After much speculation and postulation, Ford has introduced a new premium trim level to its Ranger bakkie line-up.
Locally built and now available to order at your Ford dealer, there are three Ranger Thunder variants to choose from, offering two engine and three drivetrain options.
Where does the Thunder fit into Ford’s local bakkie strategy? The Ranger has traditionally peaked with a Wildtrak version, adding some very bold styling elements. Its target market has always been the lifestyle bakkie buyer, who wishes to see his double-cab as an expression of individuality.
Ford Thunder: Tailored ‘Darth Vader’ look
Thunder offers even more tailored individualism and differentiation from other Ford double cabs, by not only offering variant specific wheels and colours, but also a unique front end.
Easily recognisable by its stylized grille, which includes two red accented ducts at each corner, the overall design theme is stealth. There bakkie’s 18-inch alloy wheels are darkened, whilst elements of the grille, running boards, rear bumper and tail lamps are darkened too.
Completing the Thunder’s “Darth Vader” bakkie look, are foglamp housings and all four cab door handles, being finished in black. With its grey body colour, the gloss black finishes work a treat at creating some overall design contrast.
In terms of its utility, the Thunder’s loadbox gains a black powder-coated roller shutter cover, to increase the security of anything you would be transporting on the back.
This roller shutter also improves the bakkie’s aerodynamicists by reducing drag, and ultimately benefitting fuel consumption.
Safe and sound
There is no question that the target buyer for this new Ford Ranger derivative, will be in all likelihood use it as a family vehicle. As such, safety specification is crucial, and the Thunder does not disappoint.
It has sensors in the front bumper to assist with autonomous emergency braking, meaning that this double-cab will act to avoid a collision, even if you do not see it coming.
The lane keeping alert and aiding function keeps the Ranger from straying over solid lines and adaptive cruise control makes it an effortless long distance driving vehicle.
BLEND OF FOUR- AND FIVE-CYLINDER ENGINES
Powertrains for this new Ranger will be familiar to Ford bakkie fans. The two-litre bi-turbodiesel engine, boosting 157kW and 500Nm, is available as both a 4×2 and 4×4.
For those owners who do intend taking their bakkies off-road, there is a very adequate 230mm of ground clearance and lockable rear differential.
Customers who prefer the larger capacity 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel engine, will only have option on a 4×2 Thunder.
Although this engine is less powerful than its smaller two-litre range sibling, it remains highly regarded as a towing powertrain, ideal for those Ranger drivers who like to haul a trailer.
Ford’s new Ranger Thunder range starts at R711 600, for the 3.2 4×2 and peaks at R787 000, for a 2.0 4×4. It prices as an overall premium of R33 400, compared to any equivalent powertrain Wildtrak.