A new Ford bakkie is here!

With V6 diesel power, a wider load bay, improved off-road capability and better ride quality, the first new Ranger in a decade has a lot to get a farmer excited. Here is what we know.

With V6 diesel power, a wider load bay, improved off-road capability and better ride quality, the first new Ranger in a decade has a lot to get a farmer excited. Here is what we know.

Rejoice, Ford Ranger fan. No longer will you have to feel inadequate about the V6 badge on the VW Amarok. The three-litre V6 turbodiesel in the new high-level Ranger will be a Ford engine. Even though the new Amarok and Ranger are both built by Ford, the Blue Oval says the engine is its own and not VW’s. Ford hasn’t revealed anything, but it will likely be the engine from the Ford F-150 and Land Rover Discovery.

This unit develops at least 186kW and 600Nm, comparing favourably to the Amarok’s 190kW and 580Nm. It also betters the most powerful engine in the existing Ranger, the 157kW and 500Nm twin-turbo two-litre diesel. Ford will keep this engine, as well as the single-turbo two-litre.

The Ford Mustang’s four-cylinder 2.3-litre turbo petrol (230kW; 475Nm) will also find its way into some Rangers, but the Raptor will use a turbocharged petrol V6. Ford is keeping the existing ten- and six-speed automatic gearboxes, but the former gets a new torque converter. A six-speed manual gearbox will still be available in some Rangers.

The new Ranger is wider, which means the load box can fit a pallet. The cabin is larger and redesigned for more comfort, better technology and storage space. There are new customisable digital instruments and a 10” or 12” screen (depending on the grade) in the centre of the front panel.

It responds to adjustments to the six driving modes, a feature previously exclusive to the Raptor. The screen also displays off-road info and navigation. It’s linked to a 360-degree camera to make parking easy and to assist when negotiating off-road obstacles.

Owners can control the new exterior-zone lighting system via the touchscreen or the Ford app. Moreover, the engine compartment has room for a second battery.

Top-spec Rangers also get smart ‘matrix’ LED headlights that can deactivate sections of the beams, enabling the driver to see clearly on either side of a vehicle in front of him, without blinding the other driver. Thanks to an embedded modem, the software can be updated over the internet, making a trip to the workshop unnecessary.

The Ranger’s wheelbase has increased by 50mm, allowing it to scale bigger obstacles. The dampers have been moved outside of the chassis for better wheel articulation and a comfier ride. Two kinds of four-wheel drive systems will be on offer. One will be similar to VW’s 4Motion or Mitsubishi’s Super Select II.

This means a centre diff allows four-wheel drive on tar roads – other 4×4 Rangers will only allow four-wheel drive on loose surfaces. Much about the new Ranger is still unknown, but for Ford fans, the double-cab’s exterior design and the V6 engines are just about all that matter. Hopefully the upgraded transmissions can handle all that extra torque.

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