Private buyers are likely to jostle tradies for Ford’s burnished Ranger pick-up
Private buyers are the biggest beneficiaries of Ford’s mid-life update to the Ranger pick-up, as the company looks to “future-proof ” its most important model. The Ranger is already second outright on the sales charts this year. The model year changes, nominally covering the entire line-up, are most evident — and impressive — on the XLT and Wildtrak versions.
Those top-spec versions account for about 65 per cent of Ranger four-wheel drive sales and tend to be bought by tradies and families looking for a little more luxury than a plastic tub liner.
Accordingly, the Wildtrak becomes the first pick-up with standard traffic sign recognition and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Semi-automated parallel parking, also standard on the Wildtrak, joins the lane-keep assist, blind-spot warning and adaptive cruise control tech introduced in 2015.
Those features can also be bundled in the XLT as part of a $1700 “tech pack”.
There’s also a new hero engine, courtesy of the Ranger Raptor. The 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel can now be optioned with a 10-speed auto for $1200 on the XLT and Wildtrak.
Despite yielding capacity to the standard 3.2-litre five-cylinder, it cranks out more power and torque and saves about 1.5L/100km in claimed fuel use.
Ford concedes Australia’s fixation on capacity means those who regularly tow long distances will probably stick with the 3.2, though both engines are rated to haul 3500kg. Even so, about half the early orders have been for the hi-tech 2.0.
The twin-turbo is also cheaper to maintain than the 3.2, though only to the tune of about $100 over the first three years.
Suspension tweaks across the line-up are said to reduce roll when towing or under heavy loads and the effort of closing the tailgate has been substantially reduced.
Prices have risen between $300 and $1000 and now start at $41,890 for the four-wheel drive XL single cab with a six-speed manual, climbing to $63,990 for the Wildtrak with the 2.0-litre. Premium paint adds $600.
ON THE ROAD
The “bi-turbo” badges on the side are the easiest way to spot the 2.0-litre variants.
Hit the start button and there’s no doubt the 2.0 sounds and feels smoother from idle across the rev range.
The flicker of the stability control light on a greasy Victorian road shows there’s definitely no shortage of torque; though vehicles with 400kg of sand in the tray were more settled on the same set of curves.
Suspension changes have improved the ride, which has long been among the best in the pick-up class. It’ll take a tow test to satisfy