We’ve been spending a lot of time with some of the new vehicles in South Africa’s bakkie market this week, from test drives to launches, but the latest Ford Ranger has arrived with big credentials to extend its reputation.
In summary, the updated Ranger receives minor styling changes, enhanced suspension (particularly noticeable when driving off road), all new 2.0 Bi-Turbo and Single Turbo engines – along with a new 10-speed automatic transmission – as well as updated technologies AND a new easy-to-open-and-close tail lid that I know female bakkie drivers are going to celebrate.
On the outside
The Ranger was already a good-looking bakkie, so I like that changes to the new Ranger’s exterior are ever so slight, with a subtly updated grille, front bumper and headlight designs.
The Wildtrack gets a striking new Saber Orange body colour while a dark titanium colour carries through to the Wildtrack’s side mirrors, door handles, side air vents and load bed rails.
On the inside
A few materials have been updated on the inside. The cabin has been darkened with Ebony Black surfaces and on the Wildtrack you’ll find new black leather seats embossed with the Wildtrack logo. The seats are also more sportier and incorporate ‘Mettle’ carbon-like weave accents and Saber Orange stitching.
In terms of connectivity, you can expect to find Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system that now gets updated software to include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
For a big and tough bakkie like this, the cabin is a comfortable place to be while its high ride height inspires confidence on any road terrain. There’s plenty inside to keep you settled on long distance travels from a fully embedded navigation, voice recognition and Bluetooth, USB ports and plenty of space for both front and rear passengers.
On (and off) road
The most significant change to the 2019 Ranger is the addition of the all-new 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo and 2.0-litre Single Turbo engines. The 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo engine is the same engine you’ll find under the bonnet of the new Ranger Raptor, which offers 157 kW of power and 500 Nm of torque. The Single 2.0-litre Turbo engine is available on the Ranger Double Cab XLT 4×4 and 4×2 models. The new 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo engine is available on the Wildtrack and is built to offer better performance and improved fuel efficiency. Both new engines 2.0-litre are exclusively available with a new 10-speed automatic transmission.
We drove both XLT (Single Turbo engine) and Wildtrack (Bi-Turbo engine) models at the launch of the new Ranger and while the latter offers more power and torque, the Single 2.0-litre Turbo felt just as competent both on and off road. I suspect that those in the market for a powerful ‘tough truck’ will opt for the 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo, while the 2.0-litre Single Cab offers more than enough to those who spend most of their time in regular driving environments.
With improvements to the Ranger’s front suspension, the roll bar has been made stiffer while the springs have been made softer – this is also noticeable when driving comfortably on regular roads.
There’s a new safety package offered in the New Ranger. Depending on specification level, it incorporates a comprehensive Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system with Traction Control (TC), Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Adaptive Load Control (ALC) and Roll Over Mitigation (ROM).
A full Category 1 Thatcham-specification alarm is now standard on all Ranger XL, XLS, XLT and Wildtrak models, complemented by a spare wheel lock across the range.
The Ranger Wildtrak continues to be offered with leading active safety features, including Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Alert, Lane-Keeping Alert and Lane-Keeping Aid, and Auto High Beam Control.
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About that tail lid…
If you’ve ever had to open a big bakkie tail lid with one hand you probably opted never to try it again for fear of permanently breaking your wrist. The new Ranger XLT and Wildtrack models introduce the EZ lift tailgate that uses a torsion rod fitted into the tailgate and is hinged to the vehicle body. Ford says that this provides a significant 70-percent reduction in the initial lift force required to close it. Additionally, the opening of the tailgate is dampened, making it much easier to control when opening.
I gave the new Ranger’s tail lid a try at the launch and it really is impressive – so much so that I could open and close it with two fingers.
Conclusion and Pricing
Visually, it might not seem like there’s much difference between the new and old Ranger, but it really is under the skin that sees the biggest improvements. Its new engine and improved suspension make a big difference to the 2019 Ranger and until the new Ranger Raptor launches in May, here’s a look at local pricing for the new Ranger line-up…
Model Range and Recommended Retail Prices:
2.2 TDCi Base 5MT 4×2 R287 100
2.2 TDCi XL 6MT 4×2 R359 800
2.2 TDCi XL 6AT 4×2 R372 300
2.2 TDCi XL 6MT 4×4 R411 400
2.2 TDCi XLS 6MT 4×2 R390 900
2.2 TDCi XLS 6AT 4×4 R449 200
3.2 TDCi XLS 6MT 4×2 R401 800
3.2 TDCi XLS 6AT 4×4 R460 100
2.2 TDCi Base 5MT 4×2 R336 500
2.2 TDCi XL 6MT 4×2 R381 400
2.2 TDCi XL 6AT 4×2 R393 800
2.2 TDCi XL 6MT 4×4 R429 300
2.2 TDCi XLS 6AT 4×2 R426 400
2.2 TDCi XLS 6AT 4×4 R472 400
3.2 TDCi XLS 6MT 4×2 R424 900
3.2 TDCi XLS 6MT 4×4 R480 900
3.2 TDCi XLT 6AT 4×4 R568 600
2.2 TDCi Base 5MT 4×2 R350 000
2.2 TDCi XL 6MT 4×2 R409 400
2.2 TDCi XL 6AT 4×2 R428 800
2.2 TDCi XL 6MT 4×4 R455 300
2.2 TDCi XL 6AT 4×4 R474 700
2.2 TDCi XLS 6MT 4×2 R455 100
2.2 TDCi XLS 6AT 4×4 R508 400
2.0 SiT XLT 10AT 4×2 R514 300
2.0 SiT XLT 10AT 4×4 R570 200
3.2 TDCi XLT 6MT 4×2 R542 600
3.2 TDCi XLT 6AT 4×2 R571 400
3.2 TDCi XLT 6MT 4×4 R604 800
3.2 TDCi XLT 6AT 4×4 R617 300
3.2 TDCi Wildtrak 6AT 4×2 R609 800
2.0 BiT Wildtrak 10AT 4×2 R632 300
2.0 BiT Wildtrak 10AT 4×4 R678 200
All models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A six-year/90 000km service plan is included, with 15 000km service intervals.