One of the first locally built Ranger Raptors to leave the Silverton line goes through suspension testing. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
One of the first locally built Ranger Raptors to leave the Silverton line goes through suspension testing. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

Ford’s Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria has officially started production of the updated Ford Ranger one-tonner, bringing a raft of product upgrades to one of SA’s top-selling vehicles and export models.

“Following the investment of more than R3bn in our local operations and extensive upgrades to our plants over the past 18 months, we are delighted to see the first of the new Ford Ranger models coming off our production line,” says Neale Hill, MD of Ford’s sub-Saharan Africa region.

“This is an extremely important and exciting year for the Ford Ranger, which will also see the launch of the first-ever Ranger Raptor that is undoubtedly one of this year's most highly anticipated new models,”Hill adds.

“The 2019 Ford Ranger will deliver more power, greater fuel efficiency, enhanced refinement and even more advanced technologies when it goes on sale in the coming months, and we are confident it will once again set the benchmark in the extremely competitive pickup segment.”

Selected range-topping models, including the Ranger Raptor, will be powered by the all-new 2.0 Bi-Turbo diesel engine assembled at Ford’s Struandale engine plant in Port Elizabeth. This unit produces 157kW and 500Nm of torque — up by 10kW and 30Nm compared with the current 3.2 TDCi — and delivers up to 9% improvement in fuel efficiency when combined with the advanced new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Certain derivatives will feature a 2.0l single turbo version of this engine, producing 132kW and 420Nm of torque, mated to the same 10-speed transmission. Various other models in the line-up will retain the existing 2.2l and 3.2l Duratorq TDCi engines and existing gearbox options. As usual, the line-up includes Single Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab body styles.

Along with freshened design cues, range-topping Ranger models have safety features on the Wildtrak such as Pre-Collision Assist and Active Park Assist. SYNC 3 with Navigation remains one of the Ranger’s technology highlights as well an infotainment system with voice control.

Following the launch of the “standard” new Ranger models, the attention will be shifted to the locally assembled Raptor, a high-performance bakkie which goes on sale in the second quarter of the year.

Some of the defining features of the Ranger Raptor include Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) shock absorbers exclusively manufactured by FOX, and an advanced Terrain Management System (TMS) that includes an exciting Baja mode for fast off-road driving. It also boasts a toughened reinforced chassis, powerful all-disc braking system and specially developed BF Goodrich tyres.

More details, including specifications, model range and pricing will be released at launch.