6 December 2012

Uganda: Getting Personal With the New Ford Ranger

When the Ford Ranger first came into the country, it was popularised by telecom company MTN. So many were the MTN-branded Rangers that I thought the two companies had struck a deal to promote the car. This of course would make sense because MTN is South African and the car is built in Pretoria.

But with time, ownership of the car has been diversified, thanks to its reliability, simplicity and durability. I remember once when I wanted to buy a first-hand pickup truck, first on my recommendation list was the Ford Ranger.

And now that Cooper Motor Corporation Uganda has unveiled the new Ford Ranger giving it T6 as its new model name, we are bound to see many of these trucks on our roads.

The Ford Ranger T6 model is powered by the latest technology of Duratorq engines, with engine derivatives of 2.2 l (2,198cc) and 3.2 (3,198cc) meaning that these two engines are capable of delivering power that is out of their range while maintaining a reasonable consumption of fuel. The 2.2l averages 12 km/l while the 3.2l averages 9.9 km/l.

When a Ford aficionado allowed me to test-drive his Ranger, I was pleasantly surprised that a car with only a 2.2l engine capacity could allow me to sail through the gut-wrenching bumps as I went up the rough patch of Naguru summit.

As for the interior, Ford went all the way for a comfort feel. The interior feels magnificent for a pickup truck with well-padded seats and door rest, appealing tactile surfaces and seat fabrics. On this one point, the Ranger actually beats the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara.

I'm over six feet and it's rare that I get comfortable in the back seats, but here, I was at home. To add to the car feel, the Ranger has a trendy iPod and MP3 CD audio system.

The 4WD lever has been replaced by a switchable button, meaning you do not have to flex with a gear lever. Instead, you simply turn a knob to engage 4WD. Ford also enhanced the Ranger with Hill-descent control and Hill-start assist.

Hill-descent control helps the car go down a steep slippery section slowly and all you have to do is steer it. The Hill-start assist, on the other hand, helps launch the car on a steep section without it moving back. I was able to try this as I went up Naguru summit and it worked perfect.

The models range from the Base, XL, XLT and Limited grades suitable for diverse pickup application within Uganda. The truck has a recommended service interval of 10,000km and if well maintained (preferably with the professionals at CMC (U) Ltd), it benefits from Ford's manufacturer's warranty of 36 months or 60,000km, whichever comes first.

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