Tough ute com­pe­ti­tion

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

Off-Road: You can flick be­tween 2H and 4H at up to 110km/h. Great when belt­ing along a gravel road, and the additional trac­tion and con­trol is felt in­stantly.

For 4L, it’s a mat­ter of com­ing to a stop, slip­ping to neu­tral then en­gag­ing the trans­fer case via a switch­able but­ton on the con­sole.

Sure beats fid­dling about with a lever.

Off-road, in four-low, dif­flock en­gaged, with those 470 Newton me­tres all work­ing qui­etly at your dis­posal, a rigid chas­sis and with long wheel ar­tic­u­la­tion, you can pick your way up and over al­most any­thing.

It’s so ca­pa­ble, it takes the chal­lenge and con­se­quently some of the fun out of it. But you’re gonna love it if you’re drag­ging a heavy boat up a slip­pery boat ramp or haul­ing a Bob­cat out of a sod­den build­ing site.

Trans­fer case, driv­e­train, oil pan and fuel tank are tucked in­side the side rails for bet­ter off-road pro­tec­tion.

Min­i­mum ground clear­ance is 230mm with 16-inch wheels fit­ted, more of course in the XLT with its 17-inch rims. SAFETY RAT­ING ANCAPRATING: Not yet rated.

Safety fea­tures: The Ranger comes loaded with all the ex­pected safety fea­tures, and some un­ex­pected. The ex­pected in­clude front, side and cur­tain airbags, pre­ten­sion­ing seat belts and child re­straint an­chor­ages.

Also ex­pected is elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, ABS, EBD and trac­tion con­trol.

Less ex­pected is the adap­tive load con­trol, trailer sway con­trol (us­ing the ABS and ESC to sta­bilise and pre­vent jack-knif­ing when tow­ing is a po­ten­tial life saver for those tow­ing large car­a­vans and boats) with roll-over mit­i­ga­tion con­trol, and rear park as­sist and rear-view cam­era sys­tem.

Ser­vic­ing: Capped-price ser­vic­ing across the range, ser­vice in­ter­vals 15,000km.

HOW IT COM­PARES: VAL­UE­FOR­MONEY

The up­date to the HiLux saw Toy­ota re­vise its pric­ing down across the range.

Nis­san and Mit­subishi also have some very at­trac­tive price dis­counts at the mo­ment for the Tri­ton and Navara.

The new Ranger is more ex­pen­sive than most – it’s priced more in line with the Amarok – but pack­ages a lot more in for the money, and a lot more ap­peal. Ford is build­ing ter­rific cars at the mo­ment. Can you find a dud in the range? I can’t. And Ford Aus­tralia en­gi­neers have dropped two ab­so­lutely stand­out cars into our laps this year: the Ter­ri­tory and now the Ranger. Of those two, the Ranger is the greater achieve­ment. Start­ing from a clean sheet of pa­per, and seven years in the mak­ing, this is one ex­cep­tional dual-cab ute — in both XLT and XL con­fig­u­ra­tion. HiLux de­serves its fourstar rat­ing. It has pounded its usurpers mer­ci­lessly for nearly two decades. But Ford’s new Ranger is a game changer. This is the best dual-cab diesel 4X4 ute you can buy at the mo­ment. But don’t be­lieve a word of this re­view. When it hits Ford show­rooms, go and have a look for your­self. The new Ranger is avail­able now for test drives at Hid­den Val­ley Ford, Stu­art High­way, Ber­rimah. Phone: 8947 7777

The XLT Ranger’s sleek in­te­rior is su­pe­rior to most of its com­peti­tors.

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