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We drive updated Ranger in SA: 'Your move Hilux'

2015-10-16 10:40

Sean Parker

2015 RANGER IN SA: The Ford Ranger double cab XLT is differentiated by a chrome grille and a chrome rear bumper. Image: Quickpic


2015 Ford Ranger

2015-10-13 09:24

The most advanced Ford Ranger has bundled its way into South Africa, view the gallery.

UPDATE: Ford has released prices of its flagship bakkie.

Cape Town - There’s a battle in the South African bakkie market between the ubiquitous Toyota Hilux and the Ford Ranger.

The duo has been locked in a sale battle, in fact, in 8 of the past 12 months, the Ranger has topped the charts as SA's best-selling bakkie.

In October 2015, Ford has unleashed its updated Ranger, built at its Silverton plant in Pretoria.

Available in 33 derivatives and five trim levels, the Ranger’s, er, range, is extensive.

It looks like it should be in ‘Merica

The Ranger looks bad-ass. In the US, Ford sells its incredibly popular F-150 and the 2015 Ranger borrows much of its US cousin's machismo in the form of a redesigned front-end. Its new bonnet and trapezoidal grille sets it apart from the previous version. The rear remains largely untouched.

Gallery: 2015 Ford Ranger

Styling is a subjective topic, but I think the Ranger is possibly the best-looking bakkie on sale in SA. It’s commanding, rugged and certainly a head-turner.

The range-topping Wildtrak uses ‘projector-style’ headlights.

Have a look at the styling differences between the new model (top) and the previous model (bottom) below.

The new #Ford #Ranger #Wildtrak now has new 'projector' headlights and a redesigned grille.

A photo posted by Wheels24 (@wheels24_sa) on

What's it like to drive?

Ford only had two engine derivatives for media to test; the 2.2 Duratorq TDCi (118kW/385Nm) and the top-of-the-range 3.2 litre five-cylinder Duratorq TDCi (147kW/470Nm).

I hopped into a 2.2 XLS double cab fitted with a six-speed manual transmission and headed for the Southern Cape via the Huguenot tunnel and the long sweeping bends that make up the fantastic route towards Ceres.

The updated Ranger uses improved, adaptive electrically-powered assisted steering; lighter at low speeds and weighs-up nicely at high speeds for improved driver feedback.

Click here for 2015 Ford Ranger specifications

Along the glorious Michell’s Pass in Ceres, the 2.2 proved to be a good performer. I was impressed by how far its ride quality has improved. Despite being a "bakkie" its handling is confidence-inspiring and smooth power-delivery are strong points.

One aspect I feel is important to mention, especially when compared to its rivals, is its NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels. I was very impressed by how quiet the cabin is with minimal road and wind noise present. Good job!

Its transmissions have been carried over from the outgoing model. I tested the six-speed manual XLS and six-speed auto (Wildtrak), with a new cable shift for the stick-shift.

The engines were both strong and somewhat devoid of the usual diesel clatter. The calibrations have been updated and I think the engines embody what the Ranger stands for: strong, durable with ample power to do the job.

Spruced interior

A new 20cm touchscreen, which uses the same infotainment centre from the Fusion sedan, is available. I tested the system fitted to the Wildtrak via steering-wheel mounted buttons.

It might seem like a myriad of buttons but each one has a specific function and that makes navigating the entertainment (left buttons) and driver menu (right side) easy.

The updated interior of the 2015 #Ford #Ranger #Wildtrak.

A photo posted by Wheels24 (@wheels24_sa) on

It’s the most advanced bakkie in SA

The 2015 Ranger introduces high-tech not seen fitted to a bakkie yet (at least in SA); adaptive cruise control (standard for the Wildtrak), driver alert, lane-departure warning, collision mitigation and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

Sure, these aren’t new to passenger cars but the fact that these technologies has made their way into a bakkie is awesome.

Watch the Ford Ranger's adaptive cruise control in action:

Is it a proper 4x4?

To test its Ranger’s off-road capabilities, Ford setup a 4x4 course along what seemed to be a treacherous trek halfway up a rocky trail. It didn’t put a foot (or tyre rather) wrong.

The Ranger has a 230mm ground clearance, 800mm water-wading depth, 28-degree approach and 25-degree departure angles. Its towing capacity is 3500kg.

In a particular tricky section, I engaged the diff-lock to show the trail who’s boss and the Ranger performed admirably. For low-speed torque or additional downhill control, drivers can engage low-range while an electronic locking rear-differential helps to improve traction. Its suspension and steering has been improved.

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A robust electronically controlled transfer case allows drivers in 4x4 models to shift on the fly from 4x2 to 4x4 high via a knob on the centre console.

The trip down was made in a manual variant and with 4x4 low-range engaged the hill-descent control worked its magic as we steadily made or way over terrain similar to that seen on the asteroid in Armageddon.

I’d never been off-road in a Ranger, so that exercise was a really good way of showing me the capabilities of the bakkie.

Click on the Instagram video below to watch the Ranger in 4x4 action

The #Ford #Ranger taking on the 4x4 course.

A video posted by Wheels24 (@wheels24_sa) on

Good, became better

'If it ain’t broke don’t fix' - it's a popular idiom and can certainly be applied to the updated Ranger. The launch reaffirms what a capable, stylish and advanced bakkie the Ranger is.

The advent of the driver assistance systems propels the Ranger into a different league and the upgraded 2.2 diesel is definitely a boon.

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Single Cab

2.5 Base Chassis Cab 4x2 5MT Low Rider 4x2 (122kW) -R191 900
2.5 Base 4x2 5MT Low Rider 4x2(122kW) - R212 900
2.2 TDCi Base Chassis Cab 4x2 5MT (88kW) - R202 900
2.2 TDCi Base 4x2 5MT (88kW) - R224 900
2.2 TDCi XL 4x2 6MT (118kW) - R284 900
2.2 TDCi XL 4x4 6MT (118kW) - R341 900
2.2 TDCi XLS 4x2 6MT (118kW) - R342 900
2.2 TDCi XL-Plus Chassis Cab 4x4 6MT (118kW) - R343 900
2.2 TDCi XL-Plus 4x4 6MT (118kW) - R365 900

3.2 TDCi XLS 4x2 6MT (147kW) - R379 900
2.2 TDCi XLS 4x4 6MT (118kW) - R399 900
3.2 TDCi XLS 4x4 6MT (147kW) - R436 900

Super Cab

2,2 TDCi Base 4x2 5MT (88kW) - R254 900
2.2 TDCi  XL 4x2 6MT (118kW) - R335 900
2.2 TDCi  XL 4x4 6MT (118kW) - R392 900
3.2 TDCi XLS 4x2 6MT (147kW) - R399 900
3.2 TDCi XLS 4x4 6MT (147kW) - R456 900
3.2 TDCi XLT 4x4 6AT (147kW) -R499 900

Double Cab

2.2 TDCi Base 4x2 5MT (88kW) - R284 900
2.2 TDCi  XL 4x2 6MT (118kW) - R339 900
2.2 TDCi XL 4x4 6MT (118kW) - R396 900
2.2 TDCi XL-Plus Chassis Cab 4x4 6MT (118kW) - R343 900
2.2 TDCi XL-Plus 4x4 6MT (118kW) - R419 900
2.2 TDCi XLS 4x2 6MT (118kW) - R428 900
2.2 TDCi XLS 4x4 6MT (118kW) - R485 900
2.2 TDCi XLT 4x2 6MT (118kW) - R458 900
3.2 TDCi XLT 4x2 6MT(147kW) - R497 900
3.2 TDCi XLT 4x2 6AT (147kW) - R509 900
3.2 TDCi XLT 4x4 6MT (147kW) - R554 900
3.2 TDCi XLT 4x4 6AT (147kW) - R566 900
3.2 TDCi Wildtrak 4x2 6MT (147kW) - R526 900
3.2 TDCi Wildtrak 4x2 6AT (147kW) - R537 900
3.2 TDCi Wildtrak 4x4 6AT (147kW) - R596 900

Read more on:    ford  |  ranger  |  ceres  |  south africa  |  new models

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