The Ford Ranger is already a trend-setter in the South African market and one of the top-selling vehicles in the country. Now, continuing its ongoing evolution and offering customers a wider range of features and options, an exclusive limited-edition Ranger Thunder has been launched, which includes a raft of unique design and functional enhancements to what is already one of the most popular vehicles in South Africa.
At the same time, Ford has bolstered the standard specification on almost its entire Ranger line-up, most notably introducing LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights and front fog lamps as standard on the new Ranger Thunder, and on all XLT, Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor derivatives.
Ford’s Connected Touch Radio (CTR) with an eight-inch touchscreen replaces the smaller four-inch display and entry-level SYNC®1 system previously fitted to XLS models. The CTR infotainment system is available as an option on the XL derivatives, which also gain practical side steps as an optional extra.
“As the winner of the 2020 International Pick-up Award, the locally assembled Ford Ranger is proudly one of South Africa’s most popular vehicles, and continues to set the benchmark for style, luxury and a vast array of technologies that enhance driving convenience as well as safety,” says Doreen Mashinini, General Manager Marketing at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA).
“We are delighted to add the exciting new limited-edition Ranger Thunder which adds a sportier and even more exclusive dimension to what is already one of the pickup segment’s front-runners. There are also several enhancements to the already impressive list of standard features on XLS and XLT models, which gives customers even greater value for money, as well as improved driving safety,” Mashinini adds.
Exclusive Ranger Thunder
Derived from the highly successful Ford Ranger Wildtrak, the addition of the exclusive Ranger Thunder brings even greater style, luxury, capability and practicality to the range. Numerous distinctive design features are unique to the Ranger Thunder, starting with a revised honeycomb-style front grille incorporating red accents for the side “nostrils”, which gives this new derivative a distinctly performance-oriented demeanour inspired by Ford’s sportiest models.
This is complemented by black detailing for the side mirror housings, and bold three-dimensional “Thunder” nomenclature at the base of the front doors and on the rear tailgate. The new 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels are finished in black which adds to the Ranger Thunder’s assertive and sporty character. Additionally, the integrated sports hoop fitted as standard on Wildtrak models now gains a striking red insert that adds further stylistic flair.
The Ranger Wildtrak is already renowned for its luxuriously appointed premium cabin, but the Thunder raises the bar even further. The extensive swathes of black leather that adorn the seats, dashboard, steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake shrouds now feature striking red contrast stitching in place of the orange used on the Wildtrak. New front leather seats have been fitted, featuring bold “Thunder” decals embroidered in red.
Aside from the visual enhancements, the Ranger Thunder benefits from numerous practical additions in the load compartment too, including a lockable “Mountain Top” black roller shutter to safely secure goods being carried. There’s also a cargo area management system with a bed divider that allows the owner to easily compartmentalise the available space for securely holding different-sized items.
Ranger Thunder models are exclusively available in Sea Grey, Frozen White, Absolute Black and Moondust Silver. As with the Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor, the Thunder is powered by the 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo engine which produces 157kW and 500Nm, and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This combination, which benefits from the transmission’s Progressive Range Select (PRS) function by giving the driver the ability to lock out gears from the automatic shifting range, makes the Ranger Thunder ideal for towing or when driving in slippery conditions or climbing steep gradients. The Ranger’s exceptional towing capacity of up to 3 500 kg remains unchanged in the Thunder, as do the 800 mm water wading depth and 230 mm ground clearance.
On the Ranger Wildtrak, the list of factory-fitted options has been expanded to include the roller shutter for the rear load box, along with the new black finish for the 18-inch double-spoke alloy wheels.
Exceptional technology and safety
Ranger Thunder continues to benefit from the raft of technologies that debuted in the current generation Wildtrak, including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) that uses a combination of radar and camera systems along with new software to detect pedestrians, as well as stationary and moving objects.
Additional features available on the Ranger Thunder include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Forward Collision Alert. The system gives a visual and audible warning if the gap to the vehicle ahead falls below a critical distance. Furthermore, the brake system is pre-tensioned and the servo boost assistance system is modulated to provide immediate brake performance if required by the driver. The system is also able to brake the vehicle independently of the driver in an emergency if the accelerator pedal is released, helping avoid a collision or reduce the impact speed.
Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid are also standard on the Ranger Thunder. The Lane Keeping Alert function is designed to warn the driver by means of a vibration in the steering wheel when the forward-facing camera detects that an unintentional lane departure is likely to occur. The Lane Keeping Aid goes a step further by temporarily steering the vehicle back into the current lane. Additionally, a Driver Alert System informs the driver by means of visual, audible and vibration warnings if fatigue is detected.
Ranger Thunder also benefits from Ford’s innovative Semi-Automatic Parallel Park Assist (SAPPA), which takes the hassle out of parallel parking manoeuvres by using ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers that search for parking spaces that are big enough to park the vehicle, and alerts the driver when a suitable spot is found.
The system calculates the trajectory and steers the vehicle into the slot using the Ranger’s electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) and sensors. All the driver has to do is operate the accelerator and brake, and select the appropriate gear as indicated by Park Assist.
Ford’s innovative EZ lift tailgate, now also available on the Ranger Thunder, makes accessing the load bin significantly easier through the incorporation of a torsion rod system that reduces the initial lift force required to raise the tailgate by 70 percent.
Lighting upgrades for XLT, enhanced audio system for XLS
Ford has enhanced the standard lighting, and resulting driving safety, on all Ranger models from the XLT model and above with the fitment of LED headlamps across the board. The new lights incorporate LED daytime running lamps for improved visibility, as well as LED front foglamps.
The Ranger XLS line-up receives a significant upgrade to its built-in infotainment system, with the current first-generation SYNC® with four-inch LCD display replaced by a Connected Touch Radio (CTR) system, which provides improved connectivity at the lower end of the infotainment line-up.
Incorporating an eight-inch full-colour touchscreen, CTR is largely equivalent to SYNC®3 with the exception of embedded navigation and voice recognition. It offers two USB slots and full Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity for smartphones – including the ability to use a paired phone’s navigation functions – along with text-to-speech.
The CTR infotainment system is available as an option on Ranger XL models, which also now offer practical side steps as a factory-fitted added-cost item.
All models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120 000 km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A six-year/90 000 km service plan is included, with 15 000 km service intervals.
To view the Ranger Thunder launch video on Ford South Africa’s YouTube channel, click here.