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Ford's best-selling ute gets makeover


New Zealand’s top selling ute in 2014 will benefit from a range of mid-life updates when it arrives in Ford dealerships from the third quarter of 2015.

Ford revealed the updated 2015 Ranger Ute at the Bankok Motor Show which has gained a raft of new electronic safety features as well as upgraded and more economical diesel engines.

The advanced features available in the range, including SYNC 2 connectivity, lane keeping aid, forward alert, adaptive cruise control, driver impairment monitor, tyre pressure monitoring system, hill descent control, hill launch control, and front and rear parking sensors.

Upgraded diesel engines with start-stop technology and new electric power assisted steering make the new Ranger quieter, up to 22% more fuel-efficient according to the Ford Motor Company.

The Blue Oval also says that the suspension tuning has been revised for improved ride comfort and handling but still delivers a fun-to-drive vehicle with higher levels of refinement.

The revised Ranger will be sold in more than 180 markets worldwide from its release later this year.

The exterior changes to the Ranger begin with a more muscular hood flows into a strong new trapezoidal grille, while projector headlamps make the truck instantly recognisable, with a technical look says Ford.

It says the updated exterior is combined with a new interior that creates an even more comfortable and car-like environment for the driver and passengers says Ford. Strong horizontal lines run across the width of the cab, giving a sense of openness, and framing the central eight-inch touchscreen. Behind the steering wheel, a new dual-TFT instrument cluster provides drivers with information about the vehicle, as well as entertainment, navigation and climate control details at a glance.

Ford says the driving experience of the revised Ranger is further enhanced by an electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) system. With EPAS, steering is light and manageable for low-speed manouevres, such as parking, and precise at higher speeds – with assistance varying as necessary based on speed, steering wheel angle, cornering forces and acceleration or deceleration. By eliminating the power steering pump used in a traditional hydraulic system, EPAS also results in a quieter vehicle and improves fuel efficiency by about three percent.

Engineers also fitted the new Ranger with advanced sound-deadening materials and improved insulation for greater refinement says Ford.

Upgrades to the 3.2-litre five-cylinder Duratorque turbo diesel engine include an updated exhaust gas recirculation system help to improve fuel efficiency by up to 18%, while still putting out 147 kW of power and 470 Nm of torque.

The newly revised Ranger is also equipped with automatic start/stop technology, which saves fuel by shutting off the engine when the vehicle is idling, such as at a stop light, improving fuel economy by up to 3.5% says Ford. On the move, an available longer final drive ratio boosts fuel economy at highway speeds.

Ford says it will manufacture the new Ranger at its AutoAlliance Thailand facility in Rayong, Thailand for distribution throughout Asia Pacific, its Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, South Africa for distribution in Africa and Europe, and its Pacheco Stamping and Assembly Plant in Argentina for distribution in Latin America.

All New Zealand-bound 2015 Ford Rangers will be sourced from Thailand.

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