Test Drives

2019 Ford Ranger Review: Five Things You May Not Know



Our former industry insider lifts the lid on five interesting facts about the Ford Ranger pickup truck

Text & Photos: Ben Chia

SINGAPORE

Among the crack CarBuyer writing team, Ju-Len has the most experience (read: old), Derryn is the resident technical monkey, and Jon Lim is the in-house young boy racer. But there’s only one of us who has worked in an actual car company, and that is yours truly.

Having spent a year working for Ford Motor Company, I’ve managed to gain some fascinating insights into the inner workings of a major automotive carmaker. I also got to work on a handful of car models from the brand, one of which is the Ford Ranger pickup truck you see here, and it makes for a neat opportunity to reveal some lesser known interesting tidbits. You don’t get this at other publications…

1. Singapore-bound Rangers come from a faraway land

If you know a little bit about the automotive industry in our region, you’ll know that Thailand is basically the regional manufacturing hub for many car brands. Ford is no exception, and it produces the Ranger (as well as other models like the Focus and Everest) at its Rayong plant for many markets across Asia-Pacific.

However, the Rangers we get here do not originate from the Land of Smiles. Instead, they actually hail all the way from South Africa. In fact, Singapore is the only country in the Asia-Pacific region to get the Ranger from Ford’s South African factory, which supplies the vehicle for Europe and the rest of the African continent.

The actual reason for this is unclear, but it could be something to do with brand image perhaps.

2. It has a fairly interesting (and old) engine

Powering the Ranger is a 3.2-litre turbo diesel engine that produces 200hp and 470Nm of torque. Fairly ordinary numbers for what is seemingly a fairly ordinary truck, but the Ranger’s powerplant actually has something in common with hot hatch luminaries such as the Audi RS 3, and Ford’s very own Focus RS.

Yes, it is a five-pot. But while it shares its cylinder count with some iconic performance cars, that’s where the similarities end. The Ranger’s engine is built more for utility, and there is a distinctly industrial feel to its machinations. The generous torque gives the Ranger a decent slug of forward motion, but it never feels urgent or eager, and matters are certainly not helped by the antiquated six-speed automatic transmission.

Just as well then, since this is a commercial vehicle anyway, so you’re legally limited to just 70km/h on our roads. You get the sense that the engine is made to lug heavy loads rather than get you into trouble with the Traffic Police.

This particular engine is also fairly ancient, having been around since 2006, which accounts for its rather poor emissions rating (231g/km), although as a commercial vehicle it is exempted from VES penalties. Having said that, overseas markets get a more modern 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel with 210hp and 500Nm of torque, mated to a 10-speed automatic, which should very much help with efficiency.

3. It can be as car-like as you want (but not here)

Given its status as a workman’s vehicle, it’s no surprise that equipment levels for the Ranger are fairly sparse. Modern goodies include cruise control, electric driver’s seat, a reverse camera, and…that’s about it really. It’s very much a back-to-basics vehicle for the no-frills customer, although it does have Apple CarPlay, which is pretty neat.

But that’s just how the car is specced for Singapore, given its target market. In other countries, pickup trucks like the Ranger often double as personal vehicles, and as such they can be specced up to the gills like any other modern car.

Here’s a simple, non-exhaustive list of features that is available for the Ranger overseas: autonomous emergency braking, semi-automatic park assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and keyless entry with engine push start button.

Of course, having those features here will drive up the cost of the vehicle significantly, so there is probably good reason for the local Ranger’s lean equipment list.

4. There’s a crazy off-road bashing version (that’s not actually very fast)

Enthusiasts will probably know this already, but last year, Ford unveiled the Ranger Raptor, an off-road bashing monster that will beat into submission everything that stands in its way. Imagine a Ranger with everything turned up to 11, and that’s essentially the Ranger Raptor for you.

While the Ranger Raptor is quite an impressive off-road machine that can take on the wild like few others can, thanks to some highly advanced suspension work and chassis tuning, it is not quite the performance vehicle that its image suggests.

It uses the same 210hp 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine found in the regular Ranger overseas, and 0-100km/h comes up in a fairly dismal 10.5 seconds, with a top speed of only 170km/h. Suffice to say, the Ranger Raptor is arguably more suited to the Australian Outback than the North South Highway.

5. The Ranger is incredibly popular across Asia

Clearly, a vehicle like the Ford Ranger isn’t expected sell in big numbers here, given its limited local appeal. But it’s a vastly different story across the Asia-Pacific region. In many of our neighbouring countries, the Ranger is a massive money maker for Ford, often ranking quite high up in the best sellers list.

The Ranger is the best selling pickup truck in Vietnam, Taiwan, Cambodia and Myanmar, and ranks a close second in Thailand, Australia and The Philippines (behind the mighty Toyota Hilux). In New Zealand, it is even the best selling vehicle in the country, period. That’s a lot of trucks, and genuinely quite some achievement.

Ford Ranger 3.2 XLT DualCab

Engine 3,198cc, inline 5, turbo diesel
Power 200hp at 3000rpm
Torque 470Nm at 2500rpm
Gearbox 6-speed automatic 
0-100km/h 10.4 seconds 
Top Speed 175km/h
Fuel Efficiency 8.8L/100km
VES Band / CO2 NA / 231g/km
Agent Regent Motors
Price S$124,888 with COE
Availability Now

about the author

avatar
Ben Chia
He once belonged here, and then he went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world.