Ford Ranger XLT and Wildtrak Test Drive
Luxury sports car meets tough off-roader in the new 2015 Ford Ranger.
With Ford’s advanced technology and state-of-the-art design, delivers a utilitarian vehicle with the capability to perform. As their tagline suggests, the ‘smarter ranger is here’ and driving this car really makes you feel like you’re driving a car like no other.
Ford have explained that the XLT has placed an emphasis on luxury, while the Wildtrak is more of a sport-luxury model. The top-end features don’t come as standard, with prices looking far upwards of $46,690 plus on road costs, aswell as most of the driver assistance technology as optional extras. However, after having a test drive in the high-end models, you won’t want to look anywhere else.
The Ranger came to Sydney recently, as a stopover on its Ford Australia road trip. A beach to bush experience meant a way to showcase its high tech and durable capability, in a friendly and community based experience.
Neil McDonald, product communications manager, places a strong emphasis on the tougher, smarter and more efficient Ford Ranger, with a modern and ‘beefy’ exterior and its jam-packed functional driver assist technology.
The car was designed to serve two purposes. A reliable, family-friendly, everyday drive, with the most modern and innovative technology, aswell as a tough, functional off-roading vehicle, perfect for a weekend drive and the capability to handle anything it encounters. After driving the car through both terrains, you can understand both sides of the spectrum and feel that Ford has achieved this.
Along with the 8-inch touchscreen display, in the centre of the dashboard, the two 4.2-inch LCD screens are placed in the vehicles instrument cluster, giving frequent updates on the car’s fuel economy, vehicle information and media settings. All of which can be scrolled and selected using the buttons on the steering wheel.
The passenger car safety features have been seamlessly placed, directly into this new-age Ford Ranger. Other features include the electric power-assisted steering, which compensates for the type of road – gravel vs. tarmac – and steering becomes heavier, as you increase in speed. This truly makes the car feel alive, reacting to the road conditions quicker than you can.
Speaking to Max, a spokesperson from the interior design team, he explained how all aspects of the design had functionality in mind.
Tough, capable but functional was at the forefront of the design process, which they have definitely achieved. The waterfall grill design and wide effect of the headlamp arrangement adds to the overall ‘stance’ of the vehicle and gives the car a sense of confidence. The language of the vehicle carries through into the interior, with a spacious and sturdy design leaves you feeling satisfied. Everything is accessible from the driver’s seat, thanks to the SYNC gen 2, media display, and each part of the design adds to its functionality. The glove box fits a 16inch laptop, and a power point socket in the rear passenger seat allows you to charge your device on the way to work. There are just under 30 storage compartments in the whole car, including the two cup-holders in the tray of the Ute, to hold your morning coffee, while you unload the back.
As for its off-road capability, the car can withstand 800mm water wading and has an overall ground clearance of 230mm. Change to 4×4 on the go, with the ‘Shift on the Fly’ dial, making the transition from on-road to off-road as easy as ‘that’.
The hill launch assist and e-locking rear differential setting comes in handy when conquering steep hills and tough terrain, and automatically adapts to the weight you are carrying, aswell as the type of terrain. Hill descent control is one of the car’s most useful features when off-road, placing the wheels under individual braking, keeping you at a constant speed as you descent down the hill. It was pointed out that going off-roading with heated seats and technological assists feels a bit wrong, but gone are the days where off-roading was judged by how many things broke. All of these features can be adjusted and customised, depending on how you prefer, however make for one truly luxurious and safe vehicle.
The 2.2 and 3.3 litre diesel engine has been optimized for city driving, with a noticeable reduce in engine noise, as well as an 8-15% increase in the fuel efficiency of the previous model. The new Ford Ranger has such quick gear changes, you can hardly tell that they have happened, not to mention the undeniable speed, which you wouldn’t expect from such a tough pick-up. The diesel shake has been severely decreased and when driving on the road, you almost forget that you’re sitting in such a capable off-roader.
The new 2015 Ford Ranger has gone above and beyond all expectations. Improving greatly from the previous model. The time an effort, gone into the new capable and luxurious model has been well-spent, producing an absolutely remarkable driving experience.
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