wheels via a 10-speed auto. The XLT is also available in single turbo and 4×2 guise. The 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo is buttery smooth and the 10-speed auto works seamlessly with the engine. Driving through Cape Nature Reserve in Grabouw, the XLT was composed and did the 4×4 course without breaking a sweat.
On the other hand, the V6 Wildtrak is powered by 184kW/600Nm V6 which sends its power to all-four wheels via a 10-speed automatic. It’s very composed on and off-road. Over and above the standard terrain modes, it now has 4A, which continuously distributes power between the front and rear axles for optimum performance in all on-road conditions.
One of the most interesting things about the new Ranger is how quite the cabin is. Ford has managed to keep the Ranger’s well insulated from outside noise. It’s interesting because you’d expect a lot more cabin noise due to its boxy shape, but somehow Ford managed to design the car in such a way that its free from wind and tyre noise.
On the safety front, all Double Cab models in the Ranger line-up are equipped with Dynamic Stability Control incorporating ABS, Load Adaptive Control, Roll Over Mitigation, Traction Control and Trailer Sway Control.
This is a solid offering from Ford, but a full in-depth review of the Ranger will come soon to really see whats cutting with the popular bakkkie.
2.0L SiT Double Cab 4×2 6MT R486,000
2.0L SiT Double Cab 4×4 6MT,R528 600
2.0L SiT Double Cab XL 4×2 6MT R529,900
2.0L SiT Double Cab XL 4×2 6AT R544,400
2.0L SiT Double Cab XL 4×4 6MT R607,300
2.0L SiT Double Cab XL 4×4 6AT R621,900
2.0L SiT Double Cab XLT 4×2 6AT R592,700
2.0L SiT Double Cab XLT 4×4 6AT R669,800
2.0L BiT Double Cab XLT 4×2 10AT R702,300
2.0L BiT Double Cab XLT 4×4 10AT R782,100
2.0L BiT Double Cab Wildtrak 4×2 10AT R778,300
2.0L BiT Double Cab Wildtrak 4×4 10AT R867,700
3.0L V6 Double Cab Wildtrak 4WD 10AT R953,500
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