4WD Review – Ford’s new Ranger

FORD recently launched its revamped Ranger line-up, which includes a dual cab 4WD model ideal for towing boats and reaching remote off-road fishing spots. SCOTT THOMAS reports.

DUAL-cab 4WDs offer boat-owning anglers a number of distinct advantages. Fishos towing
heavy boats will appreciate the generous towing and load capacity that dual cabs offer. Storage space is always ample – many tradies use these vehicles for work during the week and fishing on the weekend.

The biggest problem was the “industrial” feel of these 4WDs. They drove like a truck,
sounded like a truck, and that smell of diesel scared the missus away and meant a second “family” car was required. Times are tough and if owning a large boat isn’t financially hard enough, the prospect of having to buying a large “luxury” 4WD to tow the boat is a major deterrent.

Ford’s new Ranger is part of the new breed of duel cab turbo diesels crossing over and targeting buyers interested in a versatile vehicle capable of hard work, yet sharing the driving characteristics and overall aesthetics of a “car”.

Fishing World recently attended the world launch of the Ranger in SA. The two-day event featured a day of off-road driving as well aa stint through the windy roads in the Adelaide Hills. Over the course of two days we got a pretty good feel of the vehicle and how it handled on tar and dirt.

Ride & performance

Windy roads and hairpin bends are not the usual territory for this type of vehicle, yet the Ranger gave a good account of itself. While by no means a sports car, it was easy to forget the style of car I was driving. The interior is a vast improvement over older model dual cab 4WDs. Driver and passenger seats were surprisingly comfortable. As a possible tradesman’s vehicle, Ford recognised the need to carry five adults and the back seats had plenty of leg room.  

The dash looked modern and was equipped with Bluetooth voice control for phone and iPod and the Wildtrak model features a Rear View Camera System.


The Ranger has several interesting features for off-road driving. Ground clearance of up to
237mm is available on certain models is coupled with a impressive water-wading capability of 800mm on 4×4 and 4×2 Hi-rider models. Fisho tested both auto and manual models in some pretty rough conditions in the Flinders rangers.  The electronically controlled transfer case – for both manual and automatic transmissions – allow drivers to shift from 4×2 to 4×4 high-range any time via the knob located on the centre

Low-range gearing can be enabled for extra low speed torque or downhill braking. When the low-range gears are engaged, the throttle response is changed to an off-road setting which provides a less sensitive, softer pedal feel. This was a great, almost “idiot proof” feature. We tested this on extremely steep and rough hills and it worked well with no need for braking – simply steer.

The Ranger also features Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system, with off-road logic which
recognises when the 4WD is driven on rough roads and modifies the system for optimum stability.


While the test didn’t involve towing, the Ranger’s specs add up to an impressive towing
capability. The test vehicle had a towing capability of up to 3350kgs, which means it should easly tow a 6.5m fibreglass boat. A great feature is Ford’s Trailer Sway Control. This, Ford says, increases driver confidence while towing. If the trailer begins to sway, the system  takes control, selectively applying brakes to reduce the speed of the 4WD-and-trailer combination. Anyone who’s towed a large boat on a freeway will know the dangers of swaying at high speeds.

The Ranger also has a decent payload of 1500kg.


The Ranger features a new line-up of three engines across the range. The test vehicle had the top end 3.2 litre Duratorq TDCi. The other two include 2.2 litre Durotorq TDCi and the petrol 2.5 lite Durotec. The 3.2 litre has 470 Nm of torque and a powerful 147 kW rating. Manual and auto is available with six-speed transmission.

Ford says the 4×2 version has a fuel economy of 8.4 l/100km.

Boat Fishing was more than impressed with the torque of both manual and auto versions during steep off-road driving. The responsiveness of modern turbo-diesel plants was evident when driving through the steep Adelaide hills.

If you’re after a decent tow vehicle, these new Fords are well worth checking out. Prices start at $46,390 for the 3.2 litre as tested. For more info visit


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