New Ford Ranger goes higher-tech

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Ford South Africa has launched its new Ranger, featuring an extensive range of mechanical, technological, and comfort upgrades. The event took place at George in the Garden Route of the Western Cape, South Africa from April 7 to 9.
The Ranger is one of Africa’s best-selling vehicles with multiple single, super, and double cab derivatives in its line-up.
Both engines offer fuel efficiency and a significant improvement in overall refinement with lower noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels compared to the existing engine range, Ford said.
The high-tech 2.0 bi-turbo engine is available on the Wildtrak, and will also power the soon to be launched Ranger Raptor.
The two turbochargers work in series at lower engine speeds for enhanced torque and responsiveness. At higher engine speeds, the smaller turbo is bypassed and the larger turbo provides boost to deliver high power. Maximum outputs are rated at 157kW and 500Nm of torque from 1,750 to 2,000 r/min.
In the case of the 2.0 single turbo engine – which is offered on the Ranger Double Cab XLT 4×4 and 4×2 derivatives – the single turbocharger has been specifically designed to deliver more at lower engine speed compared with the current 2.2-litre TDCi engine. It produces 132kW and 420Nm between 1,750 and 2,500 r/min.
Customers will still have the option of a five-cylinder 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engine, available in Wildtrak and XLT specification on the double cab derivatives, as well XLT and XLS models in the Super Cab range, Ford said.
Other changes include a new 10-speed automatic transmission and Progressive Range Select (PRS) that has an SST (Select Shift Transmission) button.
This function is able to lock out selected gears from the automatic shifting range, which can be beneficial when towing, driving in slippery conditions or climbing a steep gradient, Ford said.
Improved ride
In addition to a redesigned grille, Ford said that it made a number of enhancements that result in significantly improved ride quality more akin to that of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) than a pick-up.
A key change has been the relocation of the front stabiliser, or anti-roll bar, from the tight confines in front of the fully independent suspension to a new position behind the axle, it said.
This new set-up optimises the design and performance of the stabiliser bar, resulting in improved roll control – which, in turn, enables a decrease in front spring rates, thereby giving the Ranger better ride performance and comfort.
“Compared to the outgoing Ranger line-up which used a single front damper setting across the range, four damper rates have been developed for the new Ranger,” Ford said.
“These settings have been tuned according to the front kerb weights of the individual models based on the body style, engine and drivetrain (manual vs automatic, 4×2 vs 4×4). At the same time, the standard tyre pressure has been reduced from 240 to 210 kPa.
“Combined, these refinements provide a plusher ride over rough surfaces by better isolating the occupants from the road inputs. They also improve vehicle handling over corrugated surfaces, give better steering precision and control, and benefit the vehicle posture and ride performance when laden.”
Impressive tech
Some of the most impressive tech in the new Ranger includes:
Semi-Automatic Parallel Park Assist (SAPPA) is now standard on the Ranger Wildtrak. The system uses ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers that search for and identify parking spaces that are big enough to parallel park the vehicle. A combination of the Ranger’s electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) and sensors are used to steer the vehicle safely into place, while the driver simply operates the gears, accelerator and brake;
Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Alert, Lane-Keeping Alert and Lane-Keeping Aid, and Auto High Beam Control;
Passive Entry and Passive Start (PEPS), fitted as standard on the XLT and Wildtrak. The keyless entry and passive start uses an intelligent access system that allows the driver to unlock the vehicle and start the engine without removing the key fob from a pocket or bag. When the key is in the vehicle, the driver simply presses the Start/Stop button while applying the brake pedal to start the car;
The new key fob design incorporates a mechanical key blade to unlock the doors manually if the unit’s battery is depleted, as well as a designated back-up pocket between the cupholders that enables the push-button start. Once in the vehicle, the passive Start/Stop button allows the driver to turn on the ignition, or to start the engine while pressing the brake pedal;
Sync entertainment system featuring embedded navigation, convenient multi-touch gestures (such as swipe, slide, scroll and pinch-to-zoom), plus voice recognition that uses simple, real-world voice commands.