Back in Black

Lennox Herald - - MOTORS -

Ford un­veiled its ex­clu­sive new colour-coded Ranger Black Edi­tion pick-up at the Frank­furt Mo­tor Show this week.

The Black Edi­tion model is based on the pop­u­lar Lim­ited se­ries and fea­tures a dechromed body in Ab­so­lute Black with a black fin­ish for the ra­di­a­tor grille, al­loy wheels, sports bar and ex­te­rior de­tail­ing.

The pro­duc­tion run will be re­strict­ed­to­just2,500unit­sand will be of­fered in Dou­ble Cab bodystyle only.

Stan­dard­kit­in­cludessat-nav, front park­ing sen­sors and rear view cam­era, adding to the Lim­ited se­ries fea­tures such as FordSYNC3­mul­ti­me­di­asys­tem with 8-inch touch­screen, du­al­zone­elec­tron­ic­cli­mate­con­trol, leather seat trim, and pow­er­fold­ing door mir­rors.

Ford Ranger is Europe’s top sell­ing pickup with sales of 23,100 for July 2017 year-to­date, an in­crease of 12.1 per cen­tover­thep­re­vi­ousyear,and mark­ing the best year for Ranger since launch. At long last when we pur­chase a new ve­hi­cle we will have a bet­ter idea of what fuel econ­omy it will de­liver in real driv­ing con­di­tions.

For a new method of mea­sur­ing fuel econ­omy for cars has come into force this month.

The new tests re­place a wildly in­ac­cu­rate sys­tem that has not been up­dated for some 20 years and is de­signed to give mo­torists a re­al­is­tic pic­ture of fuel con­sump­tion in ev­ery­day use.

Un­der the reg­u­la­tions, all new cars sold in the UK will have to be tested on the road in­stead of only un­der lab­o­ra­tory con­di­tions.

For years driv­ers have known that the so-called of­fi­cial fuel econ­omy fig­ures for their cars bore lit­tle re­sem­blance to what they ac­tu­ally achieved.

The out of date for­mer tests were high­lighted by the VW emis­sions scan­dal which re­vealed test pro­grammes could be fid­dled to show false read­ings.

Now ev­ery new car des­tined for UK show­rooms will need to un­dergo a new test called the World­wide Har­monised Light Ve­hi­cle Test Pro­ce­dure (WLTP), which mea­sures all reg­u­lated emis­sions, as well as CO2 and fuel econ­omy.

And in a world first, new mod­els be­ing de­vel­oped for sale in Bri­tain will also need to prove their air qual­ity cre­den­tials by pass­ing a brand new Real Driv­ing Emis­sions (RDE) test us­ing spe­cial state-of-the-art por­ta­ble emis­sions mea­sure­ment (PEMS) equip­ment.

This very sen­si­tive equip­ment analy­ses the trace tailpipe emis­sions of pol­lu­tants, in­clud­ing NOX and par­tic­u­lates, while the car is driven in a wide range of both ev­ery-day and ex­treme con­di­tions.

It is de­signed to en­sure ve­hi­cles meet the tough Euro 6 emis­sions stan­dard on the road as well as in the lab where the WLTP eval­u­a­tion will still be car­ried out.

Mike Hawes, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the So­ci­ety of Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Traders, said: “These new and de­mand­ing tests will soon give con­sumers emis­sions per­for­mance in­for­ma­tion that is far closer to what they ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind the wheel – and in­spire greater con­fi­dence that the new cars they buy are not only the cleanest, but the most fuel ef­fi­cient ever pro­duced.”

He added: “We wel­come this chal­leng­ing new regime, which will pro­vide hard ev­i­dence that the in­dus­try’s on­go­ing in­vest­ment in ever more ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy is de­liv­er­ing on air qual­ity goals.”

A num­ber of car com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Ford, Vaux­hall and Audi have re­cently in­tro­duced ‘scrap­page’ schemes of­fer­ing huge dis­counts on new mod­els to own­ers who trade in ve­hi­cles which do not com­ply with the lat­est emis­sion stan­dards.

Sales of diesel cars have also slumped in the past few months as con­cerns grow over air pol­lu­tion.

The WLTP and RDE tests re­place the pre­vi­ous and long-out­dated lab­o­ra­tory test known as the New Euro­pean Driv­ing Cy­cle (NEDC), which was de­signed back in the 1980s and last up­dated in 1997.

Rev­o­lu­tion­ary in its day, NEDC was in­tended to pro­vide con­sis­tent bench­mark­ing in­for­ma­tion for buy­ers across Europe as well as de­ter­min­ing whether cars meet min­i­mum air qual­ity stan­dards.

It also pro­vided the ba­sis for the UK’s CO2 based Ve­hi­cle Ex­cise Duty sys­tem which was up­dated in April this year, set­ting new emis­sion thresh­olds for the next four years.

The WLDC process analy­ses a ve­hi­cle’s per­for­mance over a longer dis­tance and time, at higher av­er­age speeds and also in­cludes vari­a­tions in gear­ing and more rapid ac­cel­er­a­tion and de­cel­er­a­tion pat­terns.

It will be car­ried out on all new mod­els in­clud­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cle and plug-in hy­brids.

While that test will still be done un­der con­trolled con­di­tions, it will be com­ple­mented by the on-road RDE test which will en­sure the ve­hi­cle’s lab test per­for­mance is matched in ev­ery­day con­di­tions.

It uses a por­ta­ble sys­tem at­tached to the ex­haust which mea­sures emis­sions while the ve­hi­cle is driven on the road.

Some car mak­ers, no­tably Peu­geot, have al­ready been car­ry­ing out such test­ing and pub­lish­ing the data.

RDE will also in­clude ex­treme driv­ing con­di­tions, rarely en­coun­tered by most mo­torists, for ex­am­ple car­ry­ing a heavy load up a steep hill at high speed in very low tem­per­a­tures.

Only when a ve­hi­cle meets these re­quire­ments, as in­de­pen­dently wit­nessed by a gov­ern­ment-ap­pointed in­de­pen­dent ap­proval agency, will it be ap­proved for sale in Europe.

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