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FORD has plenty of con­fi­dence in the up­com­ing Ranger Rap­tor’s 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel en­gine (2.0BT), with this pow­er­plant and its ac­com­pa­ny­ing 10-speed auto gear­box to be of­fered as an op­tion in the 2019 Ranger Wild­trak, Ranger XLT, and as stan­dard in the Ever­est Ti­ta­nium.

The bi-turbo equipped Ranger XLT will start at $57,390, with the Wild­trak 2.0BT top­ping out at $63,990. The cur­rent 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five-cylin­der diesel en­gine (with six-speed auto), along with the ex­ist­ing 2.2TD, carry over as en­gine op­tions for the rest of the Ranger line-up. Im­pres­sively, 2019 Ranger mod­els will in­clude a five-year, un­lim­ited kilo­me­tre war­ranty, on top of in­creased equip­ment lev­els. The 2.0-litre four-cylin­der bi-turbo diesel pro­duces 157kw at 3750rpm and 500Nm at 1750rpm.

For Ever­est, buy­ers keen on this mill will have to stump up for the Ti­ta­nium model, but can ex­pect their in­vest­ment to be money well spent in terms of per­for­mance and fuel econ­omy. The 2.0-litre bi-turbo, as fit­ted to the Ranger Wild­trak, will boast a claimed 6.7L/100km fuel con­sump­tion fig­ure, a big im­prove­ment on the cur­rent 3.2Td-equipped Ranger’s 8.2L/100km.

Mod­els with this new pow­er­train will gain the Rap­tor’s Ter­rain Man­age­ment Sys­tem (TMS) how­ever, for those look­ing to un­leash their in­ner desert racer, the ‘Baja’ mode found in Rap­tor will re­main ex­clu­sive to that model. In­ter­est­ingly, the 2.0Bt-equipped Rangers will boast the same 3500kg tow­ing ca­pac­ity as the 3.2TD vari­ants, as well as longer ser­vice in­ter­vals, while the Rap­tor has a lim­ited 2500kg tow­ing ca­pac­ity due to its be­spoke sus­pen­sion de­sign us­ing Fox coilovers.

Ford is also claim­ing that the Ranger’s ride and han­dling has been im­proved for 2019, by repo­si­tion­ing the front sta­biliser bar and adding a new front damp­ing tune (plus al­ter­ing rec­om­mended tyre pres­sures). Ford says the re­sul­tant


ge­om­e­try changes will of­fer driv­ers a lift in ride and bet­ter han­dling, along with im­proved NVH lev­els. Wheel sizes re­main the same, with the mid-spec XLT still rolling on 17-inch al­loys and the top-end (bar Rap­tor) Wild­trak sit­ting on 18s.

Other up­dates for 2019 in­clude the ad­di­tion of stan­dard Au­ton­o­mous Emer­gency Brak­ing (AEB) with Pedes­trian De­tec­tion and Ve­hi­cle De­tec­tion on the up­per-tier mod­els (Ranger Wild­trak plus Ever­est Ti­ta­nium, and avail­able as part of a tech pack for XLT). This sys­tem works by us­ing radar and cam­era tech to stop the Ranger if a ve­hi­cle or pedes­trian is de­tected, and it func­tions at speeds above 3.6km/h. To en­sure this sys­tem doesn’t in­trude dur­ing off-road driv­ing, it can be switched off. An­other new safety fea­ture for Wild­trak is Lane Keep­ing Alert and Lane Keep­ing Aid. As their re­spec­tive names sug­gest, they firstly alert the driver of “un­in­ten­tional lane de­par­ture” and then re-di­rect the ve­hi­cle if the driver doesn’t take ac­tion. These safety sys­tems do not come into ef­fect un­til 65km/h speeds are reached, en­sur­ing ur­ban driv­ing is un­af­fected. The fi­nal part of the new safety tech pack­age is Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol with For­ward Alert and Ac­tive Park As­sist (Wild­trak).

Key­less en­try is now stan­dard, and PEPS (Pas­sive En­try Pas­sive Start) tech al­lows you to open any door on the ve­hi­cle, not just the driver’s door. Wild­trak also cops an­other handy fea­ture: an “easy lift” tail­gate that in­cor­po­rates a new tor­sion rod to give it some as­sis­tance when lift­ing. It also means it won’t drop sud­denly when open­ing, rather, it will drop slowly un­der its own weight. Fur­ther driveraid tech (for Wild­trak) in­cludes Ac­tive Park As­sist for semi-auto par­al­lel park­ing and, yep, you’d bet­ter be­lieve it, Traf­fic Sign Recog­ni­tion.

The Rap­tor in­flu­ence is ev­i­dent in both the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior styling of the new Ranger line-up, with plenty of dark trim colours (read: black and grey) in­side, plus a re­designed gear shift (Ever­est scores this, too).

SYNC 3 stays stan­dard on all dual-cab Rangers and in­cludes Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto compatibility, Blue­tooth, an eight-inch colour touch­screen, and a re­vers­ing cam­era. For 2019 Rangers, own­ers will get SYNC 3 map up­dates for up to seven years, pro­vided the ve­hi­cle is ser­viced by Ford deal­ers.

Prov­ing when you are on a good thing, stick to it, the Ranger ex­te­rior has only had sub­tle styling changes, with most aimed at fur­ther dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing the mod­els within the line-up. This in­cludes a new rich or­ange hero colour – dubbed ‘Sabre’ by Ford and ex­clu­sive to Wild­trak. Fur­ther ex­te­rior styling changes in­clude LED Day Time Run­ning Lights (DTRLS) for Wild­trak, HID head­lights for Wild­trak and XLT, plus a re­shaped front lower bumper bar, a rear step bumper and a re­vised grille that ac­cen­tu­ates the bluff front end.

With the op­tion of an all-new en­gine/driv­e­train, com­bined with the al­ter­na­tive of the tried-and-true 3.2TD and six-speed auto, plus gen­eral im­prove­ments across the range – not to men­tion that ex­cel­lent five year/ un­lim­ited kays war­ranty – Ford has en­sured the Ranger will con­tinue to re­main at the top end of the ve­hi­cle sales re­sults in Oz for a while yet.

The up­dated Ford Ranger and Ever­est mod­els, in­clud­ing the Ranger Rap­tor, will go on sale in Aus­tralia in Q3 this year.

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