Although the current generation of the Ford Ranger was launched in Malaysia some 7 years ago, it has not remained the same throughout those 7 years. In fact, 3 years ago, Ford made a significant update and added technological upgrades which gave the model leadership in its class. This would not have been necessary in earlier years but competition has become more intense in recent times and with a typical product cycle of 10 years for such vehicles, the product must be kept ‘fresh’ for as long as possible.

Now Ford has done it again and while the tough platform is still the same, the latest Ranger update not refreshes the looks that has always been a strong selling point but there’s also more class-leading technology, safety and convenience features.

Launched today by Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC), Ford’s local distribution partner, the line-up of new Rangers has no less than 9 variants to suit different budgets as well as usage requirements. There’s a workhorse Ranger for those who want to use it for demanding transport duties in difficult terrain and at the other end of the spectrum, there’s the new XLT+ Wildtrak which is lifestyle-oriented – but no less tough and capable.

And then there’s the Ranger Raptor which has been the talk of the pick-up community. A raptor is a bird of prey, like an eagle or hawk, which hunts for its food and attacks aggressively. Those who have followed the ‘Jurassic Park’ movies will probably also know about raptors that lived over 70 million years ago. They were the nasty little dinosaurs that swarmed over the humans and ate them up.

So it can be established that the raptor is an aggressive sort of creature and Ford’s Ranger Raptor presents the same kind of image. It can be recognized as a member of the Ranger family but with the bolder and definitely more rugged image plus the size, it has intimidating looks.

For now, the Ranger Raptor is only being previewed and will be launched officially at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show 2018 (KLIMS’18) towards the end of November. More details will be available then.

Returning to the rest of the line-up, there is a choice of up to 7 colours, three of which are new and one (saber) is only available with the Wildtrak. Pricing with SST is as follows:

 Wildtrak – two variants, from RM134,888 |  XLT+ – one variant, from RM124,888
XLT – two variants, from RM109,888 | XL – three variants, from RM90,888

There are three diesel powertrains and the XL and XLT variants have the proven 2.2-litre Duratorq turbodiesel unit (160ps/385 Nm) with a 6-speed automatic or manual transmission. Next is the 2.0-litre Single-Turbo engine (180 ps/420 Nm), available on the Wildtrak 4×2 and new Ranger XLT+ variants. This is mated to Ford’s advanced 10-speed automatic transmission.

The third powertrain option is available exclusively on the Wildtrak 4×4. This is the new-generation 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo diesel engine (pictured above), also coupled with an advanced 10-speed automatic transmission. The pair of turbochargers operate sequentially, one for the lower end and the other for the upper end to provide seamless power and torque delivery without lag. A variable geometry turbocharger is employed to deliver greater throttle response and eliminate lag by spooling up quickly at low speeds. The second unit is a fixed geometry turbocharger with a high flow capacity to deliver maximum power and performance. With 500 Nm from a low 1750 rpm, the 213 ps Bi-Turbo engine delivers a greater torque spread, which the 10-speeder’s close ratios can exploit with smoother shifting.

The suspension had been upgraded for improved control roll, to enhance the driving experience when fully-laden and when towing. The new packaging also enables geometry changes for an improved ride, a reduction in body roll as well as improved steering precision. The suspension changes do not impact on Ranger’s equal class-leading towing and payload capabilities. Ford says that the Ranger is now better to drive when it’s working at its hardest, and the driver will also experience less fatigue on long trips.

When this generation was launched, only the Wildtrak had the best safety systems but over time, as the costs of those advanced systems have come down, they can be included in the lower-priced variants which is what we see now. For example, the light and nimble Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) is now used with even the entry-level XL variant.

The Ranger has always been a leader in its class where safety is concerned, offering airbags for extra protection in the 1990s when other manufacturers thought that it was unnecessary to spend extra money for the added protection. In 2018, Ford can still claim that leadership position as it brings advanced systems that are found in passenger cars to the pick-up segment.

The Ranger has Ford’s Pre-Collision Assist feature using Inter-Urban Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) which can recognise pedestrians ahead and brake the truck if the driver does not act.

For example, Ford’s Pre-Collision Assist feature using Inter-Urban Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection is available on the new Ranger. The system is designed to detect pedestrians as well as vehicles to bring the Ranger to a complete stop to help mitigate potential rear-end collisions and road-traffic collisions with pedestrians. The system functions at speeds above 3.6 km/h.

The First and only in-class Lane Departure Warning & Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Collision Warning continues to be available. Then there’s a segment-first which is Semi-Automatic Parallel Parking (SAPP) which is available on the Wildtrak 4×4. This was available in the Focus many years back and now a Ranger owner can also enjoy the convenience of the truck parking itself. All the driver needs to do is make the necessary gear changes and apply the brakes when necessary.

Certain variants have an Easy-Lift Tailgate which has a mechanism (indicated by the arrow) to help reduce the effort to lift the tailgate up.

The fold-down back panels of trucks tend to be rather heavy. That’s not an issue when you open them (though they can drop down to the horizontal position with quite a bang) but can be tough for some when raising it back upright. With the Wildtrak and XLT+ variants, that’s no longer going to be the case as it has an Easy-Lift Tailgate. A new internal mechanism makes the Ranger’s tailgate lighter to lift, with a 70% reduction in initial force required to raise it for closing.

Besides a facelift, the new Ranger Wildtrak and XLT+ also get LED daytime running lights, with the two Wildtrak variants also fitted with LED front foglamps. There is also clearer differentiation between variants visually, with bumper treatments and colours reflecting the character of each one.

The Ranger is now equipped with keyless entry and pushstart button on the XLT+ and Wildtrak. This is the sort of feature owners of such vehicles will appreciate as they won’t need to dig into their pockets for a key to unlock the doors or start the vehicle. The cabin has durable, tactile surface finishes with a long lifespan and there’s now a black-themed interior. Contrasting detail elements including shadow chrome and silver accent stitching help give the interior a premium feel.

SYNC3 is available on the Ranger XLT+ and Wildtrak and apart from its voice command capabilities, it is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This means that most smartphones can be connected to the infotainment system and the apps on the phones can be mirrored (and used) on the 8-inch full colour touchscreen. The Wildtrak is also equipped with an in-built satellite navigation system for those times when the vehicle is beyond areas where there is mobilephone coverage.

“We know that Malaysian customers want their pick-ups to have the toughness of a truck as well as the comfort and advanced features of a passenger vehicle. We are confident that the new Ranger line-up will offer customers unmatched versatility, helping them achieve more, whether at work or with their family,” said Syed Ahmad Muzri Bin Syed Faiz, MD of Sime Darby Auto Connexion.

For ‘early bird’ customers, SDAC is offering the first 888 customers who register their new Ford Ranger an electrical goods voucher worth RM1,000. This ends either when the 888th registration is reached or December 31, 2018 at the latest. On top of that, those who register their new Ranger before January 31, 2019 won’t have to pay for scheduled maintenance during the first 2 years (or maximum of 40,000 kms, whichever occurs first) of ownership.

Click here for other news and articles about the Ranger.

Visit to locate a showroom to view and test-drive the new Rangers.

[Chips Yap]

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