Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date: 24 Mar 2016

Having attended the South African media launch of the all-new Ford Ranger back in late 2015, I decided that I must spend a bit more time exploring the capabilities of the latest generation, Ford Ranger.

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The changes to the all-new Ford Ranger are not just skin deep. When you look at the vehicle from the outside, you immediately notice its more squared jaw-line grill and bold styling ques. The cosmetics, however, are just the beginning.

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Ford have implemented a host of new driver aid and convenience features in this latest generation Ranger. These include options such as lane-departure warning assist, the touch-screen-based Ford Sync 2 interface which features in the XLT and Wildtrack and the list goes on.. The vehicle which I have been reviewing is the XLS edition, which features the Ford Sync voice control system, backing-up review camera with trajectory and an overall very comfortable cabin which closely resembles the Ford Focus. Its central small colour display screen remains simple yet functional.

TBK - 4The Ranger comes in 32 different variations, so it is not likely for you not to find the one, which suits your requirements. The options include single-cab, super-cab and double-cab variants. The vehicle which I tested, was the XLS double-cab edition.

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The Ranger double-cab can easily accommodate a family of four and provides a great way to explore those hard to reach locations, thanks to its 267mm ground clearance and go-anywhere attitude and toughness.

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Rear space is plentiful, with more than enough leg and head room, with the drivers seat set all the way back in my preferred position  (my height: 181 cm). I would recommend getting a cover for the rear loading cargo bay as this can be a limitation if you don’t want to leave any belongings exposed when traveling in the vehicle.

The XLS Ranger which I drove is the 2.2 TDCi XLS and it features a six-speed manual gearbox and 4×4 drivetrain with locking diff. With the ability to be operated in 2H ; 4H and 4L this all-new Ranger appears to swallow-up and driving track you throw at it!

TBK - 8During the media launch of the all-new Ford Ranger, the journalists were given the opportunity to summit some of the highest peaks which the Matroosberg Nature Reserve near Ceres, Western Cape had to offer. It was upon this time, that the Ranger really made it clear, that no matter the task, it would conquer it. With Hill Descent Assist, descending the most daunting of slopes proves to be rather easy, that is if you have the stomach for it! The Hill Descent Assist feature allows the driver to merely control steering while the Ranger applies the appropriate amount of braking for each wheel individually to descend the slope.

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Having spent time exploring much of the West Coast National Park, the all-new Ford Ranger was able to get me to some remote locations, only possible to explore in a high-riding SUV. Despite the Ford Ranger being a heavy vehicle, it still manages to feel almost “nimble” to drive and loves to kick its tail out at any opportunity. This makes it a very pleasant drive. The power assisted steering and wealth of driver aids also make using the Ranger on a daily basis very comfortable and  you  almost completely forget about its large dimensions.

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Overall the all-new Ford Ranger has already spoken for itself in terms of the numbers. With it being SA’s best-selling bakkie of 2015 and even being named SA’s top selling vehicle in the month of February 2016, it’s pretty clear what the overall buyers market feel about this vehicle. The Ford Rangers closest competitors include the Toyota Hilux, Isuzu KB and Mazda BT-50.

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With prices ranging from R191,900 – R596,900 and the many available variations, there really is a Ranger built to suit and requirement and budget. My personal choice in the Ranger fleet is the Wildtrack, I was completely overwhelmed by the level of tech, high-end material build and silky smooth 3,2 L TDCi engine. I would also personally opt for the automatic gearbox and this proves to be an overall more relaxing drive in traffic.

To see my driving impressions, kindly view the below video:

Also, see the footage for the Ford Ranger SA media launch – 2015

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