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Published on November 29th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Ford Ranger 2012 model test driven in Thailand

This new Ranger will be the talk of the town for the next 6 months until its launch and beyond that when it starts selling in June/July 2012. This pickup truck is set to knock Mitsubishi’s Triton pickup off its perch. It will worry Nissan product managers about their aging Navara and send Isuzu marketers scrambling for new selling ideas. Why? Well this new Ranger comes with better looks to take on the Triton, cabin space and comfort to outclass the Navara and fuel efficiency to better the class leader, the Isuzu D-Max.

Auto Connexion will be selling every new Ranger it can lay its hands on. It will easily have a long wait list forming as test drivers will experience a new class of pickup never experienced before. So, what’s the appeal? Plenty of power, a clever ‘SUV like’ cabin, great fuel economy and driving dynamics of a SUV.

Even though this new Ranger will have the smallest engine capacity here in Malaysia (a 2.2-litre, four-cylinder versus a selection of 2.5-litre, 3.0-litre and even 3.2-litre engines) it has good torque, a claimed 375Nm. It also has a six-speed manual as standard, which helps open road fuel economy and a six-speed auto will also be available at launch (the others make do with four and five-speed autos for now).

This Ranger shares no parts with the older Ranger. Plastic panels and cloth trim on the 2.2 diesel carried a premium feel and showed how low rent the current competitor’s are. Buttons and knobs have a nice feel and provide good damping when used.
Creature comforts include a ‘Ford Connect’ centre console (1st seen in the Fiesta) that houses a Bluetooth/I-Pod ready system, a large glovebox (that will swallow a modern 16-inch laptop computer, large a/c vents, sporty steering wheel, premium feeling gear shifter and a premium sound system.

There is even a sunglasses holder on the roof panel and a toll ticket clip on the right behind the steering wheel. The Ranger also gets a very comfortable driver’s and passenger seat in front with best in class torso comfort to provide good thigh support on long journeys. Door pockets, cup holders (6 of them) and grab bars (5 of them, too) abound. All five seats have lap-sash belts and even the centre rear seat occupant gets a head rest.

On the road, there is no hiding the Ranger’s origins but it handles corners with a little more confidence than its peers whilst returning a firm controlled ride. The steering feels meaty and well balanced and even at quick tarmac turns at speed this Ranger never feels like its letting loose.

At 5359 millimetres long and 1850 millimetres wide, the new Ranger is bigger than the previous-generation model. It remains easily manoeuvrable on narrow city streets and during parking thanks to a responsive steering system that requires no more than 3.5 turns of the wheel lock-to-lock. This allows drivers to drive in small narrow streets and do quick ‘U’ turns where other pickups have a problem conquering.

Ford engineers have fitted a nicely spaced six-speed manual to our test unit which was easy to use and exploit in our city run. Off road the gears have to be worked between 1st and 3rd to extract the torque from the new diesel engine. But it never felt lethargic or tired as we climbed steep inclines and used the engine to break of pace on the downhill runs. To compensate for its narrow power band, the 6 ratios will ensure you can find the perfect gear once on the move on the open highway. The automatic gearbox was next on our test drive and this never showed up any issue or problem. In fact the auto was so easy to drive, we are quite sure many women and will start being owners of this new Ranger with its stylish look and easy to get comfortable cabin.

Expected to arrive in Malaysian showrooms in the middle of 2012. So if you want one, start saving and if you can’t wait…….welllllllll…..hmmmm wait for it…its worth the wait.
Ford Ranger Pickup Duratorq 2.2-Diesel Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder/16v VG Turbo Diesel
Power: 150bhp @ 3700rpm
Torque: 375Nm @ 1500-2500rpm
Capacity: 2198cc
Transmission: 6-speed manual/auto
Top Speed: TBA
0-100km/h: TBA
Price: TBA

Ford Ranger Pickup Duratorq 3.2-Diesel Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder/16v VG Turbo Diesel
Power: 200bhp @ 3000rpm
Torque: 470Nm @ 1500-2750rpm
Capacity: 3198cc
Transmission: 6-speed auto
Top Speed: TBA
0-100km/h: TBA
Price: TBA

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