PARK RANGER

THE 2019 RANGER MAY LOOK SIMILAR, BUT DELVE DEEPER AND THERE’S PLENTY TO KEEP IT AT THE POINTY END OF THE DUAL-CAB MARKET.

WORDS JUSTIN WALKER

THE MY19 Ranger has the same engine options as the MY19 Everest, with the workhorse now sharing the Raptor’s 157kW/500Nm 2.0L bi-turbo diesel (BTD) engine as a $1200 option on XLT and WildTrak. The 3.2TD/ six-speed auto/manual combo carries over across the range, as does the venerable 2.2TD (six-speed auto only in 4x4 spec) in the base-model XL.

option, the Ranger has copped some suspension tweaks and a raft of new safety features including Inter-Urban Autonomous Emergency Braking (IUAEB) with Pedestrian Detection (at up to 60km/h) and Vehicle Detection (standard on WildTrak, optional on XLT), and Semi Auto Active Park Assist – which is a first for a dual-cab ute. Improved NVH levels, a nifty lift-assist tailgate, and smart-key entry (XLT and WildTrak) are other notable features.

Dual-cab 4x4 Ranger pricing starts at $47,890 for the XL dual-cab 3.2TD with six-speed manual, and tops out at $63,990 for the 2.0BTD WildTrak. All come with a standard five-year unlimited kilometre warranty.

GOING TO MARKET

THE Ranger’s bluff styling, excellent on- and off-road performance, large dealer network and robust drivetrain have all contributed to its success. With more buyers looking at the Ranger as the family wagon solution, its all-rounder capabilities are the big selling point – Ford’s latest enhancements to Ranger aimed squarely at keeping it front and centre for new vehicle buyers.

The new 2.0BTD offers more power and torque, along with a smoother, more linear delivery of both through the 10-speed auto.

Ford expects the two ‘main’ diesel powerplants to share equal take-up from buyers at this stage, so, by keeping the 3.2TD, those who are averse to a ‘smaller’ engine still have the option of a larger capacity powerplant, and one that’s well proven. The fourtier range – XL, XLS, XLT and WildTrak – all offer it as the standard powerplant.

The other driving-oriented change is the across-therange revision of the suspension; Ford engineers changed the position of the anti-roll bar, while upping its stiffness. This effectively reduces body roll and allows fitment of re-rated, thinner springs for a ‘softer’ ride, moving the Ranger further away from any preconceptions of a hardriding load-lugger toward a definite wagon alternative.

STYLED UP

RUN your eyes over the exterior of this mid-life update and there aren’t many differences. Each model gets a slightly revised front end, with the WildTrak’s the most obvious, courtesy of its exclusively styled front bumper. The XLT and WildTrak both get HID headlights and LED Daylight Running Lights, with the WildTrak also running LED fog lights as standard. The base spec XL’s 16-inch steelies aside, the remaining models all run alloy wheels: the XLS on 16-inch hoops, the XLT 17s (with 18s a cost option) and the WildTrak on 18s. An all-black 18-inch alloy is an option on XLT and WildTrak models.

The Ranger interior has always been a decent place to spend time, with subtle restyling comprising roof lining and stitching colour changes. The cabin is also now quieter, with acoustic glass used for the side windows and windscreen.

TASK AHEAD

THE 2.0BTD powerplant option with that sweet 10-speed auto and reduced fuel consumption – at a relatively small price premium – is the ‘little’ engine that might end up being the one that could.