Other changes include the addition of Autonomous Emergency Braking, SYNC3 infotainment, keyless entry, an easy-lift tailgate and more, with some additions standard and others either optional or limited to specific model grades.
“The Australian market has shifted in a relatively short timeframe, pushing pick-ups like Ranger towards the top of the sales charts,” said Ford Australia President and CEO, Graeme Whickman. “It’s also seen new buyers come into the segment, especially at the premium end, which is why we’ve made Ranger more refined and more capable at an even wider variety of uses.”
Taken directly from the high-performance Ranger Raptor, the new 2.0-litre twin turbo diesel is a compact, powerful four-cylinder unit delivering 157kW and an impressive 500Nm when paired with the 10-speed auto; that’s 10kW and 30Nm more than the standard 3.2-litre Duratorq diesel powerplant. A 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine producing 118kW and 385Nm is also offered on selected model grades.
Available exclusively on XLT and Wildtrak grades, the 2.0 twin turbo also offers improved flexibility and a quieter, more comfortable drive without impacting on the payload or reducing the towing capacity, which remains at 3500kg.
Suspension had been upgraded across the 2019 range to reduce body roll, with an emphasis on improving the driving experience when fully-laden and/or towing. New packaging enabled the geometry changes to improve the ride, with steering also improved.
While the emphasis has been on better on-road manners, the Ranger has lost none of its off-road ability, with the suspension changes put to the test at what Ford describes as a “brutal new off-road test track” at their You Yangs Proving Ground. “These suspension changes across the range have been thoroughly tried and tested,” said John Willems, Chief Program Engineer, Ranger. “They not only mean we have greater comfort, but make the Ranger an even more capable off-roader, which is something that we know buyers are looking for.”
Externally, the upcoming MY19 Ranger differs little from the current version, with styling changes limited to a new grille and lower bumper design, but grade distinctions will be clearer, thanks to different bumper treatments and colours. The Wildtrak will add a new ‘Sabre’ (orange) hero colour with a dark grey detailing and optional black-finish 18-inch alloy wheels.
New safety tech includes Autonomous Emergency Braking with vehicle and pedestrian detection that’s optional on the XLT and standard on Wildtrak. Also optional (as part of the Tech Pack) on XLT and standard on Wildtrak is Traffic Sign Recognition; a Ranger first that identifies traffic signs and displays an icon of the speed limit on the instrument cluster.
Another new feature is Active Park Assist, a semi-automatic system that makes that makes for easier parallel parking. This is limited to the XLT (optional) and Wildtrack (standard), but XL grades with the ute tub get rear parking sensors, while all MY19 Ranger ute tub grades will feature a new, easy-lift tailgate that reduces initial lifting force by 70 per cent. Passive Entry Passive Start keyless entry and push-button start has also been added; standard on XLT and Wildtrak, and optional on XLS grades.
Inside, the MY19 Ranger is defined by a new black theme for the trim, with contrasting shadow chrome and silver accent stitching. Ford’s SYNC 3 system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, is now optional on XLS grades and brings Bluetooth, an 8.0-inch full colour touchscreen and reversing camera.
The mapping system includes a ‘breadcrumbs’ feature, allowing an unmarked off-road route to be mapped as it’s traversed. Complimentary map updates - for up to seven years - are available, but need to be implemented as part of scheduled servicing through a Ford dealer.
SYNC 3 also includes Emergency Assistance as standard, using the Bluetooth phone connection to automatically call emergency services in the event of a serious collision. Finally, the MY19 Ranger range, like any Ranger delivered after 1 May, 2018, will come with Ford’s 5 year, unlimited kilometre warranty as standard. The new MY19 Ford Ranger range is due for release in September, with pricing starting at $27,990 for the 4x2 models and $41,890 for 4x4 versions, topping out at $63,990 for the Ranger Wildtrak with the 2.0 twin-turbo.