Ranger changes more than just skin deep
Ford has released more information on the 2019 Ranger
Can Ford just release the new Ranger already? Considering it looks as though most of the changes to the new model are cosmetic, it is taking a long time to get this thing to market. But Ford does like to create a lot of hype around its bakkie. It did the same for the current model, describing it as the new Ranger, only for everyone to discover it was just a facelift.
However, there will be more under-the-skin changes when the new Ranger arrives in 2019. There will also be a Raptor version, which will not be about performance in terms of power or speed on-road but performance off-road.
Following the investment of R3bn at the Ford Southern Africa operations, the updated Ranger will continue to be assembled at its Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria, with engines produced by the Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth.
"Ford’s recent investment has been geared towards expanding our local production capacity and preparing for the updated Ranger, including the first-yet Ford Ranger Raptor," says Ockert Berry, vice-president operations, Ford Middle East and Africa.
"Once again, this reaffirms Ford’s long-term commitment to the region, as well as to our employees, suppliers and partners. It also acknowledges the confidence Ford has in our local operations to produce truly world-class products for domestic sales and an extensive list of export markets," he adds.
"The current generation Ford Ranger has been a phenomenal success, both in SA and internationally, and the updated models that will be released next year  will raise the bar further in the highly competitive light commercial vehicle sector."
The refreshed Ranger line-up will continue to be exported from SA to more than 148 markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
For 2019, Ford says the Ranger will offer a greater choice of powertrains, including a new biturbo diesel engine that will make its debut in the Raptor. The engine will be produced on a new assembly line installed at the Struandale plant.
The engine will be coupled to a 10-speed torque-convertor automatic gearbox, which will channel the 500Nm torque to all four wheels.
Styling changes on all models include a cleaner new grille and a more chiselled lower bumper with a broader intake to give it a more dynamic look.
There will be a clearer visual distinction between models, with bumper treatments and colours reflecting the unique character of each model.
As we reported recently, there will also be significant changes for the new Wildtrack, including the inclusion of a roller cover on the cargo bay and other styling enhancements.
Ford says the new Ranger will feature enhanced safety, including precollision assist using interurban autonomous emergency braking with vehicle and pedestrian detection.
Convenience features will include passive entry, passive start keyless entry and push-button start as well as active park assist on the range-topping derivatives. Ford says loading will be made easier with the introduction of an easy-lift tailgate. With a new internal mechanism, the tailgate is lighter to lift, with claims of a 70% reduction in initial force required to raise it for closing.
There will also be upgrades to suspension across the range to reduce body roll, with an emphasis on improving the driving experience when fully laden and towing.