Ranger more than a rumour


For those who missed this year’s Fieldays you would have missed Ford’s show stealers — the revamped Ford Escape, the upgraded Territory with a turbo charger and the only vehicle of its kind in the country, which was affectionately referred to as “the lone Ranger”. 

To be officially launched later this year, it was New Zealand’s first look at the replacement for the enduring Courier. However, what’s here and now is a good taste of what’s to come. There is plenty of room on the inside of the Ranger — and we only saw the double cab version — but there’s plenty of room in the rear cabin as well as the front. 

But the Ranger offers much more than room. When it arrives, it will offer outstanding safety features, incorporating dual side air bags in addition to the dual front airbags for driver and passenger. Ford has also seen fit to offer upgraded brake and stopping systems, including reduced braking effort for the four-wheel, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution. 

Ranger also has a more durable suspension than the Courier had — and that unit was pretty damn durable — and has improved aerodynamics and more responsive steering. Yet despite these refinements, this is not a Courier in ballet shoes. 

There is something decidedly macho about the Ranger — it’s a working ute that just happens to look great from pretty much every angle. It even impresses the ladies. Part of the muscular charm is the bulging power dome bonnet which leads to the obvious question — what’s under it? And here is the heart of the Ranger’s muscle. 

We’ll have a choice of engines — a 2.5 litre turbo charged common rail diesel or a gruntier 3-litre also with a turbo. Not just any turbo charger, mind. This is one of the very latest variable vane geometry jobs. 

This technology allows a change in the orientation of the vanes of the turbine, thus changing the surface presented to the exhaust gases. It becomes possible to present a greater turbine surface at low engine rotations (therefore minimising turbo lag) and a smaller one, nearly zero, at high engine rotation. 

And that’s not to say the diesel power plants are slouchy either. The Duratorq TDCi engine uses common rail technology from Bosch with 16-valves and double overhead Foxtails — um, I mean camshafts, for increased efficiency. In the meantime, we mentioned a turbo Territory.

Ford has two variants — the XR which is the sportier one — and the Ghia, the luxury sporty one. Take if you will, the Barra 245T engine that you’ll fi nd in an XR6T ute. Now drop that into a Territory engine bay, add a big bonnet scoop, an “I mean business” diamond mesh grille, dual exhaust outlets and an original 18-inch, five-spoke alloy wheel design and you have the basis for the turbo Territory. 

You can add the third row of seats if carting kids is on the cards and you have constant all wheel drive and that oh so sexy six-speed sequential sports shift from ZF. To make it easy to determine an XR from a Ghia, the XR has a rear boot spoiler for long distance identification. 

The Ghia gets silver front and rear skidplates to make it look that tad classier. And Ford has tweaked the Dynamic Stability Control to keep up with the more spirited performance of the turbo Territory. More power? Yup. The turbo Territory has 245kW and 480Nm of torque — about 29% more power and 25% more torque than the SY model range. 

Pricing for the turbo Territory starts at $63,490 on the XR and $72,490 for the Ghia.