The 2015 Ford Ranger line-up has been detailed — sans pricing — ahead of its Australian premiere in a few months time.
Headlining the revised, 24-model-strong PX Ford Ranger MkII line-up are a suite of cabin upgrades, some stylistic tweaks, and the addition (to some versions) of advanced driver assist technologies reminiscent of the average luxury car.
True to recent style, Ford Australia has also laid down the gauntlet to Toyota and its top-selling HiLux — the only light commercial offering the fast-growing Ranger now trails on the sales charts — via its familiar adversarial advertising strategy.
Ford claims to outgun the HiLux in various areas no fewer than six times on the first two pages of its media release. It cites the Ranger’s better payload (against the current HiLux, not the all-new one launching in October), and names 10 features found on the Ranger not seen on the Toyota.
Of course, it might be a different story (to some degree) when this version of the HiLux arrives.
“You can buy a best-seller or cheaper alternative but nothing as good as the Ford Ranger,” said Ford Australia president and CEO Graeme Whickman (perhaps while poking a bear?).
Chief among these are additions such as adaptive cruise control with a forward collision alert system, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist (that nudges you between the lines if you stray) and Ford’s Driver Impairment Monitor.
You could argue this approach is working, given Ranger sales are flying this year. It has 10,772 sales YTD, up about 5.0 per cent on 2014’s record. At the same time, the ageing and soon-to-be-replaced HiLux has fallen about 2.5 per cent to 14,500.
Ford is relying heavily on its commercial hero, though. Its total sales this year are 27,559 (down 17.8 per cent), meaning the Ranger contributes around 40.0 per cent of its total deliveries.
The addition of the aforementioned luxury car features sets the ute bar high, and will no doubt appeal to the growing number of people buying commercials as second family vehicles. More than one-in-three Ranger buyers opts for the top-line XLT or Wildtrak versions.
Disappointingly though, these features will only be available as optional extras on said XLT and Wildtrak versions — more on that further down.
Other new features added to various spec levels include Ford’s SYNC 2 connectivity system with a WiFi hotspot, all the requisite connectivity and an eight-inch touchscreen, a new sat-nav system, and electric (rather than hydraulic) power steering.
The cabin itself has also come in for a design makeover that makes it more car-like than before. It notably gets those soft-touch plastics we’re always talking about. Externally, there’s also a new grille and headlight design.
The core selling points remain — a braked towing capacity of up to 3.5-tonnes and a wading depth of 800mm on 4×4 versions. The 147kW/470Nm (between 1750 and 2500rpm) 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine is unchanged, though the 2.2-litre four-pot is uprated to 118kW/385Nm (between 1600 and 2500rpm).
Both engines still come with six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions — the latter of which now gets fuel-saving idle-stop technology on 4×2 Hi-Rider and 4×4 iterations.
The revised Ranger will arrive in the third quarter of 2015, and will be joined a few months after by the new HiLux. Also due is an updated Mazda BT-50 (based on the same platform as the Ranger), while a new Mitsubishi Triton has just launched. The ute segment, it’s safe to say, is running hot.
As we know, Australia’s Product Development and Broadmeadows-based Design Centre took the lead in the design and development of the refreshed 2015 PX Ranger MkII, as well as the original PX Ranger.
It is now sold in more than 180 countries. Ford in Australia is investing more than any other car company in Australia – more than $300 million in 2015 on top of almost $2 billion over the past six years, to ensure its design and development facilities continue to play a lead role in Ford globally. The Ranger is still made in Thailand.
Tech Pack Option on XLT and Wildtrak:
Specifications by variant:
Ranger XL Plus – XL features plus:
Ranger XLS – XL features plus:
Ranger XLT – XLS features plus:
Ranger Wildtrak – XLT features plus:
Tech Pack Option: