After a long build-up, the largely Australian-engineered and designed 2016 Ford Ranger light commercial line-up launches in Australia this week, and its maker is confident of even greater sales.
The mid-life updated Ford Ranger load-lugger is tasked with keeping the Blue Oval near the top of the light commercial sales charts, and arms Ford against the imminent all-new Toyota HiLux due to launch at the end of September.
Ford’s revised Ranger is also launching at the right time to tackle recently introduced rivals such as the new Mitsubishi Triton and NP300 Nissan Navara, as well as its twin-under-the-skin, the Mazda BT-50, which gets a mid-life update of its own in about five weeks time.
All the key pricing and specification information on the Ranger has already been revealed, but we’ll give you a quick recap further down. The headliners are obvious.
These include more car-like tech — 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 — generally higher prices and a tweaked entry engine.
At the launch near Melbourne’s fringe this week, Ford Australia president and CEO Graeme Whickman talked up the Ranger’s chances of continuing its recent strong form in the booming ute market, despite stronger competition than ever looming.
"I would say that our aspirations are positive, and we are confident we should be able to do better," he said. "Having said that, though, we’ll have to earn the right to do that..."
Whickman added that Ford's improving dealer experience would have an impact.
"It would be illogical to suggest a better dealer experience, and an even better product on top of an already good product, doesn't offer the opportunity to grow," he said.
This year, Ford has registered 16,157 Ranger 4x2s and 4x4s in Australia, which places it second only to the evergreen, outgoing Toyota HiLux fleet favourite (21,360). The nearest challenger is the cheaper Mitsubishi Triton range (new and old concurrently) at 15,947.
Over the past few years, the Ranger has been the fastest-growing ute range alongside the Isuzu D-Max.
Most welcome for Ford is the fact that a very significant number of these are the high-end XLT and Wildtrak versions targeted at ‘weekend warriors’, reflecting the fact that the Ranger is seen as a comparatively premium product.
Such is the Ranger’s dominance here, it actually accounts for about 40 per cent of all Ford Australia’s sales this year so far, which stands at a grand total of 40,557 (down 16.3 per cent) YTD.
2016 Ford Ranger updates.
As we have reported, there’s revised pricing for Ford’s 37-strong Ranger line-up (factoring in different engines, transmissions and body styles) that sees the 11-model 4×2 line-up increasing by between $1400 and $3650. The new price of entry to the range is $27,390 plus on-road costs for the 4×2 cab chassis, up $3000.
Pricing on the more popular 4×4 variants, of which there are 26 options, is up by a more modest margin, between $200 and $700. A few versions are actually unchanged. Interestingly, the Wildtrak flagship becomes the first Ranger to crack a $60,000 list price, at $60,090 plus on-road costs.
Ford has also upped the price of the optional six-speed automatic transmission by $200, to $2200.
Those wanting the Tech Pack on the XLT, which adds a reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane assist, will have to pay $1100. The Wildtrak gets the reversing camera standard, but adding the other parts of the Tech Pack to that car costs $600.
By comparison, the new Toyota HiLux, likewise due in a few months time, will come standard with a reversing camera — though Ford counters by spruiking its market-topping list of other driver assist technologies (that you have to pay extra for, we’d add).
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.
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.
Keep an eye out for our review of the 2016 Ford Ranger this week.
2016 Ford Ranger MkII pricing (plus on-road costs):
XL Single Cab Chassis 2.2L MT $27,390
XL Single Cab Chassis 2.2L Hi-Rider MT $30,890
XL Single Cab Chassis 2.2L Hi-Rider AT $33,090
XL Single Cab Pick-up 2.2L MT $28,390
XL Super Cab Chassis 2.2L Hi-Rider AT $35,590
XL Double Cab Chassis 2.2L Hi-Rider AT $37,590
XL Double Cab Pick-up 2.2L Hi-Rider MT $36,390
XL Double Cab Pick-up 2.2L Hi-Rider AT $38,590
XLT Super Cab Pick-up 3.2L Hi-Rider AT $46,690
XLT Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L Hi-Rider MT $46,490
XLT Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L Hi-Rider AT $48,690
XL Single Cab Chassis 2.2L MT $38,790
XL Single Cab Chassis 3.2L MT $41,290
XL Single Cab Chassis 3.2L AT $43,490
XL Plus Single Cab Chassis 3.2L AT $46,480
XL Super Cab Chassis 3.2L MT $43,790
XL Super Cab Pick-up 3.2L MT $44,790
XL Double Cab Chassis 2.2L MT $43,290
XL Double Cab Chassis 2.2L AT $45,490
XL Double Cab Pick-up 2.2L MT $44,290
XL Double Cab Pick-up 2.2L AT $46,490
XL Double Cab Chassis 3.2L MT $45,790
XL Double Cab Chassis 3.2L AT $47,990
XL Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L MT $46,790
XL Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L AT $48,990
XL Plus Double Cab Chassis 3.2L AT $51,960
XL Plus Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L AT $52,960
XLS Double Cab Pick-up 2.2L MT $45,590
XLS Double Cab Pick-up 2.2L AT $47,790
XLS Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L MT $48,090
XLS Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L AT $50,290
XLT Super Cab Pick-up 3.2L MT $52,390
XLT Super Cab Pick-up 3.2L AT $54,590
XLT Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L MT $54,390
XLT Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L AT $56,590
Wildtrak Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L MT $57,890
Wildtrak Double Cab Pick-up 3.2L AT $60,090
2016 Ford Ranger MkII new features:
- SYNC2 with a high-resolution eight-inch touchscreen (XLT and Wildtrak)
- Navigation with Traffic Management Channel (XLT and Wildtrak)
- Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS)
- Adjustable Speed Limiter
- Cable shift manual transmission
- Auto Stop/Start on manual transmission (4×2 Hi-Rider and 4×4 models)
- 230V inverter (Double and Super Cab models)
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
- Projector headlights (XLT and Wildtrak)
- Rear box illumination (when Sports Bar equipped)
- Dual colour 4.2-inch instrumentation screens (XLT and Wildtrak)
Tech Pack Option on XLT and Wildtrak:
- Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Alert
- Lane Departure Warning
- Lane Keep Assist
- Driver Impairment Monitor
- Reverse camera (standard on Wildtrak)
Specifications by variant:
- 16-inch steel wheels
- Bucket seats
- Four-way manual driver’s seat adjustment with lumbar support
- Auto headlamps
- Air conditioning – manual single zone
- Floor coverings – vinyl
- Power windows
- Day/night inside rear view mirror
- 230V inverter (Double and Super Cab)
- Bluetooth with voice control
- AM/FM stereo radio
- Single MP3 compatible CD player
- AUX/USB/iPod integration
- 4.2-inch colour multi-function display
- SYNC 1
- Locking rear differential (4×2 Hi-Rider and 4×4 models)
- Alarm with perimeter, interior motion and vehicle movement sensors
- Cruise control with steering wheel mounted buttons
- Adjustable Speed Limiter
- Inner and outer tie downs (Pick-up)
- Load rest (Pick-up)
Ranger XL Plus – XL features plus:
- 17-inch steel wheels with all-terrain tyres
- Daytime running lamps
- Plastic side steps
- Expanded wiring harness with 4-switch auxiliary bezel
- Second battery
- 3.5-inch Ice Blue multi-function display
Ranger XLS – XL features plus:
- 16-inch alloy wheels
- Front fog lamps
- Floor coverings – carpet
- Front floor mats
Ranger XLT – XLS features plus:
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Chrome exterior trim
- Plastic side steps with bright inserts
- Sports bar with load box illumination
- Privacy glass
- Rear step bumper – accent steel
- Power fold mirrors
- Projector headlamps
- Rain sensing windscreen wipers
- Dual colour 4.2-inch cluster screens
- Dual-zone climate control
- Cooled console
- Leather wrapped steering wheel & gear knob
- Electrochromatic rear view mirror
- SD Card Slot
- Eight-inch colour touch screen
- Satellite navigation with Traffic Management Channel
- SYNC 2
- DAB Radio
- Mobile WiFi Hotspot
- Tyre pressure monitoring system
- Rear park assist
- Bedliner with 12V socket
Ranger Wildtrak – XLT features plus:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Plastic side steps with brushed inserts
- Wildtrak sports bar
- Rear step bumper – chrome
- Puddle lamps
- Eight-way power driver’s seat adjustment with lumbar support
- Leather heated front seats
- Front and rear floor mats – Wildtrak
- Ambient Lighting
- Front Park Assist
- Reverse Camera
- Roller shutter