Ford hits the sweet spot with autoshift
Autobox in the 2.2 engine takes the Ranger range to 36 models
IF Ford still made the Bantam, the oval badge would have been able to boast the widest bakkie range in South Africa. As things stand, Ford can lay claim to the widest range of big bakkies, thanks to adding an autobox to the 2.2 engine, adding nine models to now sell a bewildering range of three dozen Rangers.
Now, before you think only city slickers drive bakkies with automatic transmission, consider that all modern super link trucks now have auto shifters. And if it is the most effective and efficient solution for heavy commercial vehicles, it will also work for light commercial vehicles — what we call bakkies.
Wheels really rates the 2.2 engine as the sweet spot in the 36-bakkie line-up, and the autoshifter will save wear and tear on both the drivetrain and the driver’s left knee.
Tracey Delate, general marketing manager for Ford sub-Saharan Africa Region, said the six-speed automatic transmission on the 2.2 Duratorq TDCi models is the first in a single cab bakkie in SA and offers unrivalled driving convenience in the economical 2.2 TDCi models.
The Ranger 2.2 TDCi Auto models are available across all three body styles, including Single Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab. Customers can also select between three different specification levels: XL, mid-range XLS and high-spec XLT.
The reason why Ford’s latest-generation 2,2-litre, four-cylinder Duratorq TDCi engine hits our sweet spot, is its good fuel economy backed by more than enough power — 118 kW and 385 Nm. This allows you to overtake, carry a ton and tow 3,5 tons of braked-trailer weight, or climb rocks and dunes.
Drivers have the option of allowing the gearbox to do the shifting on its own in fully Automatic mode, switching to Sport mode for improved responsiveness and downshifts, or selecting manual gearshifts for ultimate control.
Of the new 2.2 TDCi Auto models, five are two-wheel drive and four are equipped with Ford’s intelligent fourwheel drive system with Torque on Demand that allows drivers to tackle even the most extreme conditions
with confidence. The 4x4 drivetrain employs an electronically controlled transfer case with shift-on-the-fly functionality controlled via a dial on the centre console. This allows 4x2 and 4x4 high-range modes to be engaged while on the move.
Selecting 4L engages low-range gearing, giving the new Ranger exceptional torque and control for demanding off-road terrain. A rear differential lock is also provided, ensuring additional traction.
The Electronic Stability Program, which is standard on all but the entry-level Base models, delivers a high level of active driving safety. The system incorporates Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist, Trailer Sway Control, Adaptive Load Control, Roll-over Mitigation, as well as Hill Descent Control on the 4x4 models.
The autobox still require service intervals of 20 000 km, but drivers who use their bakkies in dusty, hot and slow routes — city traffic jams included — are well advised to look after their oil more often than this.
A five-year or 100 000 km service plan is included in the purchase price on XL, XLS XLT and Wildtrak models, but is optional on the entry level offerings to allow fleet buyers to get the most bang for their budget. All models are also sold with a fouryear/120 000 km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited kilometres roadside assistance and fiveyear/unlimited corrosion warranty.
With 36 Rangers to choose from, Wheels deems the 2,2 automatic single cab at some R312k the most bang for the fleet buyers’ budgets.