The Ford Ranger 2019 has now arrived into UK showrooms, promising more power, fuel economy, better refinement and more safety systems. Ford has also ditched the 2.2 and 3.2-litre engines, replacing with a range of 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine and we get exclusive access to test them ahead of the launch.
The current generation, the T6, hit European dealerships in 2012, but it is already one of the oldest models on the market. A major facelift in 2016 helped the Ranger achieve Euro-6 status, and this second update serves as a stopgap until the next all-new model comes out in 2022 – which is expected to also be sold as the Volkswagen Amarok.
Ford Ranger 2019 models and specs
In terms of design, this is a relatively light touch-up with the facelift largely limited to just the front bumper design and a new grille, with the central horizontal bar now split along its length into two slim sections.
Available as a regular, super (extended), or double cab, the new Ranger now features four-wheel drive as standard. As with the previous generation, there are four trim levels (XL, XLT, Limited and Wildtrak) although there will be a number of special editions like the Raptor and others.
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In the cab
Very little has changed on the inside visually, with the main update centring around technology. The cab is definitely starting to feel its age now and, despite the raised seating position, visibility isn’t the best due to the high-standing dashboard and high bonnet which obscures vision.
As explained, there are four main trim levels on the Ford Ranger 2019:
- Ford Ranger XL. 16-inch steel wheels, body-coloured bumpers, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, lane keeping assist, intelligent speed assist, traffic sign recognition, stop-start, air conditioning, cruise control, 6-way adjustable seats, DAB radio with Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary points.
- Ford Ranger XLT. 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome door mirrors, grille and door handles, side steps, fog lights, load liner with 12v socket, power lock tailgate, electric adjustable and heated door mirrors, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, DAB radio with CD player, 4.2-linch screen, SYNC voice control and leather steering wheel with audio controls.
- Ford Ranger Limited. 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, rear-view camera and parking sensors, easylift tailgate, sports bar, Bi-Xenon headlights and LED daytime lights, leather seats, coolbox in centre console and SYNC3 with 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Ford Ranger Wildtrak. 18-inch alloy wheels, titanium finish on side steps, aerodynamic sports bar, titanium-effect grille, roof rails, satellite navigation, twin USB ports, ambient lighting and partial leather seat trim.
Ford Ranger 2019 engines
Ford has replaced the 2.2 and 3.2-litre engines with a new 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine inherited from the Transit line and all Rangers are fitted with electronic shift-on-the-fly 4×4 as standard. The new engine, which also features in the new Transit and Transit Custom, comes with three power ratings:
- 129hp/340Nm. Available on Single Cab only.
- 168hp/420Nm. Available on Single, Super and Double Cab.
- 210hp/500Nm. Available on Double Cab only.
Interestingly, while fuel economy on the top output has improved (29.7mpg on the 3.2TDCi 197hp v 35.8mpg on 2.0 EcoBlue 210hp), the mid-spec and entry-level engines are both less efficient and emit more CO2.
There are two transmissions; either a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic. The 10-speed was developed in conjunction with General Motors and, in terms of performance, is virtually seamless and does well to keep the 2.0-litre engine in its narrow power bracket.
However, it fails to push you to the back of your seat like the X-Class V6 or Amarok V6. With the most powerful 210hp/500Nm output, it still takes 10.1 seconds to reach 62mph, although this drops to 9 seconds for the well-optimised automatic.
Given that the 3.2-litre makes up almost two-thirds of European sales, it’s unlikely Ford will leave the 2.0-litre as the sole engine option and executives at Ford have hinted that the new UK-designed 3.0-litre V6 ‘Powerstroke’ diesel – which features in the Ford F150 from 2018 – may make an appearance, which could challenge the Mercedes-Benz X-Class and Volkswagen Amarok as the most powerful pickup.
On and off the road
As the model hasn’t fundamentally changed since 2012, the Ranger lags when it comes to ride and handling. The steering doesn’t feel well connected with the road and, due to its raised chassis and huge suspension travel, there’s quite a lot of body roll generated in the bends, however, the new engine is certainly quieter. The Ranger also deals well with bumps and divots and there’s very little road noise.
Off road has always been a strong point for the Ranger. The excellent axle articulation means it stays better connected with the road and there is great ground clearance (225mm), approach and departure angles (up to 29 and 27 degrees respectively) and a class-leading 800mm wading depth.
As explained, the impressive 4WD system with 2Hi, 4Hi and 4Low settings is now standard across the range, and it works in conjunction with electronic stability control and traction control.
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The Ranger introduces a few ‘sector firsts’ with Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Intelligent Speed Assist as standard, while the Ford KeyFree System and Ford Power starter button is now available, and the tailgate lock is now integrated into the central locking system
The FordPass Connect on-board modem turns the Ranger into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices, and also enables a range of features to be accessed via the FordPass mobile app – making the vehicle ownership and operating experience easier and more productive for owner-drivers and fleet drivers.
Loading and towing
Rather surprisingly, Ford hasn’t published weight figures in the brochure for the first time that we’re aware of. However, they have said that all models have a one tonne payload and are available with up to 3.5t towing capacity (except the Ranger Raptor).
Nothing has changed when it comes to dimensions; the load bed is measured at 1,549mm long by 1,560mm wide, and loads are kept more secure by the 511mm high side walls. Single Cabs have a 2,317mm load length, while its 1,847mm on the Super Cab.
Ford Ranger 2019 price and availability
Prices for the Ford Ranger 2019 have increased slightly to £20,845 plus VAT for the XL to £29,845 plus VAT for the manual Wildtrak; an increase of almost £3,000 since 2016.
Ford invested R3 billion (£180m) in the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria and the Struandale engine factory in Port Elizabeth in November 2017, where the current European Ranger and its engines are manufactured, so we can say with confidence that Ford will not be shifting production from South Africa for some time.
The good news is that the capacity will be increasing from 100,000 to 124,000 units per year, which should alleviate the availability issues.
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