South Africa

Ten out of ten for new Ford Ranger

When you have too many choices, there is always an anxiety that perhaps, you have made the wrong one. This is exactly the issue with Ford’s new Ranger.

The latest iteration of Ford’s immensely successful T6 platform, new Ranger is not simply a facelifted bakkie with a redesigned grille, and some reposition LEDs (which, incidentally, it is – sort of). Hiding behind that new twin-bar grille and reshaped LED headlights, are deeply impressive new engine options.

In a bid to outpower Toyota’s Hilux, Ford has done the unusual by adding smaller engines to the Ranger model portfolio. The new engines are 2-litre turbodiesels and available in two output grades. A bi-turbo version is the most powerful of these and at 157kW and 500Nm, it ranks as notably more potent than the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel, which remains available.

Making these new 2-litre engines even more effective are ten-speed automatic gearboxes, gifting them unrivalled in-gear flexibility. People who live and breathe bakkie news will be aware that this 2-litre bi-turbo engine and ten-speed gearbox combination also powers Ranger Raptor, Ford’s ridiculous Kalahari Ferrari. Therefore you know it possesses the right stuff.

The bi-turbo 2-litre is phenomenal. Not only is the 2-litre more powerful and efficient than the 3.2-litre five-cylinder, it is also 30kg lighter. That weight saving helps the Ranger handle more like the agile Ford Kuga.

We love the spring-assisted tailgate mechanism, which requires 60% less effort to close – a tremendously useful feature to those who are continuously loading and unloading mountain bikes, firewood or pets over a weekend.

Where both the single- and bi-turbo 2-litre Rangers really come into their own, is off-road. Those ten-speed automatic gearboxes also feature low-range reduction gearing, effectively giving you an amazing 20 forward gears to conquer just about anything, no matter how new you are to the terrain. We tested out its mettle in the mountains surrounding George and never got stuck once.

The difficult choice is between the Wildtrak with additional features such as noise cancelling cabin acoustics and superior open-road cruising and overtaking ability, or the XLT model which does without the more comprehensive comfort and convenience features.

The defining feature of Ford’s updated Ranger is without doubt the ten-speed gearbox and if you can have that at a R100k discount in an XLT, by sacrificing 25% engine power, it seems like a great deal.

It appears that back in 2010, VW knew an evidential truth about where bakkies were going to trend, with downsized, efficient 2-litre engines. Ford has now proven that intuition.


  • Ford Ranger Bi-Turbo Wildtrak double-cab 4×4
  • R678 200
  • 1996cc, 4cyl turbodiesel, AWD, 157kW, 500Nm, 10A,
  • 6.7l/100km, 177g/km CO2,
  • 2246kg