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Ford gives hot-selling Ranger another update

Higher standard specification, heavy-duty suspension option incoming for Ford Ranger

16 Aug 2019

FORD Australia will give the Ranger ute its third update in 14 months in December, with another specification bump to help it in the battle against Toyota’s rival HiLux that currently holds the title of Australia’s best-selling overall model.


Following a minor facelift in October last year and a subsequent upgrade eight months later, the Ranger will up the ante yet again in one of Australia’s most competitive segments, with changes stretching range wide.


The entry-level XL and XLT grades will gain an 8.0-inch touchscreen powered by Ford’s Sync3 infotainment system as standard, with it bundling in support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


Meanwhile, the mid-range XLT and flagship Wildtrak and Raptor variants will trade their HID projector headlights and halogen high-beam reflectors for bi-LED and LED items respectively.


The upgraded lighting system will be distinguished by a new square lamp design that will replace the previous circular version.


According to the Blue Oval, the new set-up’s lighting penetration is 17 per cent better, but this improvement increases to 20 per cent when the high beams are in use.


The Wildtrak grade will also pick up a fresh set of 18-inch alloy wheels with a machined finish as standard, although black-finish items with a six-spoke design will remain optional for both it and XLT variants.


Additionally, the Wildtrak grade will add a power-operated roller shutter as standard, with it controlled via the key fob, a dash-mounted switch or a button within the tub.


Replacing a manual roller shutter, the new unit will have a sleeker lid that will increase cargo capacity. Specifically, the opening length between the canister and tailgate will be 80mm longer, while height clearance will grow by 20mm.


The Raptor variant will trade its optional Blue Lightning paintwork – which will remain available across the rest of the Ranger line-up – for an exclusive Ford Performance Blue hue that punctuates its hero status.


All grades will also be fitted with an additional USB port that will be located behind the rearview mirror to support the fitment of dash-cams. Ford dealers will offer a Garman unit as an accessory.


In what Ford Australia claims is a segment first, all XL variants (excluding the 4x2 Low-Rider) will become optionally available with factory-fitted heavy-duty suspension that is backed by its usual five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. It will cost $500.


According to the company, “the package has been introduced to enable improved ride and handling characteristics for those who regularly carry a significant load in the rear tray”, with feedback coming from the mining and construction industries, among others.


Specifically, the set-up will include thicker rear springs with a revised rate, new front and rear dampers with a revised tune, Bridgestone A/S tyres for 4x2 versions (already standard on their 4x4 counterparts), and uniquely calibrated Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).


Ford Australia says that when carrying a “typical” load of 550kg, the heavy-duty suspension will improve bump-stop clearance by 70 per cent – or 25mm – when compared to the standard set-up, therefore enhancing the Ranger’s departure angles.


Pricing for the upgraded Ranger line-up will be announced closer to its December launch. For reference, it currently starts at $28,340 plus on-road costs for the manual XL Low-Rider single-cab chassis, topping out at $75,990 for the automatic Raptor dual-cab pick-up.


“Feedback from Australian and New Zealand customers has driven upgrades across the Ranger line-up, from heavy-duty suspension in the XL, to a remote-control powered roller shutter on Wildtrak, and new bi-LED projector headlights on the XLT, Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor,” said Ford Australia and New Zealand president and chief executive officer Kay Hart.


“Customers also told us they want the convenience of a windshield-mounted USB to power accessories, so we will now make this available across the Ranger line-up.”


Ranger sales have been steady this year, with 24,664 examples sold to the end of July – a 1.6 per cent decrease over the 25,056 deliveries made during the same period in 2018.


As a result, the Ranger remains the second best-selling model in the combined ute segment, trailing the Toyota HiLux (29,491 units) but ahead of the Mitsubishi Triton (14,281), Holden Colorado (11,013) and Isuzu D-Max (9747), among others.

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