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The new king is here

Andrew Muzamhindo
KINGS come and go. Some make a good lasting impression but some will disappoint. Toyota has been the King of trucks in the last decade but not anymore. It made a good lasting impression but one cannot be at the top forever without reinventing themselves and their game otherwise events will swallow them. Enter the new King…the all new Ford Ranger.
Finally launched to the public last Friday, the long wait is over for those who were fervently waiting for the arrival of this beautiful monster. This is it. The real deal is here. Have you heard some people say in the event of Armageddon, the only thing to survive will be cockroaches? It’s puzzling but maybe we need a rocket scientist to explain why. Nonetheless, I bet my bottom dollar that there’s a good chance you’d see some old Ford Rangers cruising around, too. This compact pickup truck soldiered on with relatively few revisions for nearly three decades. Of course, there were styling and interior overhauls over the decades, but the platform and most mechanicals underneath it all were practically Jurassic. Even those styling and interior updates dated back to the 1990s.

 
Talk about “worth the wait”. Ford teased us for a while with snippets about the all-new Ranger ute, and now it’s here, the Australian-developed Ranger stakes a major claim to being the best in the business.

 
That’s a major credit considering Toyota recently launched a face lifted version of its top-selling Hi-Lux range. But the Ranger edges ahead in areas like its six-speed automatic transmission, interior space and on-road refinement.

 
This is why the all new Ford is the new king of trucks…
The Ford Ranger XLT employs the well-known 3,2-litre, five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine used by Ford, Land Rover and Peugeot. With 147kW at 3000rpm and peak torque of 470Nm from 1500-2750rpm, Ford’s five-cylinder turbo-diesel leaves most rivals languishing.

 
The XLT Double Cab is drove via a six-speed automatic transmission and Ford’s 4×4 system with new electronically-controlled transfer case and more compact front differential. Combined cycle fuel consumption for the Ford Ranger XLT Double Cab automatic as tested is rated at 9,2l/100kms. Fuel tank capacity is 80-litres.

 
The Ford Ranger XLT Double Cab delivers a knockout punch to segment rivals with its spacious interior. In fact Ford says six-foot people can be comfortably seated simultaneously front and rear – that’s great news especially for tradies. Interior style for the new Ford Ranger aligns with other contemporary Ford designs like the acclaimed Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo. That means a stylish centre stack console for the climate control and audio (six-speaker MP3/CD/Bluetooth system with voice control and 4,2-inch multi-function display screen), lots of storage bins and nice four-spoke steering wheel.

 
While steering wheel adjustment is rake only and I would have liked a bit more side support from the front seats, there’s no doubt the Ford Ranger XLT delivers a premium interior look, punctuated by high standard materials and a light, airy feel.

 
I reckon the Ranger is styling triumph which stamps this ute with a strong on-road presence. Those Ford truck looks smart at the front with the hallmark three-bar grille and modern headlights. And both side and rear designs are clever with curves and raked windscreen not just for looks but also for aerodynamics (improved fuel consumption and reduced wind noise) drag CD is .399. The ute box in the Ford Ranger Double Cab XLT measured 1,21 cubic metres.

 
The difference this time… Oh, about 450kgs of cement bags! Trust me I know about cement because I am building.

 
Ford has done a brilliant job with the Ranger’s double A-arm front suspension and leaf-spring rear to deliver a driving dynamic which challenges the Volkswagen Amarok for the title of best-in-class. It’s the precise steering response, refinement over bumps and high-quality chassis balance which sees the Ford Ranger edge ever so slightly ahead of the all-conquering Toyota Hilux at this point in time.

 
And a big part of Ford Ranger XLT’s performance is accredited to the 3,2-litre Duratorq turbo-diesel engine. With 147kW/470Nm on-tap, Ford’s five-cylinder remains one of my favourite power plants and in the ute application delivers handy response for both every-day driving, off-road use and trailer-pulling (Ford Ranger towing capacity up to 3350kgs).

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