Ford goes large with the Ranger

2011-11-04 10:00

The world is a flash of green, sheer rock faces, plunging cliffs and deep corners as we go hurtling along.

My driving partner grins menacingly. “Now this,” he gushes, “is a road fit for a hot hatch”.

I agree. The roads in Mpumalanga are legendary. There’s just one little problem: we’re hurtling along in Ford’s new, noticeably larger, Ranger bakkie. Not quite the first choice to chuck at a great set of twisties.

Local motoring journalists were in the Nelspruit region to test-drive the all-new Ranger,a bakkie designed in Australia but built in Silverton, Tshwane, for export to 148 countries.

That’s huge, almost as huge as this bakkie, looking more like an American pick-up than the one-tonners we’re accustomed to in SA.

This bakkie is a leap forward for Ford with its all-new exterior design, new interior and a new range of power trains that have reduced CO2 emissions all round.

Ford has unashamedly snuffed out the best attributes of its fiercest competitors to produce a bakkie it says doesn’t skimp on the details.

The makers say it’s bigger, more refined and safer – it is the first bakkie to achieve a five-star rating in the Euro NCAP assessment.

The local model line-up is comprehensive: 23 derivatives thanks to a choice of three engines, three body configurations, three transmissions, two or all-wheel drive and a number of trim levels to fill the gaps in the previous Ranger range.
 
There are only two options – a “safety pack” (R5 300) and metallic paint (R750).

The engine range comprises a 2.2 Duratorq TDCi four-cylinder available in two states of tune, a 3.2 Duratorq TDCi five-cylinder and a 2.5 Duratec four-cylinder.

The upright grille and front bumper are echoed in the Ranger’s high belt line and pronounced wheel arches. A neat design touch is a side vent that can be removed to attach a snorkel.

Smart technology features include trailer sway and rollover mitigation, launch assist, hill-descent control, shift (into 4x4) on the fly, a rear-view camera, Bluetooth with voice recognition and driver recognition technology.

While the Ranger is not likely to threaten Toyota’s Hilux, it has VW’s Amarok firmly in its sights.

Model: Ford Ranger

Engine: 2.5F petrol / 2.2F turbodiesel / 3.2F turbodiesel

Power: 122kW / 88kW / 110kW / 147kW

Torque: 22Nm / 258Nm / 375Nm / 470Nm

Fuel consumption F/100km: 9.8F / 7.6F / 8.4F

Price: From R174 000 to R436 700

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