[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ord Motor Company of Southern Africa recently performed a media launch of the all-new Ford Ranger 2-2 automatic drive that would be sold in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) markets.
The launch came complete with an on and off road test-drive that presented the toughness and intelligent features of the new Ranger pick-up truck.
The test-drive took place in George, South Africa, running through farm roads in hill-country-side with a real challenging drive through an equally hilly and sandy terrain off the coast of the Indian Ocean, where the toughness of the all-new Ranger 2.2 automatic vehicle sprang to life.
This is a sure sign that the new Ford Ranger is set to establish new benchmarks in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment with an uncompromised blend of robust capability, craftsmanship and advanced technology.
“The new Ford Ranger brings a new level of comfort and refinement to its segment without compromising on the rugged capability that our customers demand and have come to appreciate from the current model,” said Tracey Delate, General Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region. “It represents a smarter kind of tough, and will help our customers to achieve more in every type of application.”
“The current Ranger is one of the toughest, most capable pickups out there, and this is reflected in the exceptional sales of the Ranger in Sub-Saharan Africa which have increased significantly since it was launched in 2011,” Delate said.
“Thanks to our proud truck heritage and global expertise in the utility segment, we’ve made what was great even better, with a bold new look, improved efficiency and a new level of refinement. We expect the new Ranger to continue the trend, and build on this unprecedented success.”
The new Ranger continues to be produced at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria and exported to 148 markets in Africa and Europe. The Duratorq TDCi engines are manufactured at the Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth.
[highlight color=”blue”]Tough and modern design…[/highlight]
The changes to the new Ranger begin with an updated exterior design. A bold, more modern look lends Ranger a powerful presence on the road, and immediately conveys a sense of capability. A more muscular hood flows into a strong new trapezoidal grille, which connects seamlessly with the chiseled projector headlamps, accentuating the new Ranger’s width and strong stance.
“When you look at how our customers use their vehicles, it’s important that a Ranger looks and functions as a tough, dependable tool,” Delate adds.
“Ford’s design team saw an opportunity to give the design extra tension, and to emphasize ‘Built Ford Tough’ design elements like the outboard nostrils – all while maintaining the new Ranger’s excellent aerodynamic characteristics.”
The updated exterior has been combined with a stylish new interior on the new XLT, Wildtrak and Limited versions that creates an even more comfortable, contemporary and car-like environment for the driver and passengers. Strong horizontal lines run across the width of the cab, giving a sense of spaciousness, creating a clear distinction between the upper and lower levels, and placing the focus on the central eight-inch touchscreen.
Behind the steering wheel, a new dual-TFT instrument cluster provides drivers with information about the vehicle, as well as entertainment, climate control and mobile phone features at a glance.
“The interior of the new Ranger is sleek and modern, with a strong technical aspect to it,” said Delate. “Accentuating the design, materials were chosen that are stylish and attractive while being durable enough to handle the harsh life of a work truck. The interior may look more car-like, but it’s as practical as ever.”
[highlight color=”blue”]Capability and refinement…[/highlight]
The new Ford Ranger remains one of the most capable pick-ups in its class. With an exceptional 800mm water wading depth, and with 230mm of ground clearance, it is designed and engineered to handle the most extreme terrains with ease. Thanks to a 28-degree approach angle and 25-degree departure angle, drivers in the new Ranger can feel confident when taking on steep obstacles.
A robust electronically controlled transfer case allows drivers in 4×4 models to shift on the fly from 4×2 to 4×4 high via a knob on the centre console. For low-speed torque or additional downhill control, drivers can also engage low-range 4×4 gearing, while an electronic locking rear differential helps to improve traction in difficult conditions. These off-road strengths are matched to a towing capability of up to 3,500kg and impressive payload capacity.
The new Ranger achieves all this with a level of refinement not usually seen in the pick-up segment. While the current Ranger already sets the standard for ride and handling, Ford engineers fine-tuned the suspension of the new version for additional comfort and even better handling.
The driving experience is further enhanced by an electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) system, which provides precise steering with a natural and confident feel. With EPAS, steering is light and manageable for low-speed manoeuvring, such as parking, and precise at higher speeds.
The level of assistance varies based on speed, steering wheel angle, cornering forces and acceleration or deceleration. Furthermore, by eliminating the power steering pump used in a traditional power-steering system, EPAS also results in a quieter vehicle and improves fuel efficiency by about three percent.
Engineers fitted the new Ranger with advanced sound-deadening materials and improved insulation for one of the quietest and most comfortable cabin interiors in its class.
[highlight color=”blue”]Advanced technology…[/highlight]
A host of cutting-edge technologies are available on the new Ford Ranger to help drivers stay connected and in control.
SYNC®2, the latest generation of Ford’s in-car connectivity system, gives drivers smarter and safer ways to stay connected and is standard on the new Ranger XLT and Wildtrak. Using natural voice commands, like “temperature 20 degrees”, “play AC/DC” or “call John”, the driver can control the car’s climate controls, entertainment system and phone functions more easily than ever before. An eight-inch touchscreen places more controls at the driver’s fingertips, with color-coded corners for easy menu navigation.
For extra convenience, the new Ranger features a 240-volt power socket that can be used to power a laptop computer or mobile device anywhere, from a work site to a family road trip.
There is also an array of driver assist features, including Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and ABS on XL+ models and above. The ESP system integrates Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist, Hill Descent Control, Adaptive Load Control, Trailer Sway Control, while ABS includes Emergency Brake Assistance and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.
New Wildtrak and Limited models are equipped with Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, electrochromatic rearview mirror, Front and Rear Park Assist, Rearview Camera, Power Convertor and load box illumination on the sports bar.
[highlight color=”blue”]Efficient power…[/highlight]
The new Ranger’s impressive power, capability, and payload and towing capacity are made possible thanks to the latest generation of powerful, more refined and fuel-efficient Duratorq TDCi diesel engines, as well as the proven Duratec petrol unit. These engines provide new Ranger customers with a winning combination of power and efficiency in all conditions, and help to underscore Ford’s fun-to-drive promise.
Ford’s mighty 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi five-cylinder diesel engine tops the range, and has earned an impressive reputation for its segment-defining levels of performance. Upgrades include a new exhaust gas recirculation system that helps improve fuel efficiency by up to 18 percent, while still producing 147kW (200PS) of power and 470Nm of torque.
The capable and economical 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi four-cylinder diesel engine remains part of the line-up, available in mid-power 92kW (125PS)/320Nm guise, or the high-power version with 110kW (150PS) and 375Nm. Combined with the addition of EPAS and the use of a longer final drive ratio, this reduces fuel consumption.
The new Ranger is also available with Ford’s dependable 2.5-litre Duratec petrol engine, providing 122kW (163PS) of power and 226 Nm of torque.
Depending on model derivative, the new Ranger is equipped with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, or a five-speed manual on the petrol versions.
[highlight color=”blue”]Refreshed model range…[/highlight]
The new Ford Ranger is available in a wide range of models and specification levels, spanning a total of 42 models across the left-hand drive markets in the SSA region.
A total of seven single cab derivatives are on offer, spanning the Base 2.5 petrol and 2.2L diesel through to the 2.2 XL+ 4×4 Manual. The RAP Cab is available in a 2.2 4×4 XLT version.
A revised Double Cab range consist of a total of 34 models, ranging from the 92kW (125PS) 2.2 Duratorq TDCi Commercial 4×2, to the 147kW (200PS) 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi Limited 4×4, with the choice of manual and automatic transmissions.
However, Ford said the declared fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures were acquired according to the technical requirements and specifications (SANS 20101: 2006 / ECE R101: 2005) within laboratory conditions, as stipulated by legislation. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures are used to compare different vehicle types under uniform conditions and are not necessarily indicative of real-life driving conditions. Note that the actual fuel consumption and emission will depend on many factors including your driving habits, prevailing conditions and your vehicles equipment, condition and use.
Also, the company said the model range is determined by specific markets in SSA. “Not all derivatives are available in each market.”
Ford is represented in Nigeria by Coscharis Motors Company.