A new generation of the Ford Ranger double cab and its SUV version, the Ford Everest, have hit showroom floors … and they are very hard to ignore.
By: Steve Smith
One of SA’s most beloved car brands may not offer many passenger models these days, but the Mustang, Ecosport, Ranger and Everest are all significant players in their segments. New generations of the last two are the biggest and are currently making particularly large tyre tracks on SA automotive’s landscape.
Designed by Ford’s Product Development Centre in Australia and built at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, the Ranger debuts a bold new look, an upgraded chassis, some new engines, and a 24-model range.
With styling cues from Ford’s legendary F150 (the USA’s best-selling truck for 46 consecutive years), the Ranger has a rugged, muscular exterior that features a new grille with a C-clamp headlight treatment that’s echoed in the taillights. That, along with brawny wheel arches wheel-arches, give Ranger a sure-footed stance and plenty of presence on the road.
Inside, there’s an equally big change with an interior that is a noticeable step up on the outgoing model – and that interior was already one of the best in the market. Along with premium soft-touch materials, the focus of the interior is the big portrait-style centre touchscreen. It complements the fully digital instrument panel that works off Ford’s latest SYNC 4A connectivity and entertainment system.
Under that sculpted bonnet is a choice of three turbodiesel engines: the proven 125kW/405Nm 2.0-litre single turbo, 154kW/500Nm 2.0-litre bi-turbo, and two new V6s to the range, each paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
One is a184kW/600Nm 3.0-litreV6 turbodiesel in the Wildtrak, and the other in the range-topping Raptor – a 3.0-litre twin turbo petrol that delivers a whopping 292kW and 583Nm.
On the road, the Ranger handles with an ability the belies its bulk. Thanks to a light steering and a suspension that’s been fettled to impressively manage the jiggles that a firmly suspended bakkie usually delivers, the Ranger feels both manoeuvrable in tight spaces and sure footed on the open road.
While the 2.0-litre bi-turbo is more than responsive enough, the 3.0-litre turbodiesel will knock your socks off with the smooth delivery of huge dollops of torque through its 10-speed auto (we’ve yet to sample to range-topping Raptor).
Priced from R486 000 to R1 094 900
The new Ford Everest shares both its sibling’s ladder frame chassis and its brawny looks – in fact they are a lot closer in appearance than the previous generation siblings. Front-on, you’d battle to tell them apart. And like its sibling, the new-gen Everest is bigger in every dimension – from length to width and height.
Ford has launched the new Everest with two models – the flagship Everest Platinum with its 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel and a permanent all-wheel drive system, and the Everest Sport that uses 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo diesel and has an electronic shift-on-the-fly part-time four-wheel drive system. Both are models are equipped with the 10-speed auto.
Like it’s sibling, the Everests’ interior is also raising the bar with premium finishes and impressive build quality. And again, it’s digital screens that dominate – the Sport comes with an 8-inch digital instrument cluster, with a bigger12.4-inch version on the Platinum. Both models boast a portrait 12-inch touchscreen that employs the latest Ford SYNC4 user interface.
Like its predecessor, this is a 7-seater with access to the third-row seats made easier thanks to second-row seats that slide further forward than before. Significantly, both the second- and third-row seats fold flat for extra load capacity.
Behind the wheel, the first thing you will notice is how little outside noise intrudes into the cabin, and secondly that the ride and handling are another improvement on the out-ging generation. Ford has implemented some improvements to the suspension’s dampers and a 50mm increase in track helps deliver a more controlled ride on-road.
One aspect that will like raises your eyebrows is the pricing. It’s quite a hike from the previous Everest and takes it beyond its traditional rival – the Toyota Fortuner – to its bigger brother, the Toyota Prado.
Priced at: Everest Sport 2.0 R965 400, Everest Platinum 3.0L R1 113 100