It’s easy to see why the Ranger was South Africa’s top selling vehicle, twice now. It is comfortable, and makes going off-road easy.
The features inside make you *want* to go off-roading and at the same time, *enjoy* doing so.
I say this from my personal experience. I’m not the target market for the Ranger, and anyone who knows me will know this to be true. However, the two occasions I got to drive the Ranger, first at the Ranger Odyssey in Namibia last year, and then for the 2015 launch last week in the Western Cape, I enjoyed every bit of it. Why? Mainly because every challenge I was put on in the Ranger came down to one thing – the Ranger could handle it, and made even an inexperienced off-roader feel confident.
I drove both auto and manual versions of the new Rangers, with my driving partner Jason. We covered over 400km together, going through scenic routes in the Western Cape, where we ended off in a cloud. (I prefer the auto to the manual).
I drove my first proper 4×4 trial, going uphill, and the instructor said I did good, so yay. I also took it downhill using ‘hill descent control’ where I just trusted the Ranger completely to do its thing, my feet where not even on the pedals.
Anyway, here are some things you should know about the new Rangers:
1. One Ranger is built every 2 minutes in Pretoria, which will be exported to 148 countries globally – how awesome. Also, there are 33 different models in the 2015 line-up, something for everyone (base to mid-series XL; heavy-duty XL-Plus; feature-rich XLS; high-end XLT and the luxurious Wildtrak).
2. It has loads of technology as expected from Ford – adaptive cruise control with forward alert, lane keeping alert, lane keeping aid, front and rear park assist, SYNC 2, tyre pressure monitor (I mean seriously!), ESP: roll stability control, traction control, hill launch assist, hill descent control, emergency brake assist. Some of these features are only on the top end Wildtrak, refer to the Ford website for more.
3. The ‘hill decent control’ is cool, and was a little scary (initially). I just let the Ranger do its thing, without my feet on the pedals, just steering. Almost felt like being in an autonomous vehicle, lol.
4. I think they made this feature for me after I went to the Ranger Odyssey in Namibia last year and asked if the vehicles were WiFi hotspots – the new Rangers are in fact WiFi hotspots! All you have to do is plug your dongle into the USB port in the dashboard and navigate to settings to activate it. (XLT and Wildtrak). These high-end models also have six speakers, SD card slot, aux input and 2x USB ports.
5. The Wildtrak model has a 12v plug point at the back by the passenger seats – yes really. You can charge any Macbook on it, and basically anything that doesn’t need a 3 pin plug. This is seriously full of win.
6. The 33 new Rangers will be available in November at Ford dealerships and pricing will only be revealed then.
Oh and btw, saw loads of animals on a game drive at Aquila Private Game Reserve:
Thank you for having me, Ford South Africa!
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org