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New Ford Ranger the world’s safest ute

Safe as houses: Melbourne-designed Ranger has achieved one of the best crash scores ever awarded by Euro NCAP.

Highest safety rating for Oz-designed Ranger as Yaris, Veloster also get five stars

27 Oct 2011

IT’S OFFICIAL. Ford’s new Australian-engineered Ranger is the world’s first full-size ute to achieve a maximum five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP.

The Melbourne-designed Ranger, which went on sale in Australia this month and will be built in Thailand, South Africa and Brazil for 180 countries globally, scored 89 per cent for overall safety – the best score ever earned by a pick-up and one of the highest scores recorded by Euro NCAP for any type of vehicle.

The Ranger's top safety rating has also been adopted by the European New Car Assessment Program's Australian affilliate, ANCAP, and applies to all Rangers sold in Australia and New Zealand.

"This is a very important announcement for our customers," president and CEO of Ford Australia Bob Graziano.

"When we developed the all-new Ranger we set out to establish many new benchmarks and we are hugely proud of the results we have achieved. Today's announcement is further proof we have developed a vehicle that delivers the levels of safety customers expect in this all-important vehicle segment."The outstanding result confirms expectations privately held by Ford executives, who told GoAuto at the local launch in late September that internal modelling had validated Ford’s goal of designing the Ranger as a five-star safety performer.

Amazingly, the Ranger achieved the highest rating of any vehicle ever tested by Euro NCAP for pedestrian protection (81 per cent) – another result that should also apply to Mazda’s mechanically identical new BT-50 ute, which was developed alongside the Ranger in Australia and went on sale in October.

The Ranger scored the same impressive 96 per cent score for adult occupant protection as just two of the 12 vehicles Euro NCAP tested most recently – the Hyundai Veloster coupe and Mercedes-Benz M-class luxury SUV, both of which will go on sale in Australia by early next year.

All 12 vehicles in the latest round of ENCAP testing scored a maximum five-star safety rating, including the Veloster and M-class, as well as the new Toyota Yaris launched here this week, BMW’s new 1 Series hatch and Holden’s Captiva SUV.

The Captiva tested in Europe was equivalent to Holden's Series II Captiva 7 SX 2.2-litre turbo-diesel.

The 1 Series, M-class and Yaris all scored more than 60 per cent for pedestrian protection – the lower limit that Euro NCAP will set for a five-star rating from 2012 onwards.

Other newly announced five-star safety performers are Audi’s upcoming Q3 mini-SUV, Opel’s sleek new Astra GTC coupe and Zafira people-mover, which are more than a year from Australian showrooms, the Dodge Journey-based Fiat Freemont and Lancia’s Voyager and Thema.

However, none of these models matched the 96 per cent overall adult protection or 81 per cent pedestrian protection score of the Ranger, which also beat all but the Veloster of the 12 most recently tested vehicles in terms of child safety, with a score of 86 per cent.

Crucially, the Ranger outperforms all of its direct rivals in all areas of safety. While Ford and Holden’s Falcon and Commodore passenger car-based utes have achieved five-star (Australasian) NCAP ratings in recent years, the Ranger is the world’s first full-chassis pick-up to do so.

Although Volkswagen’s new Amarok dual-cab is rated as a five-star model in Australia, where all examples are fitted with side/head airbags, it achieves a four-star rating globally because in some countries base models are fitted only with twin front airbags.

Mitsubishi’s Triton is a global four-star performer, while Toyota’s top-selling HiLux also scores four stars.

All Ranger, BT-50 and Amarok models also come standard with electronic stability control – a prerequisite for a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating – but the potentially life-saving safety feature became standard only on selected HiLux models with this year’s midlife facelift.

The major HiLux upgrade also now sees curtain airbags fitted to 16 model variants.

Like Ford’s Falcon sedan, the Ranger comes standard with twin front and seat-mounted front-side/thorax airbags – plus a driver’s knee airbag – but not full-length side curtain airbags for rear passengers in dual-cab models.

Nissan’s D40 Navara was among the first pick-ups to come with ESC but only scores three stars, while all other utes achieve a three-star result or less. These include Holden’s Colorado, Isuzu’s D-Max, Toyota’s 70 Series LandCruiser and Nissan’s Patrol, all of which offer only twin front airbags.

Two-star utes include Mahindra’s Pik-Up, SsangYong’s Actyon Sports Ute and Great Wall V240, while Proton’s car-based Jumbuck was roundly criticised for scoring just one star.

The Colorado, D-Max and SsangYong will be replaced by all-new models next year, when a host of new utes from China – including from Foton and ZX Auto – are also expected to go on sale here. A heavily upgraded SsangYong ute is also due in the second quarter.

The third-generation PX Ranger – the first to be developed in Australia – marks a significant improvement over the model it replaces, which achieved a two-star adult occupant protection rating in 2008.

On sale initially only in dual-cab 4x4 form with a 147kW 3.2-litre Duratorq five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine but soon to become available in super-cab and single-cab guises with petrol and diesel engines, the new Ranger was initially forecast to find some 400,000 homes around the world annually, giving it the broadest reach of any Ford model.

The Ranger comes standard with ESP electronic stability control, Trailer Away Control, Adaptive Load Control, Hill Descent Control, Hill Launch Assist and ABS brakes.

“With such pedestrian protection the Ford Ranger is undoubtedly raising the bar of safety in the category of pick-up trucks, which had until now not proven to be the safest,” said Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen.

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