The Ford Ranger hasn’t been in the New Zealand car market for too long, but it still has a big fanbase thanks to its enviable features. The vehicle came out in 1998, and since then, it has managed to compete with the likes of the mighty Toyota Hilux, the Holden Rodeo, and the Holden Colorado. But now the times have changed, and new trucks are entering the competition. The Isuzu D-Max and the Mazda BT-50 are posing a threat to the Ranger’s dominance. So, it’s high time that Ford responds, and they have appropriately by expanding their model range for 2021.
The company sells the vehicle in various trims, allowing them to target specific cohorts of the population. It all starts with the base version XL going up to the range-topping Ranger Raptor trim. In between, you have the XLT, FX4, FX4 MAX, Wildtrak, and Wildtrak X. Let’s find out what’s so special in the new variants.
When it comes to design, the Ford Ranger is one of the most beautiful trucks in the market. It looks pretty similar to the Toyota Hilux, but you can still find discerning characteristics to tell the two vehicles apart. There aren’t any sporty lines or aggressive design cues in the base models, but as you go up the ladder, the Ranger starts to look better. The performance-based variants look more aggressive with their bulky front-end, forged rims, and roof rails. The front grille changes with each successive variant upgrade, and it arguably gets better as you go higher up the trims.
Ford has also made sure to manufacture the Ranger as an off-road-ready vehicle straight from the factory. You don’t need to add any special packages to enjoy an off-road adventure, although they can give you a boost. The Ford Ranger sits pretty high above the ground, thanks to its massive tires and beefed-up suspension components. You would expect to get sidesteps to help mount the vehicle, but the base variant does not have that facility. Of course, when you spend money, the more practical features introduce themselves.
The Ford Ranger needs impressive performance to compete with its direct competition. The ute can’t be found lacking under the hood, which is why Ford has introduced three powertrains for the entire model range. The base XL version comes with either the economical 2.2L engine or the 3.2L performance motor. The 2.2L TDCI diesel-powered engine produces 118kW of power and 385 Nm of torque. While the more powerful 3.2 L inline-5 diesel engine ekes out 147 kW of power, with an impressive 470 Nm of low-end torque. There is no reason to doubt the Ranger’s towing capability and off-road performance with such a strong powertrain.
However, the crown jewel is the 2.0L Bi-Turbo diesel drivetrain that manages to produce 157 kW of power along with a whopping 500 Nm of torque. It does that while being mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
From the XLT trim and onwards, you only get the admirable 3.2L and 2.0L turbo engines. After all, they are unmatched in performance. You won’t ever feel wanting in the engine department, and that’s a big plus for any off-road vehicle.
The interior is a bit lacklustre, especially in the low-end trims. But you will see improvements as you move up the ladder. The Wildtrak version, for example, has 6-way power adjusted seats with lumbar support and leather accent seats as standard. Moreover, there is ambient lighting, auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, as well as rain-sensing wipers and keyless entry.
In terms of entertainment, Ford offers an 8-inch touch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The FordPass Connect also comes as standard in all the trims.
Nowadays, vehicle safety is the utmost priority of auto manufacturers. Ford knows the importance of safety and technology, which is why they have some of the best features in the market. The Ranger has 6 airbags, parking assist, pedestrian detection, driver impairment monitor, hill descent assist, hill climb assist, lane-keeping assist, rearview camera and more.
When you are out to buy a ute, you are looking for one that has immense towing potential. The Ford Ranger does well in this department. It can tow up to 7500 pounds of weight without breaking a sweat. This means you can attach all kinds of trailers at the back of the Ranger, and the engine will easily pull that weight. You might need to add the Towing package on purchase for extra protection against the tug and pull.
Furthermore, the Ranger is capable of carrying 1860 pounds of payload. So, anything from dirt bikes to small boats can be loaded onto the vehicle without a worry.
The 2021 Ford Ranger is a vehicle designed for versatile people. It is a truck that can perform out on mud and gravel; while still being able to operate on the tarmac. You won’t ever feel the need to jump to a different brand like Toyota to satisfy yourself. Plus, the Ranger is cheap; it has multiple driver support features and performance that will blow out of the park. You can bet your top dollar on this bad boy and never regret your decision.