All New Ford Ranger for 2012 and Mazda BT-50
Ford has taken the wraps off its all-new 2012 Ranger at the Australian International Motor Show. The truck was developed at Ford's facility in Melbourne, Australia, and shares its platform with the all-new Mazda BT-50. Both models should be arriving in Thailand next year, and both will be built at the Ford/Mazda facility in Rayong, Thailand.
For this post I'm going to focus on the details for the Ford Ranger, and although the BT-50 will most likely have a few unique tricks, the majority of details are shared between the two sisters. Just to take a moment to comment on the obvious difference between the two, which is in the looks department. Ford's new Ranger is handsome looking and has stuck to a tried and tested truck look which clearly doesn't take any chances. With the BT-50, Mazda have clearly taken a few chances, and the result is something you will probably either love or hate it. I know I have no love for it at all!
Everything! And it's about time. The current Ranger is on a platform that is very old and tired, and has been absolutely monstered by the Nissan Navara, Mitsibushi Triton, and even the Toyota Vigo, which is starting to get old and tired itself. The last series of updates from Ford and Mazda have been cosmetic. This time around we are looking at all-new engines, transmissions, and a larger and we would believe better platform.
Let's start with the engines. When these tucks make it to Thailand (towards the middle of 2011) we can expect at least two engines to choose from. Both are new common rail Ford Duratorq TDCi units. Base models should carry a frugal 2.2-litre TDCi four-cylinder diesel unit with a healthy 150HP and 375Nm of torque, while the 4x4 will likely pack the 3.2-litre TDCi rated at 200HP and 470Nm of torque! The 2.2 will prove popular for commercial use, while the five-cylinder 3.2 unit will probably prove hard for prospective private buyers to pass up.
Both engines will be driven through a 6-speed transmission, either manual, or automatic. This should enable the truck to return quite good economy figures. Like it or not, the 4x4 will come with an electronically controlled selection between 2 and 4 wheel drive modes, and low range selection. Although, as long as this is reliable, I don't really mind.
Now in the realm of nice stuff that might or might not make it to Thailand! Ford is saying that the Ranger will come with a bunch of stuff as standard, including an Electronic Stability Program (ESP) system complete with traction control to all four wheels. It also includes yaw control and roll-over mitigation, as standard. Time will tell how much of that gets stripped out to save a few baht. But for those willing to shell out for a high end truck, the tech on offer will be good, including rear parking assist, and a new Rearview Camera. However, it is the option of side curtain airbags across all cab styles that is most notable. Finally!! Take note Toyota etcetera.
Take a look at the photos of the new Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 below, and then decide if it's worth saving for either one.
Personally, I think the Mazda BT-50 is way overdone! The rear lights just don't look practical enough for a truck, and the same goes for the interior, particularly the centre, which looks great, and very car-like, but just doesn't seem to fit in with the required utility of a truck.