Ford’s Ranger is bagging the awards

2016-05-11 06:00
New Ranger Wildtrak.      Photo:Supplied

New Ranger Wildtrak. Photo:Supplied

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FORD released its new Ranger at the end of last year, just a few months before the February launch of one of its biggest competitors, the Toyota Hilux.

And the competition is stiff, with the Ranger bagging many prestige local awards in recent months,while the Hilux topped the sales in March and April.

Ford’s Ranger and Everest were recently announced as winners in the 2016 Drive Out/WegRy 4x4 of the Year Awards. In these awards the New Ford Ranger was announced Double Cab of the Year with the all-new Ford Everest taking top award for the SUV segment.

This follows close on the heels of the Ranger being named one of Car Magazine’s Best Buys for 2016 winning the best double cab bakkie title for a fifth year in a row.

The generous size of the Ranger’s cabin, high specification level, refinement and ride comfort, as well as the rugged looks and performance, were all praised by the Car editorial team.

You just have to go on any school run, rugby or festival day and just see how many double cabs are parked there in the middle of the concrete jungle.

It’s used on the school run, office run, for holidays and has become the family car for many.

And to accommodate those who like to drive a bakkie, without feeling that they are driving a bakkie, the new Ranger is laden with comfort and convenience features, not to mention the fact that the test model had an automatic transmission – making up for what I believe the worst thing about driving a bakkie is – changing those gears.

And then there is the rear camera – which (in my opinion) should be compulsory for all bakkies used on the school run.

The refreshed line-up of Rangers, which have been available in SA since November last year, comprises 33 models including Single Cab, Super Cab, Double Cab and Wildtrak.

The new Ranger is produced at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria and exported to 148 markets in Africa and Europe. The Duratorq TDCi engines are manufactured at the Struandale Engine Plant in PE.


The new design gives the Ranger a bolder, more sophisticated appearance and the test model was the double cab variety.

For those who like to drive on the wildside the Ranger has 800mm water wading depth and 230mm of ground clearance.


Ford has gone to a lot of trouble with high tech features, such as the Ford Sync 2 infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen (on the higher spec models) to create a car like interior and make you forget you are sitting inside a bakkie.

SYNC®2, the latest generation of Ford’s in-car connectivity system, is standard on the new Ranger XLT and Wildtrak models. Using natural voice commands, the driver can control the car’s climate controls, entertainment system and phone functions.

The new Ranger also features a 240-volt power socket that can be used to power your laptop or cellphone.

The Ranger line-up features Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and ABS as standard features on all but the Base model (where ABS is an option).

In addition, the top-specification new Ranger Wildtrak offers a wide range of first-in-class driver aids including Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Alert, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Driver Impairment Monitor, as well as Front and Rear Park Assist.

The Wildtrak can be specified in 3.2 TDCi 4x2 manual or automatic, or the range-topping 4x4 Automatic.


The Ranger range is powered by the latest-generation Duratorq TDCi engine and Duratec petrol engine.

Ford engineers fine-tuned the suspension of the new version for additional comfort and better handling.

One of the other ways of taking the bakkie out of a bakkie for the way it is used these days, the Ranger has an electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) system. This allows for light and manageable steering for low-speed manoeuvring – very useful in shopping centre parking lots and tight spaces on the school run – while out on the open road and at higher speed the EPAS ensures precise steering.

Ford’s 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi five-cylinder diesel engine tops the range. According to Ford, the upgrades include a new exhaust gas recirculation system that helps improve fuel efficiency by up to 18 percent, while still producing 147kW of power and 470Nm of torque.

The 2.2-litre four-cylinder Duratorq TDCi has also been upgraded for better performance and efficiency. The peak outputs of the high-power derivative climb from 110kW on the previous model, to 118kW while torque is boosted by 10Nm to 385Nm.

An economical mid-power 2.2 Duratorq TDCi engine is also available in certain models, producing 88kW and 285Nm.

The new Ranger is also available with Ford’s 2.5-litre Duratec petrol engine, providing 122kW of power and 226Nm of torque.

Depending on model derivative, the new Ranger is equipped with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, or a five-speed manual on the mid-output diesel and petrol versions.

The prices for the New Ranger double cabs range from R290 900 to R597 900. The vehicle test driven was the 3.2 TDCi XLT 4X4 Automatic which retails for R567 900.

Will I buy a Ranger if I could afford it?

I still prefer SUV’s - so I would rather go for the 7-seater Ford Everest - which is the SUV version of the Ranger. But if it has to be a bakkie, then the Ranger is definitely loaded with high tech, comfort and convenience features which will make yousoon forget that it is a bakkie and that you will sometimes have to sacrifice tight parking spaces.


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