Ford Raptor hatches

It’s fierce, it is fast and it is furious. It is also wider, rides higher and is brilliant in sand and on fast Kalahari tracks.

It is the new Ford Ranger Raptor. The ultimate big boy’s toy.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Although the new Raptor is based on the Ranger platform, it is a very different beast. The development team were given a blank cheque and told to make the fastest off-road bakkie, perhaps inspired by the very rapid US F-150 based Raptor.

Ranger Raptor suspension

They started with the chassis, which they widened by 150mm, strengthened and stiffened. An entirely new suspension was developed by Ford Australia which includes high performance Fox shocks Position Sensitive Damping, a Watts linkage at the back (from the Everset), forged aluminium upper control arms and cast aluminium lower control arms. This gives the Raptor 32% more travel at the front and 22% at the rear. An enhanced version of Ford Stability Control incorporating Roll Mitigation Function and Electronic Stability Control; Trailer Sway Control; Hill Start Assist; Hill Descent Control and Load Adaptive Control helps keep things under control.

“The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road versus any other available standard production road vehicle, and still provide amazing ride comfort on-road,” says Damien Ross, chief program engineer, Ford Ranger Raptor. BF Goodrich developed new 285/70 R17 all-terrain tyres specially for the Raptor.

Top speed is governed at 178km/h due to the tyres. The Raptor cabin is exceptionally quiet when cruising on the highway.  This is due to a combination of good tyre design, noise cancelling technology and double glazing for the side windows.

The new suspension and tyres give the Raptor a ground clearance of 283mm and a wading depth of 870 mm.

Ford Ranger Raptor at full tilt

The 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo engine gets quite growly when pushed, but pleasantly so, producing a very useful 157kW and 500Nm and is mated to Ford’s advanced new 10-speed automatic transmission with magnesium paddle shifters. A unique transmission calibration also includes a Live In Drive (LID) function enabling prompt manual gear selection override.

During a drive from Upington to Goera Pan we got 9.7 L/100km at a steady 120 km/h but consumption  goes up to 16 odd at 160km/h. That is still not bad for a big bakkie.

This bakkie handles beautifully both on and off-road.  Three drive settings –  2H, 4H and 4L and six modes provide the magic. If you want to have fun you select Baja mode, which is one of the 6 modes of what Ford calls the Terrain Management System: normal, sport, sand, snow, mud and fun, er, Baja. Systems such as Traction Control are pared back to allow more spirited off-road driving, while gear selection is optimised for maximum performance, holding gears longer and downshifting more aggressively.

Driving on the Goera Pan on a specially laid out “rally” track with a variety of surfaces, bumps, dips, very soft sand, hard stoney packed stretches was an eye opener. Especially when Gareth Woolridge took the wheel of the Raptor.

The interior of the Raptor is about function. It is effectively a sports car. The blue stitching on the top of the dash and on the  really comfortable and supportive seats which are covered in technical suede add a light touch. The instrumentation is top notch, especially the “trip computer” which is actually a whole lot more. Ford’s Synch 3 infotainment system is good and easy to use and has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto . The navigation is by “Maps for Africa”  and comes with an update licence for 5 years.

There are extra ports at the back.

The Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS) is also linked to the TMS, providing varying levels of assistance and responsiveness according to the specific drive mode selected

The exterior is quite butch but bakkie like. Personally I think it fits the bill, especially in grey and white, although most of the media contingent like the blue version. Raptor looks the part, the big bruiser from the blue oval. Other bakkies just look peh in comparison.

The actual colours are: Ford Performance Blue, Colorado Red, Absolute Black, Frozen White and Conquer Grey, with contrasting Dyno Grey accents.

The Raptor is about going very fast over sandy or open terrain. It is a high performance vehicle. The looks, the interior, the finish, (good as they all are) are somewhat immaterial. It is the go that counts.

Raptor has all the safety systems and equipment of the normal Ranger.

The retail price of R786 400 is reasonable in the context of the delivery.

All Ford Rangers come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A six-year/90 000km service plan is included, with 15 000km service intervals.

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Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab XLT AT 4×4

Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab XLT AT 4×4

Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab XLT AT 4×4

We tested this bakkie before in 2.2 and 3.2 guise but I have to say this facelifted version is even better. Ford has really pulled out all the stops to improve an already good vehicle. The interior sets the standard for the bakkie sector.

You can move effortlessly between 2WD and 4WD high mode or low mode with what Ford calls Shift-on-the-fly. It waltzes over any obstacle effortlessly.

I really like the e-Locking Rear Differential, ESP braking system and the clever underseat storage.
The big turbo diesel puts out a massive 470 @ 1500 – 2750 and achieves a claimed 8.6L/100km. I got just over 10L/100km.

It is a pleasure to drive on and off-road. It has the power. To do almost anything… a bakkie should.

There are a number of trim and equipment levels to choose from

Base – Fleet workhorses: manual windows, vinyl flooring, no ABS or air-con
XL – Mid-level: ABS, ESC, radio with bluetooth, electric windows
XL plus – Heavy duty: like XL but adds 4×4, dual batteries, expanded wiring harness, 17” wheels and AT tyres
XLS – With instrument panel incorporatingSYNC® with a CD player and Bluetooth.
XLT – With even more goodies for the leisure market, and dual colour 4.2-inch TFT screen.
Wildtrak – Top of the range is our equivalent to the Raptor in the bigger US Ford bakkies.

The Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux are somewhat different but they are equals. One does some things better than the other and vice versa.

I personally prefer the Ranger above the HiLux.

The bakkie as tested costs R570 900

Ford Ranger XLT TDCi 3.2 Auto

Ford Ranger XLT TDCi 3.2 Auto

Ford Ranger line-up gets 2.2 TDCi Automatic

Ford has announced that from July 2016 the 2.2 Duretorq TDCi range will include automatic models.

A total of nine 2.2 TDCi Auto variants will be offered, boosting the revised Ranger line-up to a total of 36 models. It will be available across all three body styles.

Ford_Ranger_XLT_dash

The existing manual version of the Ranger.

“The success of the automatic transmission option on the Ford Ranger is unprecedented, with almost 70% of buyers opting for the auto instead of the manual in the powerful 3.2-litre models,” says Tracey Delate, General Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

“The latest refinements, increased performance and enhanced fuel efficiency of the New Ranger, particularly with the updated 2.2 Duratorq TDCi engine, has led to growing customer interest in the option of an automatic transmission on these models.

In addition, customers will be able to select from all three trim and specification levels in the case of the Ranger Double Cab 2.2 Auto, comprising the entry-level XL, the mid-range XLS and the top-end XLT which provides a peerless combination of luxury and convenience. The Single Cab and Super Cab can be specified in XL and XLS guises for the 2.2 Auto.

Prices will be released later.

Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT

Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT

Everest goes local

Ford Motor Company is investing R2.5-billion to expand operations its Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, to produce the new Ford Everest, along with the new Ford Ranger that was launched at the end of last year.

Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa says “By producing the Everest in South Africa, we will be able to make it more readily available, and in a greater variety of models, for customers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.”

everest factory

The Silverton facility joins AutoAlliance Thailand in Rayong; Ford’s Chennai plant in India (where it is sold as the Endeavor) and the JMC Xiaolan Plant in Nanchang, China, as production hubs for the Everest. Initial production at Silverton of the Everest will commence in the third quarter of 2016, with the first units expected to come to market in the fourth quarter. South African-produced models will be sold locally and exported to markets across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Silverton Assembly Plant features state-of-the-art automation utilising Ford’s global manufacturing processes, and will be equipped to produce 10 000 Everest’s per annum. “The all-new Everest has been extremely well received since it was launched in September last year, with demand far outstripping supply,” said Jeff Nemeth, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region.

everest-8_1800x1800

Currently, the Everest is imported from Thailand, using the locally produced 3.2-litre five-cylinder Duratorq TDCi engine. It is only available in South Africa in 3.2 Automatic guise in two specification levels – XLT and the range-topping Limited. With local production, a 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi four-cylinder diesel engine will be added to the range, along with a wider spread of specification levels.

Ford Ranger 3.2 TDCi XLT 6 speed auto 4×4 review

King of bakkies

King of bakkies

Ford Ranger 3.2 TDCi XLT 6 speed auto 4×4

The king of bakkies.

It’s a hell of a thing to say, but I really do think the Ranger 3.2 automatic 4×4 double cab is the king in South Africa.

Nothing matches it.

The Nissan Navarra and VW Amarok are not very far behind, but they just don’t quite make the grade.

Ranger 3.2 4x4 auto DC

Ranger 3.2 4×4 auto DC

The Toyota Land Cruiser probably has more rock climbing ability and desert crossing grunt, but it is a truck, like a Land Rover Defender. As a plain lekka bakkie, Ranger 3.2 is king. Simply put, the competition lags behind. No wonder the HiLux has been trumped in the sales charts for the first time in literally decades.

The only negative  I can think of is the size or bulk. On the open road you do not feel the size. It is only when parking, in town or in an average garage. This Ranger is long and wide. It is 5.27m long and 2.16m wide. Your garage door has to be 1.9m high or you won’t get in.

Ford-Ranger-3.2-MacGregor-005_ass

In spite of the bulk, fuel consumption is around 11 litres/100km provided you aren’t speeding or driving through sand. Then all bets are off.

The electronic stability control system is the best practical system on any bakkie and possibly 4×4 and includes roll over mitigation, adaptive load control as well as hill launch and descent control. It allows one more confidence and gives a better ride on tar and on gravel than any of its competition.

Easy to driveFord-Ranger-3.2-MacGregor-041

The Ranger is fun to drive in any conditions and on any surface. Easy too.  It is the first bakkie to get a EuroCAP five star safety rating.

My wife drove the Ranger up the Boesmanskloof pass near McGregor in the rain, and down again without breaking into a sweat. Nuff said.

This bakkie handles well, accelerates well and stops…  quickly.

Off-road the Ranger is as good as any other double cab and better than most, most of the time. You can’t really go wrong with it.

There are a number of little (clever) details in the Ranger that give it just that little extra boost, for example the external tie hooks for the load area, the smaller front doors to allow bigger doors at the back, and so on. Small touches that all add up. Clever design.

What’s not to like in this bakie? Not much.

I think the automatic version is even better than the manual and recommend it.

Price as tested R497 200. The 3.2 double cab range starts at R340 000 and tops out at R541 900.

In this size of bakkie also look at the (new) Isuzu KB, Nissan Navarra, Mazda BT, GWM Steed 6 and VW Amarok.

The Ranger comes with a four year or 120 000km warranty and 5 year or 90 000km service plan.

Ford-Ranger-3.2-MacGregor-018

 

 

Ford Ranger updated and range expanded

Additional derivatives have been added to the Ford Ranger line-up to meet with strong customer demand.

The Wildtrak derivative will now be offered in 4×2 and 4×4 automatic guise having previously only been available in 4×2 manual guise. It is powered by Ford’s 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi five-cylinder diesel engine with a substantial 470 Nm of torque and power rated at 147 kW.

The Ranger XLT and Wildtrak derivatives have achieved a maximum 5 Star rating under the Euro NCAP crash test protocol. The Wildtrak is also comprehensively equipped with features normally associated with premium passenger vehicles. Among them Bluetooth with voice control, steering wheel mounted radio controls, dual zone climate control, rain sensing wipers, power windows front and rear, heated seats and more.

Image

Other changes to the Ranger line-up in 2013 include the addition of Bluetooth with voice activation, including steering wheel audio controls and a USB port to the Single, Super and Double Cab XLS derivatives, while all XLT models can now be fitted with Park Distance Sensors and a Reverse Camera as an optional extra. The Park Distance Sensor is fitted to the rear bumper with a Reverse Camera that appears in the review mirror when the vehicle is placed in reverse.

Single Cab Base customers will now have the opportunity to fit air-conditioning as an optional extra, while a Safety Pack will also be available as an option. The Safety Pack includes ABS brakes with EBD, beltminder and driver and passenger airbags.

A 4-year/120 000km warranty is standard on all models while a 5-year / 90 000km Service Plan is available as an option on entry level models and is standard from XL models up). Service intervals are stationed 15 000kms apart on diesel and petrol models. Customers will also benefit from 3 years of Roadside Assistance and a 5-year corrosion warranty as part of the Ford Ranger package. All-new Ranger 4×4 customers also receive free off-road driver training.

Ford Ranger 2.2 HP XL 6MT double cab review

Ford Ranger 2.2 HP XL 6MT Duratec double cab

This new Ranger takes the fight for best bakkie straight to the likes of the VW Amarok, Toyota HiLux and Nissan Navarra. I have left the KB out, even though I am a big fan, because Isuzu is launching their new bakkie in six months.

I think Ford have got it right. Right size, right looks, right engines. They have what looks like a winning package. In the looks department the Ford wins hand down. No contest.

The good

The new Ranger is the best Ford bakkie ever sold in South Africa. It really ticks all the right boxes.

In the looks department the Ford wins hand down. No contest. It looks big and bold. Like a bakkie, built tough.

The interior is excellent too. The rear doors are large and shoulder and knee room is best in class. There is enough space to carry five adults in comfort. The interior has three power points, 20 storage spaces, including a large cubby hole and space under the rear seat. In the centre console six cooldrinks can be kept and cooled, in the top of the range models.

The bakkie comes with air-con, a good sound system with several connection types, power steering and windows.

Safety is good, with several airbags, ABS, EBD and in the top models hill descent control ESP and DSC.

The driving position is very good, with both adjustable steering wheel and seats.

Even the basic workhorse double cab is comprehensively equipped.

The Bad 

Because it is a little bigger than previous Ford bakkies it might not fit into your garage. And because it is a little bigger it uses a bit more fuel than we would like, but is still miserly compared to light trucks of yesteryear.

The fairer sex and people with short legs may find the hoist up into the cab quite a mission. But that is a small price to pay for a wading depth of 800mm.

Driving impression

I drove the 2.2 HP XL 6MT, double cab 6 speed manual and can assure you that it is more than up to the task. It is easy to drive with a very smooth gearbox and a responsive clutch. Road manners are excellent, even unladen. With 200kgs on the back it is awesome to drive on tar and gravel.

Conclusion

You will only need the 3.2 5 cylinder turbodiesel if you have to have 147kW of power and 470Nm of torque to pull a heavy boat or trailer or you are going to spend a lot of time in heavy sand.

Prices

Prices start from R188 450 for the 4×2 single cab 2.2 MP Base LR 5MT Diesel, to R282 560 for the base 4×4 doublecab  2.2 HP XL 6MT Diesel I tested. The top of the range 3.2 XLT 4×4 6AT Diesel costs R447 800.

The standard warranty is 4 yr/120 000km.