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Driven - Ford Ranger Thunder

Ford Ranger Thunder
The Ford Ranger Thunder

Quick Facts:

  • Price: From R751 000
  • Engine: 2.0 bi-Turbo diesel engine
  • Transmission: 10-speed Auto
  • Power/Torque: 157kW / 500Nm

By Kumbi Mtshakazi

 
The Ford Ranger is a loved nameplate and trusted bakkie in South Africa so when Ford revealed the Thunder which is based on the Wildtrak in 2020, we could not wait to have it on our driveway. 

So what makes the Ford Ranger Thunder different from the rest of the Ranger lineup, and where does it sit? Well, for starters, the Red nose inserts, side and rear 3D badging stating "Thunder", Ebony Black accents throughout as well as a new-look grille design. There is also a Mountain top load cover with a roller shutter and a load divider. 

Rounding up the exterior exclusivity are the 18-inch black alloy wheels. 

Ford Ranger Thunder
The cabin is nothing short of premium

Inside, distinctive features are also carried over and you will instantly notice the Race red stitching on the leather seats, excellent red stitching on the dashboard, steering wheel and gear lever. Ford has also embroidered Thunder logos into the back of the seats. 

The cabin is nothing short of premium, with soft-touch materials, heated seats, climate control and our personal favourite the banging sound system. The infotainment uses SYNC 3 which is Apple Carplay and Android Auto ready and allows for Bluetooth connectivity. There are also 2 USB ports, a 12V socket, and a 220W plug in the rear, so keeping your phones or any equipment charged will be no hassle. 

Ford Ranger Thunder
There are also 2 USB ports, a 12V socket as well a 220W plug

In terms of the drive, we feel that Ford has mastered the Ranger as a whole from the entry-level XL Sport to their top of the range Raptor, they have made sure that ride comfort is excellent on and off-road and this is something we commend them on. The Ranger Thunder is powered by a 2.0-litre bu-Turbo engine that produces 157kW/500nm and this is more than enough power for the bakkie. The 10-speed automatic transmission works so effortlessly and ensures that the big bakkie returns a healthy fuel economy figure which was another win for us. 

The Ford Ranger Thunder truly impressed during our time with it and we truly understand why it has continued to fill up the roads. A seamless drive with power when you need it. Tough when it needs to be, and soft when needed. All passengers are taken care of. We just hope that the roller shutter will one day become motorised as it was quite difficult for us to open and a bit heavy to close. Otherwise, an impressive product all around. It reminded us of the Ford Everest we spend time with before, we felt that we were driving in an SUV and at times forgot that we are in a bakkie. 

Safety

The Ranger Thunder is equipped with a host of safety systems that come without having to add them on as options. Here are just some of them; 

  • ABS (Anti Lock Braking)
  • EBA (Electronic Braking Assistance)
  • TSC (Traction and Stability Control)
  • Hill-start and Hill-descent control
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Departure Warning and keeping
  • BSM (Blind Spot Monitoring)
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Front and rear PDC (Park Distance Control)
  • Rearview camera
  • 7 airbags and ISOfix in the back 

Pricing

From R751 000

All models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A six-year/90 000km service plan is included, with 15 000km service intervals.

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