MOTORING NEWS & VIDEOS - The launch of the new Ford Ranger took place last week right here in the Garden Route. Motor journalists from all over South Africa flew in from Monday to Friday for a driving experience in the exciting new Ford Ranger in this beautiful part of the world.
I joined the group on Wednesday and Thursday and day one saw the journalists welcomed by Ford at George Airport and taken to the Outeniqua Transport Museum for a snack before boarding the Outeniqua Power Van that included an interesting talk about the George area.
After the Power Van trip, everyone booked in at Oubaai and attended a briefing session about the features of the Ford Ranger. After the info session we had Wednesday evening to ourselves - playtime!
Click here for a photo gallery.
Day two started with a buffet breakfast and then the media drove off in the Ford Rangers two-two - one navigating while the other took the wheel before changing places.
Driving over the Outeniqua mountain on the old Voortrekker pass we encountered some rough patches and was happy to be a driving a great 4x4 as we had to employ our best off road driving techniques.
After lunch at Louvain Guest Farm we stopped at the SPCA Garden Route to deliver two tonnes of dog and cat food as Ford’s contribution on International Pets Day.
Let's get serious
The New Ford Ranger is a serious vehicle. It can play hard, but also work hard. The look is sleek and robust rolled into one and put together in a supreme way - quality of the highest order. It is inspiring to see top-quality tech on a working bakkie, and boy, it makes a difference!
Ford is also raising the bar in the ultra-competitive light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment with the launch of the New Ranger. They made numerous mechanical and technological upgrades and the Ranger introduces fresh exterior and interior design cues enhancing its tough truck image.
The Ford Ranger Wildtrak, which now comes with HID headlamps and LED daytime running lights, has retained its familiar vertical aspect ratio grille also incorporating the classic 'nostrils' in its design, but the lower bumper surface is more chiselled than before. It also has LED fog lamps that give a greater level of distinction.
On the inside the Ranger boasts sedan-like comfort and chrome elements abounds. It has gloss-finish decorative spear and upscale partial leather seats embossed with the Wildtrak logo. The seats look sporty, but are very comfortable. Off-road and on very rough terrain the Ranger was rattle free and so quiet that I could have a normal conversation with my journalist friend. Actually, it was exceptional noise free inside the cabin.
Watch a video below:
The high-tech 2.0 Bi-Turbo engine deliveres a maximum output of 157kW and an impressive 500Nm of torque.
The other engine is the 2.0 Single Turbo engine, which is offered on the Ranger Double Cab XLT 4x4 and 4x2 derivatives. This engine delivers a light and urgent feel across the rev-range, and produces 132kW and 420Nm between 1 750 and 2 500 r/min.
The tried and trusted 2.2-litre TDCi engine remains a key part of the new Ranger line-up across the Single Cab, SuperCab and Double Cab models. This vehicle generates 88kW/285Nm with a five-speed manual gearbox for the base-spec models, and 118kW/385Nm.
The engines are very responsive and strong. I never lacked for power and actually had to be very gentle on the gas over the technical 4x4 areas, as the vehicle has so much power it could easily jump forward, but the vehicle was in sport mode at the time which obviously makes the engine more responsive.
The 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo and 2.0 Single Turbo engines are exclusively available in Ford's sophisticated all-new 10-speed automatic transmission. It offers a wider spread of ratios enabling the optimal gear to be selected for performance and fuel efficiency.
Watch a video below:
Other high-tech new features include real-time adaptive shift scheduling that allows the transmission to adapt to changing conditions.
Additional innovations include the Progressive Range Select (PRS) with a Select Shift Transmission (SST) button. This function is able to lock out selected gears from the automatic shifting range, which can be beneficial when towing, driving in slippery conditions or on a steep gradient.
A key change has been the relocation of the front stabiliser, or anti-roll bar, from the tight confines in front of the fully independent suspension to a new position behind the axle. The change gives the Ford Ranger a softer and more sedan like ride. I had an extremely comfortable ride in this bakkie. The vehicle handled like a dream.
The technology is incredibly impressive and far ranging, so here are just some highlights.
Semi-Automatic Parallel Park Assist: This system uses ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers that search for and identify parking spaces that are big enough to parallel park the vehicle.
Other technologies include: Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Alert, Lane-Keeping Alert and Lane-Keeping Aid, and Auto High Beam Control and Electric power-assisted steering.
The Ranger also features EZ-lift technology for the tailgate. You can lift and open the normally heavy tailgate with one finger now.
Ford also made the cabin quitter inside with the use of a few technologies like Acoustic laminated front and side glass. They also reduced noise with specially designed B-pillar margin seals and then the most impressive of all is the Active Noise Control technology. This creates a wave length in the cabin than cancels out noise. Yes, that is a mouth full but it works.
I enjoyed driving the New Ford Ranger very much. It is certainly a very good choice in a vehicle. I drove it in all conditions and I can assure you that it drives like a dream. But like I always said. Go down to your Ford dealer and try it yourself.
Watch a video below:
'We bring you the latest Garden Route, Hessequa, Karoo news'