2019 FORD RANGER

RAPTOR POWERPLANT FOR NEXT-GEN RANGER.

WORDS JUSTIN WALKER

FORD has plenty of confidence in the upcoming Ranger Raptor’s 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine (2.0BT), with this powerplant and its accompanying 10-speed auto gearbox to be offered as an option in the 2019 Ranger WildTrak, Ranger XLT, and as standard in the Everest Titanium.

The bi-turbo equipped Ranger XLT will start at $57,390, with the Wildtrak 2.0BT topping out at $63,990. The current 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five-cylinder diesel engine (with six-speed auto), along with the existing 2.2TD, carry over as engine options for the rest of the Ranger line-up. Impressively, 2019 Ranger models will include a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, on top of increased equipment levels. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel produces 157kW at 3750rpm and 500Nm at 1750rpm.

For Everest, buyers keen on this mill will have to stump up for the Titanium model, but can expect their investment to be money well spent in terms of performance and fuel economy. The 2.0-litre bi-turbo, as fitted to the Ranger WildTrak, will boast a claimed 6.7L/100km fuel consumption figure, a big improvement on the current 3.2TD-equipped Ranger’s 8.2L/100km.

FORD HAS ENSURED THE RANGER WILL REMAIN AT THE TOP END OF VEHICLE SALES

Models with this new powertrain will gain the Raptor’s Terrain Management System (TMS) however, for those looking to unleash their inner desert racer, the ‘Baja’ mode found in Raptor will remain exclusive to that model. Interestingly, the 2.0BT-equipped Rangers will boast the same 3500kg towing capacity as the 3.2TD variants, as well as longer service intervals, while the Raptor has a limited 2500kg towing capacity due to its bespoke suspension design using Fox coilovers.

Ford is also claiming that the Ranger’s ride and handling has been improved for 2019, by repositioning the front stabiliser bar and adding a new front damping tune (plus altering recommended tyre pressures). Ford says the resultant geometry changes will offer drivers a lift in ride and better handling, along with improved NVH levels. Wheel sizes remain the same, with the mid-spec XLT still rolling on 17-inch alloys and the top-end (bar Raptor) WildTrak sitting on 18s.

Other updates for 2019 include the addition of standard Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection and Vehicle Detection on the upper-tier models (Ranger WildTrak plus Everest Titanium, and available as part of a tech pack for XLT). This system works by using radar and camera tech to stop the Ranger if a vehicle or pedestrian is detected, and it functions at speeds above 3.6km/h. To ensure this system doesn’t intrude during off-road driving, it can be switched off. Another new safety feature for WildTrak is Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid. As their respective names suggest, they firstly alert the driver of “unintentional lane departure” and then re-direct the vehicle if the driver doesn’t take action. These safety systems do not come into effect until 65km/h speeds are reached, ensuring urban driving is unaffected. The final part of the new safety tech package is Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Alert and Active Park Assist (WildTrak).

Keyless entry is now standard, and PEPS (Passive Entry Passive Start)tech allows you to open any door on the vehicle, not just the driver’s door. WildTrak also cops another handy feature: an “easy lift” tailgate that incorporates a new torsion rod to give it some assistance when lifting. It also means it won’t drop suddenly when opening, rather, it will drop slowly under its own weight. Further driveraid tech (for Wildtrak) includes Active Park Assist for semi-auto parallel parking and, yep, you’d better believe it, Traffic Sign Recognition.

The Raptor influence is evident in both the interior and exterior styling of the new Ranger line-up, with plenty of dark trim colours (read: black and grey) inside, plus a redesigned gear shift (Everest scores this, too).

SYNC 3 stays standard on all dual-cab Rangers and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, an eight-inch colour touchscreen, and a reversing camera. For 2019 Rangers, owners will get SYNC 3 map updates for up to seven years, provided the vehicle is serviced by Ford dealers.

Proving when you are on a good thing, stick to it, the Ranger exterior has only had subtle styling changes, with most aimed at further differentiating the models within the line-up. This includes a new rich orange hero colour – dubbed ‘Sabre’ by Ford and exclusive to Wildtrak. Further exterior styling changes include LED Day Time Running Lights (DTRLs) for Wildtrak, HID headlights for Wildtrak and XLT, plus a reshaped front lower bumper bar, a rear step bumper and a revised grille that accentuates the bluff front end.

With the option of an all-new engine/drivetrain, combined with the alternative of the tried-and-true 3.2TD and six-speed auto, plus general improvements across the range – not to mention that excellent five year/unlimited kays warranty – Ford has ensured the Ranger will continue to remain at the top end of the vehicle sales results in Oz for a while yet.

The updated Ford Ranger and Everest models, including the Ranger Raptor, will go on sale in Australia in Q3 this year.

POWER BOOST

With 157kW at 3750rpm and 500Nm from 1750rpm, the Bi-Turbo boasts the highest outputs for the Ranger to-date, yet brings with it technology and engineering smarts to deliver Australians lower running costs.