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The New Ford Ranger

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Ford Ranger

The New Ford Ranger

Bobby Buys
March 1, 2014


Driving Skills for Life

In Australia, where it was designed, they call it a ute. Other parts of the world may call it a pick-up. But here in South Africa the new Ford Ranger is definitely a bakkie, and a pretty good one at that.

Can a vehicle designed in Australia by Aussies really be that good? Consider the fact that Aussies love their 4x4s and overland driving and that some of the conditions Down Under are so bad that NASA tests their Mars space suits there. If a bakkie can survive in Kalgoorlie, it can surely cope with Kaokoland.

So let's put those rugby and cricket prejudices aside and look more closely at the Ford Ranger.

Basically the Ranger comes in a wide range of alternatives, from the four-cylinder, 2.5-litre 2.5i Base LR 5MT single cab with a five-speed manual transmission, up to the five-cylinder, 3.2-litre 3.2 TDCi XLT 4x4 6AT double cab with a six-speed automatic gearbox.

The new Ford Ranger is big, make no mistake about it. All models are over 5 metres long, 5.274 metres to be exact, and 2.163 metres wide.

The base model comes with 16-inch steel wheels as standard, giving it a height of 1.7 metres, while the larger capacity models have either 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels, giving an overall height of 1.82 metres. So you'd better be tall to wash the roof.

The overall size of the Ranger enables it to have a spacious passenger compartment. It not only looks roomy, but feels enormous. There is ample room in the rear for three passengers; up front, the driver and front passenger can enjoy good head room, leg room and shoulder room. The interior is quite modern in appearance but gives a workmanlike impression. This is a vehicle designed to look tough and perform tough.

The exterior appearance carries on this style, curved and rather chunky, but definitely not soft. Three large slots in the grille give it a distinctive look that tells you it means business.

While the size of the Ford Ranger can make it a challenge to drive in traffic or the city, that's not what it was designed for, this is a bakkie for overland conditions and this is where it excels. It is not the ultimate off-roader, but for long overland trips with some rough conditions it's hard to beat. The 800 mm wading depth is the best in its class and the ground clearance is a massive 237 mm. Couple the huge interior with an overall carrying capacity of 1049 kg and the Ranger makes a long overland trip seem effortless.

The conclusion? The new Ford Ranger is a powerful, spacious bakkie that's hard to beat!


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