photo FIN­ISH

After knock­ing off the Hilux last year, the Ranger has been pipped at the post at the half­way point in 2018

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Ute Review: Ford Ranger -

Some 19,216 Ranger 4WDs have been sold in the first six months of 2018, a 3.5 per cent in­crease over the same pe­riod in 2017. Un­for­tu­nately for Ford, that num­ber puts Ranger just 21 units short of Hilux and for the time be­ing has si­lenced Ranger’s claim of be­ing Australia’s top-sell­ing 4WD ute.

But that could soon change with the im­mi­nent ar­rival of a new en­gine in the Ranger. It’s a more pow­er­ful (157kW/500Nm) but very much smaller two-litre four-cylin­der op­tion to the cur­rent 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre five-cylin­der diesel in best-sell­ing XLT and Wild­trak mod­els.

The new Ranger will also bring a host of other sus­pen­sion, NVH and equip­ment up­grades. The new bi-turbo en­gine, which brings a sur­pris­ingly mod­est pre­mium of just $1,200 over the 3.2, will only be avail­able with a 10-speed au­to­matic.

There’s also a new ‘hero’ model to help bol­ster the line-up in the form of the Ranger Rap­tor, which will also be pow­ered by the new en­gine and comes with a be­spoke high-per­for­mance sus­pen­sion.

How this rel­a­tively small-ca­pac­ity en­gine will be ac­cepted in a ute whose pop­u­lar­ity has been in some part based on its big­gest-in-class en­gine is yet to be seen and is no doubt the rea­son why Ford will keep the 3.2 in the range to cover its bets. The two-litre won’t be of­fered with a man­ual, which is an­other rea­son why the 3.2 will be kept as cover, at least for the time be­ing.

The Ranger has built its suc­cess on a big and spa­cious cabin, ex­cel­lent on-road driv­ing dy­nam­ics and class-lead­ing tow­ing and load-car­ry­ing abil­ity.

In­ter­est­ingly, the Ranger’s 3,500kg max­i­mum tow ca­pac­ity is undi­min­ished with the two-litre en­gine, ex­cept with the Rap­tor where it drops to 2,500kg.

Hope­fully the new en­gine won’t af­fect the Ranger’s off-road abil­ity, which is cur­rently as good as it gets in its class. One prom­ise the new two-litre en­gine brings is, how­ever, bet­ter fuel econ­omy, al­ways a no­table neg­a­tive with the 3.2.

at TradeFar­mMachin­

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