The updated 2015 Ford Ranger ute will land in New Zealand later this year complete with technology that not long ago was found only in luxury cars.
Things like radar cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning … electronic aids to help keep the country’s working class heroes from tipping the Ranger on its ear.
Ford says the gizmos will make the Ranger the most advanced commercial workhorse on the NZ market, offering more of everything than rivals like the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, and Mitsubishi Triton. But the Hilux and Navara will be updated this year and the new Triton is about to be launched.
Ford expects the facelifted Ranger to build on the reputation of the current model, which last year ended the 32-year reign of the Hilux as the country’s No. 1 commercial.
Also in the Ranger’s technological package is a 20cm touch screen, including navigation and a rear-view camera, voice control, and a 240-volt power socket to charge a laptop or cellphone.
The new-look model, like the current one, was designed and engineered by Ford Australia and will be built in Thailand, like most of the rival NZ-market utes.
The bodywork from the windscreen forward is new and shows off a design cue here and there that echos those of the F-Series trucks in the US. The interior of the Ranger is new too
The premium five-cylinder 3.2-litre diesel engine delivers the same 147kW/470Nm but Ford says new software calibrations deliver improved fuel use.
The current Ranger is leading the NZ commercial sales race in a 2015 market that has so far shaped up as strong as 2014. Not so across the ditch, where new Ford Australia boss Graeme Whickman is dealing with overall falling sales as he heads towards winding down the company’s assembly, engine and stamping plants next year.
Whickman, 46, a longtime marketing and sales executive, began his career in 1997 with Ford NZ. He will be responsible for both Australia and NZ in his new role.