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Ford gives Ranger a tickle

Black on black: Buyers of Ford’s popular Ranger XLT can switch up to a black leather interior for $1650.

Ranger XLT gains leather option as Ford refines its ute after customer feedback

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Ford logo28 Jun 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

FORD Australia has tweaked its top seller, the Ranger ute, as it continues to zero in on the market-leading Toyota HiLux and its national vehicle sales crown.

The Australian-developed, Thai-built Ford pick-up sits just 1330 units behind the HiLux – 17,917 to 16,587 – after the first five months of the year, with Ranger’s 4x4 line-up leading its Toyota equivalent, 14,114 to 13,202.

Although the changes to Ranger are minor, Ford says it has listened to its customers in making the latest updates.

Leather seat upholstery becomes available on mid-range XLT double-cab 4x4 and 4x2 variants as a $1650 option, allowing customers to add some bling. The black leather also includes matching leather door trim inserts.

Wildtrak’s seats also have come in for some TLC, getting a new, more stain-resistant trim, along with less piping and a shorter front cushion overhang. The latter is said to improve comfort.

All variants will now get the external temperature display previously only provided on XLT and Wildtrak, while cupholders will get sprung fingers to secure smaller containers for less spillage.

Finally, the tie-down hooks on the outside of the Ranger XLS’s pick-up have been removed for a cleaner look.

The current PX Mark II Ranger was launched in January 2015, and is due to be replaced in 2019 by an all-new model now under development in Australia at Ford Asia Pacific Product Development Centre in Victoria.

While Ranger has been making great sales strides this year, with 4x2 sales up 6.0 per cent and 4x4 sales rising 19.7 per cent, it will still have its work cut out catching HiLux by the end of this year.

June is traditionally HiLux’s monster month as tradies and farmers come out to play for end-of-financial-year bargains. Toyota’s website lists eight HiLux specials variously offering items such as free on-roads, alloy wheel upgrades, bullbars and TRD sports packs.

Ford’s website lists three Ranger specials – all 3.2-litre diesel double-cab variants, all with driveaway pricing and – on XLS and XLT – free automatic transmission.

Last year, HiLux – long Australia’s top-selling light-commercial vehicle – became the overall sales champion for the first time with 42,104 sales.

The Ranger came fourth overall with 36,934 sales, accounting for almost half of Ford sales in 2017.

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