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Journeys : Dec2011 Jan2012
First drives Ford Ranger T he blow torch continues to be put on class top-seller Hi-Lux with the next instalment in the twin cab ute war. Ford has released their clean-sheet Ranger and initial drive impressions confirm Toyota has another contender on its hands. Largely designed by Ford Australia designers and engineers, there are almost no carry-over parts from the old model. Typically these days, model changes mean bigger vehicles and Ranger is no exception, growing to a point where it is now around 90% the size of Ford’s US top selling truck the F150. Ford has spent considerable time working on r ide quality and steer ing response, w ith exceptional results both with and without a load – it’s probably a match for V W Amarok in this area. Steering is rack and pinion, quite direct and well-weighted, but does lack road feel. Tow ing capacity for the diesel models is 3350kg and depending on the variant, trailer anti-sway functionality and a load capacity of up to 1500kg are both also available. At the Flinders Ranges launch, the 147kw 370Nm 5-cyl Tdi engine provided plenty of grunt for tackling the 4WD trails, although the huge bonnet did impair v ision a little when the tracks dropped away. I didn’t like the gear-shifter in the manual – it felt a little disjointed from the shifting mechanism and selecting gears was quite notchy. I missed a few gears early on but became used to it after a couple of days. The six- speed auto (the same transmission in the new diesel Territory) is well-calibrated for on and off-road use, and would be my pick before the manual. Fuel consumption for the manual transmission is 8.9L/100km. Initially available only as a crew-cab with five-cylinder TDI engine in either six-speed manual or auto, a smaller 2.2l TDI and 2.5 petrol will be available towards the end of the year, also in single and space cab, standard and hi-line 2WD option in XL, XLT and Wildtrak configuration. The Ranger has full iPod connectivity, Bluetooth phone and streaming and class-leading rear-seat space, although I thought the Amarok shaded it on comfort. Safety is taken care of by a full complement of airbags, Electronic Stability Control, Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist, resulting in a 5-star result, again matching Amarok. Switchable 4WD in high and low range, optional electronically-locking diff, hill-descent assist and hill-hold functionality round out the package. Pricing starts at $46,390 (plus on roads). Add another $2000 for the auto. Expect single cab and space cab variants to be less when they come online later in the year. Darren Moody gets behind the wheel of two very different vehicles Land of the Rising Subi Darren Moody recently travelled to Japan to get a sneak peak at the soon-to-be-released Subaru Impreza XV, as well the sporty new rear-wheel drive BR Z coupe. Have a look online to get his First Drive opinion on the latest Subar us to hit our shores – they'll be here in early 2012. Life on the move 38 December 2011 / January 2012 Pickles Auctions For real peace of mind, purchase an RACT roadworthy inspected vehicle. For a detailed listing and photographs of vehicles visit our website. www.pickles.com.au GOVERNMENT & FLEET VEHICLE AUCTION Fixed Price Sales Saturday 9am to 2pm and Monday 8am to 4.30pm 56 Sunderland Street, Derwent Park 7009 Ph: (03) 6108 8444
Oct Nov 2011
Feb March 2012