Ranger responds to ute rivals with even more models for 2021
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It’s been a weird year but still a big year for utes, with Toyota, Isuzu and (soon) Mazda all pitching in with new product – including models targeted specifically at the more specialised versions of the Ford Ranger that have proved so popular.
How does Ford feel about all of this? “We don’t take our commercial leadership for granted,” says Ford New Zealand managing director Simon Rutherford.
“We’ve got D-Max coming, we’ve got BT-50 – competent trucks, but we’re making sure we’re still one step ahead.”
That’ll be with yet more new variations on the Ranger theme for 2021. We’ve already reported on the Wildtrak X (pictured top), and the FX4 Max (above) that’s arriving in January.
“It [FX4 Max] bridges the gap between the full Raptor, where there’s a towing compromise because of the suspension setup, and this which gets the Fox shocks but maintains 3.5-tonne towing.”
But Ford also plans to spice up the mainstream Ranger by bringing the 2.0l biturbo engine and 10-speed transmission option down to the XLT model, along with a new grille.
The time is right, says Rutherford: “I think when we introduced that powertrain we were conscious that the reaction might be ‘Oh, it’s only a 2.0’. But we’re past that now and it’s well accepted, although there are still some diehard 3.2 fans out there. And we get that.
“So we’re not taking anything away; it’ll be like Wildtrak where you can have the 3.2 or the 2.0l.”
Pricing is yet to be announced, but we’d expect a $1000 premium for the biturbo – like there is with Wiltrak.
“This is our lowest-emitting engine [for Ranger],” says Rutherford. “But we believe it’s also our best engine and it’s our most powerful. So we want to make sure that in our mainstream model, we have the most powerful product that we can deliver.”
There will also be yet another change for Wildtrak in 2021 – a bit more exterior dressing for the 2.0l biturbo model.
It’s all designed to keep the Ranger on the boil as we headed towards an all-new model, possibly later in 2021, that has been co-developed with Volkswagen.
There’s more to Ford light commercials than Ranger. Adding a bit more flair to the Transit van has worked well in NZ, so Ford is planning to add a similar Sport package to the Double Cab in Van (DCiV) model for 2021.
“We know that’s a really cool product and they’ll be arriving at the start of the year.”