South Africans after an extra layer of protection from the nation’s high crime rates can now order a fully-armoured Ford Ranger direct from Blue Oval dealerships without voiding the factory warranty.
Ford has teamed up with speciality armoured vehicle manufacturer SVI Engineering to offer its popular dual-cab ute with various level of protection.
SVI Engineering offers two levels of protection – B4 and B6 – across the entire Ford Ranger line-up.
The lowest level of protection is B4 Armoured, capable of stopping bullets from handguns. Kevlar covers the doors and body panels, while the Ranger’s glasshouse has been upgraded with 18 to 21mm thick glass, which is claimed to be able to withstand bullets up to a .44 Magnum calibre.
It will also repel a thrown housebrick, a common weapon used by carjackers in South Africa.
According to SVI Engineering, the addition of Kevlar and bulletproof glass adds around 280kg to the Ranger’s weight and takes eight weeks to install.
B6 specification ups the personal protection ante, with bulletproof glass rated to be able to withstand gunshots from an assault rifle, such as an AK-47. With glass measuring at 38mm thick and reinforced steel plates on the doors, firewall and around critical engine components, the B6 spec adds around 650kg to the Ranger, which also receives a suspension upgrade to cope with the extra heft.
Cosmetically, the B6 level of armouring comes in two specifications – discreet, which hides and camouflages the protective components and takes around 12 weeks to build; and the Stop Gun (non-discreet), which only takes two weeks to complete, ensures the protective elements are clearly visible.
Ford South Africa’s four-year/120,000km warranty remains in place, while SVI Engineering offers a one-year/50,000km warranty on all armoured components.
The cost of personal protection doesn’t come cheap, however, with the SVI Engineering work adding anywhere from AU$20,000 to AU$58,000 to the price of a Ford Ranger. For comparison, a Ranger XLT dual-cab with the five-cylinder 3.2-litre diesel with automatic transmission and all-wheel drive retails for around AU$55,000 in South Africa.
Still, in a nation with around 18,000 vehicle hijackings annually, the price for personal safety is something many South Africans are willing to pay.