The Ford Ranger 4x4 XLS Special Edition will go on sale in Australia next month as the blue oval brand steps up its very achievable mission of overtaking the once-unconquerable Toyota HiLux in the sales race.

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The limited-run Ford Ranger XLS Special Edition adds a factory sports bar, 3500kg-capable tow bar, side steps, and bed-and tailgate-liners, equating to a claimed $4900 of extra value when fitting costs are factored in.

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The 3.2-litre XLS Special Editions have drive-away prices of $49,990 (manual) and $52,190 (auto), which is $2500 more than the current drive-away price of the MY17 XLS variants.

Ranger 4x4 sales rose more than 40 per cent compared to the same time last year, while taking more than 20 per cent of the 4x4 pick-up segment and beating HiLux 4x4 in monthly sales during July.

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Year-to-date, its 17,623 sales (up 37.5 per cent) in the 4x4 segment sit very close to the HiLux with 17,795 (up 18.5 per cent).

“… We expect the Ranger 4x4 XLS Special Edition will help us narrow the gap to Toyota even further, with Ranger 4x4 now only 172 units behind the Hilux 4x4 year-to-date,” said Ford Australia CEO and president Graeme Whickman.

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The Ranger was designed and engineered in Australia and, along with Everest SUV, is the centrepiece of Ford’s $2 billion investment in local R&D since 2009. Ford Australia is home to 1100 designers and engineers.