You are here: Mobility Beat Going Rogue: Can the Ford Ranger Really Replace the Family Car?
While the bakkie may have its origins as a practical work vehicle, the modern iteration has come to represent something far more significant for car buyers today.
The Ford Ranger is not only a phenomenal workhorse - trusted by government departments and primary industry operators globally - but it has also become a lifestyle vehicle of choice for families too.
With boosted levels of comfort, refinement, safety, technology and outright performance, Ranger's move to the mainstream has helped ignite our sense for adventure with a versatile vehicle primed for action.
"Bakkies have long been the backbone of industry," says Dale Reid, Product Marketing Manager at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. "But they've also become exciting family vehicles as well. Whether it's as a fun vehicle for weekends away, or for carrying gear and equipment around town, the bakkie says a lot about its owner. It says they're prepared for anything."
But what is it about the Ford Ranger that makes it the perfect replacement for the traditional family car? We've outlined five ways the Ranger makes transitioning from a family sedan to a bakkie that much smoother.
Ranger comes pre-loaded with an exceptional safety package that combines traditional safety features with innovative, state-of-the-art driver assist technologies on the range-topping Wildtrak derivatives. This includes features such as Pre-Collision Mitigation System with Pedestrian Detection which is incredibly helpful in heavy traffic situations. The system works at speeds over 3.6km/h and is designed to detect if the car in front has unexpectedly stopped or if a pedestrian steps into the roadway. The system will automatically apply the brakes if you don't.
The Ranger Wildtrak also features Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist, which uses sensors to monitor road markings and detect whether you appear to be moving out of your lane unintentionally. If you happen to accidentally drift out of your lane, the steering wheel will vibrate to warn you. If you don't return to your lane, the system will automatically help guide the Ranger back into its lane.
Ranger also comes with up to seven airbags on the Double Cab XLT and Wildtrak models, which includes side and curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag, along with a reinforced safety cell to ensure every journey is a safe one. Ranger's elevated driving position and adjustable seats also give drivers a better view of the road ahead than they may otherwise get when driving a family car.
Bakkies may have humble origins, but they are now designed to be far more refined and more like sport utility vehicles (SUVs) than in the past. This is thanks to more upmarket and spacious cabins with outstanding refinement and intricate details that give them a more sophisticated feel.
Inside the Ford Ranger, the priority is space, comfort and functionality. With plenty of head and leg room in the back, the Ranger can comfortably fit a family of five for a weekend getaway. For added convenience, the Ranger's large doors and positioning of the rear pillar make it easier to get in and out of the vehicle.
The Ford Ranger not only feels like a luxury vehicle, but it drives like one too. Thanks to a high-strength steel chassis and an upgraded suspension system, the Ranger's smooth and quiet on-road manners make the long drive a pleasant experience.
It's easy to drive
People fall in love with the Ranger because it is so easy to drive. The electric power-assisted steering is nicely weighted, and the commanding driving position guarantees that the view ahead is clear and uncluttered. Primary controls are laid out logically, and the quality materials help to elevate the look and feel of the interior.
Smart Keyless Entry and Push-Button Start means you can unlock the bakkie and start it without taking your keys out of your pocket.
At over five metres long (5 359mm) and almost two metres wide (1 850mm), you may think the Ranger would be difficult to thread into a parking space, but its integrated rear-view camera displays virtual lines to help you park into the smallest of spaces. The camera activates automatically when you select reverse gear. And, if you'd like a little help, the Ranger Wildtrak's Active Park Assist with Parallel Parking not only finds the right sized parking space, but also automatically steers itself in for a perfect park while you simply take care of the throttle and brake work.
It goes everywhere
With an electronic shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system, impressive front and rear clearance angles and an electronic diff lock, Ranger's go-anywhere ability is truly exceptional. The 4x4 low-range is designed to tackle exceptionally challenging terrain, while Hill Descent Control automatically applies braking, as needed, to slow the vehicle to a set speed in off-road downhill conditions. This is complemented by Hill Launch Assist that ensures smooth pull-offs on even the steepest gradients. This, coupled with an impressive wading depth of 800mm, means there's very little that stands between you and your destination.
Ranger will not only get you to where you want to go, but it'll help carry your gear there too. The load compartment can take up to 1.2 tons of gear and equipment, while Ranger's maximum towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons means you can pack everything you need for the long haul. Trailer Sway Control is incorporated to ensure greater stability and control when towing.
Range-topping Ranger models come standard with the kind of technology you'll find in luxury cars. Adaptive Cruise Control monitors the road and traffic ahead and adjusts your cruising speed accordingly. On the XLT and Wildtrak models, SYNC®3 with Navigation, voice control and an eight-inch touchscreen gives you hands-free control of your phone, climate control and more, meaning you're able to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road ahead. Built-in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity guarantees that you have access to your favourite smartphone apps too, whether it's listening to music, podcasts or audio books, or using other innovative features such as Waze and Google Maps.