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A Ford-approved performance kit from Roush and styling upgrade for your Ranger – what’s not to like?

It's a great time to be a bakkie lover. Over the past few years, the market has grown in leaps and bounds, with a plethora of new additions from Volkswagen, Fiat and Mercedes-Benz. We’ve also seen the rise of the luxury bakkie, with the Amarok V6 and the X-Class vying for the attentions of traditionally SUV shoppers.

 

Together with this newfound prevalence of premium fare, companies offering aftermarket accessories and tuning options have sprung up across the country. And no bakkie has been subject to more tweaking and enhancing than Ford’s Ranger, which in its standard form is our reigning Top 12 Best Buys champion. Just drive round the country and the number of individualised Rangers you spot is astounding.


Accredited Ford tuner, Roush, has obviously paid attention to this demand and recently released three states of tune, all warranty-compliant, for any
3,2-litre, five-cylinder Ford Ranger derivative. The company also offers high-performance Mustangs, of which one took part in our Performance Shootout 2017.


Stage 1 (RS1) of the Roush Ranger kit comprises only exterior changes and some interior upgrades, and costs R145 000. RS2 (R210 000) adds performance upgrades pushing engine outputs up from 147 kW/470 N.m to 170 kW/550 N.m, plus exterior additions such as side stripes and a Roush grille.
Roush Ford Ranger



However, the RS3 tested here (R265 000) is where it gets really interesting, harnessing even more power (with a little help from an upgraded turbo impeller, amongst other things) for a total of 190 kW/650 N.m, as well as uprated springs and shocks, and new discs and pads on the front brakes. Inside, Roush adds revised leather seats that look different to the standard units thanks to a honeycomb-like stitching pattern.

There is no denying the Roush Ranger RS3 appears imposing and demands attention on the road (especially when it’s painted black and you spot those additional LED elements in your rear-view mirror). It stands 35 mm higher, too, thanks to new springs at the front and revised dampers all-round.

Apart from our standard road-test procedure, we completed more than a thousand kilometres in the Roush through the Karoo on a variety of tarmac and gravel roads. To make it more interesting, we took along our Amarok V6 long-termer as a point of comparison (as we did when we tested the Mercedes-Benz X250d).
Roush Ford Ranger

 

One thing immediately stood out: the new dampers and springs afford the Ranger a more planted feel, both in a straight line and while cornering, where the body rolls noticeably less than is the case with the standard Ranger. It doesn’t come at the expense of ride comfort, either; while the RS3 can’t match the Amarok for overall comfort, it’s still one of the more comfortable leisure bakkies out there. Fortunately, despite the upgrades, the Roush RS3 can still carry a 938 kg payload.

 

Some of the additions are a little less successful. While the large exhaust tips are neatly integrated into the bumper and look purposeful, the sound they emit is no more than a slight amplification of the standard Ranger’s exhaust note.

 

On our test strip, it was clear the Roush is a faster bakkie than the Ranger 3,2, but the difference in performance may not be quite as pronounced as some buyers would hope. Whereas the standard bakkie hits 100 km/h in 11,52 seconds, the Roush manages 9,84 seconds. By comparison, the Amarok V6 is two seconds quicker. In terms of in-gear acceleration, the Roush is between 0,2 and 0,8 seconds swifter than the standard Ranger across the various 20 km/h increments.

 

Interestingly, the upgraded brakes made no difference during braking and our recorded times were actually worse than on the Wildtrak – a 3,21-second average versus 3,55 seconds for the Roush. The latter is 85 kg heavier but that difference should have been negated by the uprated brakes. We can only assume this test vehicle had a hard 8 000 km under its belt…
UPINGTON, Northern Cape – Does the average South African bakkie-buyer really need the ability to blast along off-road terrain at breakneck speeds? Or string together drift after dirt-flinging drift? Or, indeed, jump the vehicle off a gravel-road crest at 120+ km/h without fear of the underpinnings positively disintegrating upon landing?

Almost certainly not. Although many probably want that ability. And now they can have it.

Yes, the locally built Ford Ranger Raptor has finally hit the market in South Africa (read our pricing story here and our international driving impression here), with the Blue Oval brand billing its beefed-up bakkie as downright peerless when it comes to high-speed off-roading talent. And, after spending many hours subjecting the aggressively styled newcomer to numerous tests over various unpaved surfaces – from the soft sand of the dunes to the brittle surfaces of a salt pan – it’s safe to say that’s more than mere marketing talk.



Thanks to an army of bespoke under-the-skin items (check out our in-depth technical article to see exactly what it took to design and build this vehicle), including a strengthened chassis frame, uprated brakes, high-performance Fox dampers and a new coil-over rear suspension set-up featuring an integrated Watt’s linkage (the latter noticeably reducing body lean through fast bends), the Raptor-badged model boasts a level of off-road talent that is simply streets ahead of any other straight-from-the-factory bakkie currently offered in our market.

Add a comprehensive “terrain management system” – which offers six driving modes in the form of normal and sport (for on-road use) plus grass/gravel/snow, mud/sand, rock and Baja (for off-road use) – that allows powertrain characteristics and the level of electronic assistance to be varied, and you have something not too far from a fully fledged off-road racer.

Of course, what’s not so racy is the oil-burning four-banger Ford opted to drop over the front axle. The 2,0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbodiesel unit (offering 157 kW and 500 N.m) has been at the centre of heated discussion since the reveal of the Ranger Raptor back in February 2018, with many enthusiasts suggesting a couple more cylinders would have been more fitting for a vehicle developed under the Ford Performance banner.



Granted, on tarmac the Ranger Raptor doesn’t accelerate particularly quickly from standstill (in fact, Ford has made a point of not mentioning the Silverton-built Raptor’s claimed 0-100 km/h sprint time in its press material ... but it’s 10,5 seconds, if you were wondering), so those hoping it will keep up with the likes of the Volkswagen Amarok V6 and Mercedes-Benz X350d from light to light will be bitterly disappointed. And it’s also a little irksome this very engine can be ordered in the Ranger Wildtrak (and even the Everest), too.

But seldom during my time with the Ranger Raptor off-road did I find myself thinking more grunt would have been useful (and not once when rally ace Gareth Woolridge had me holding my breath and bracing for impact as he attacked obstacle after obstacle during a punishing hot lap across varied terrain). And that leaves me feeling the Struandale-assembled engine is at the very least sufficient for high-speed off-road action.

The 10-speed automatic transmission, too, does a fine job of selecting the appropriate cog for most driving situations (magnesium paddle-shifters ship standard, but seem superfluous here), with the final couple of ratios further settling what is already a pleasingly hushed diesel engine when on the long road.



The specially developed BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres (in 285/70 R17 size) under those menacingly flared arches, meanwhile, not only come to the party in the rough stuff, but also help deliver an almost plush ride quality on tarmac, despite an aggressive tread pattern. Ultimately, the generously specced Raptor is certainly usable as an everyday on-road vehicle, although its considerable width sees it spilling from the average parking bay.

While the bold exterior styling (only amplified by the lofty 283 mm ground clearance and 150 mm wider tracks) makes the Raptor easily distinguishable from lesser Ranger derivatives, inside the differences are not quite as marked. The most obvious upgrade to the cabin is the fitment of model-specific sports seats offering a handy mix of comfort and support, while more subtle changes include blue stitching, a freshened-up instrument cluster and a red top-centre marker on the leather-clad tiller. Frustrating, however, the steering column is still missing reach adjustment, which makes it difficult to lock in the perfect driving position.

The Ranger Raptor is a particularly interesting addition to a local off-road market that generally focuses on low-speed, technical jaunts off the beaten track. The newcomer, by contrast, offers high-speed thrills away from the asphalt, flattering drivers with even limited skill or experience. Still, I can’t help but feel the majority of Ranger Raptors sold in SA won’t ever see the sort of terrain for which this vehicle has been been expressly designed.



Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me if a healthy chunk end up being bought on looks alone, with buyers perfectly content to sacrifice towing capacity (which drops to 2 500 kg) and payload (reduced to 607 kg) at the altar of a highly sophisticated suspension arrangment that will seldom see anything more rural than an immaculately graded gravel road.

Of course, there's an argument to be made that Ford could have simply slapped an aggressive body kit onto a standard Ranger (and perhaps thrown in a smidgen more under-bonnet oomph), with the result likely to sell in significant numbers while requiring far less-intensive development (and thus a mere fraction of the investment that went into the Raptor). But those who get the chance to experience this machine at maximum attack off the beaten track will be glad this isn’t the case.

So, back to that original question: does the typical bakkie-owner really need this level of off-road wherewithal? Well, does the average supercar driver need the ability to reach licence-losing speeds? The answer to both is “no”, but (in each case) that doesn’t mean they don’t want it...
UPINGTON, Northern Cape – Does the average South African bakkie-buyer really need the ability to blast along off-road terrain at breakneck speeds? Or string together drift after dirt-flinging drift? Or, indeed, jump the vehicle off a gravel-road crest at 120+ km/h without fear of the underpinnings positively disintegrating upon landing?

Almost certainly not. Although many probably want that ability. And now they can have it.

Yes, the locally built Ford Ranger Raptor has finally hit the market in South Africa (read our pricing story here and our international driving impression here), with the Blue Oval brand billing its beefed-up bakkie as downright peerless when it comes to high-speed off-roading talent. And, after spending many hours subjecting the aggressively styled newcomer to numerous tests over various unpaved surfaces – from the soft sand of the dunes to the brittle surfaces of a salt pan – it’s safe to say that’s more than mere marketing talk.



Thanks to an army of bespoke under-the-skin items (check out our in-depth technical article to see exactly what it took to design and build this vehicle), including a strengthened chassis frame, uprated brakes, high-performance Fox dampers and a new coil-over rear suspension set-up featuring an integrated Watt’s linkage (the latter noticeably reducing body lean through fast bends), the Raptor-badged model boasts a level of off-road talent that is simply streets ahead of any other straight-from-the-factory bakkie currently offered in our market.

Add a comprehensive “terrain management system” – which offers six driving modes in the form of normal and sport (for on-road use) plus grass/gravel/snow, mud/sand, rock and Baja (for off-road use) – that allows powertrain characteristics and the level of electronic assistance to be varied, and you have something not too far from a fully fledged off-road racer.

Of course, what’s not so racy is the oil-burning four-banger Ford opted to drop over the front axle. The 2,0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbodiesel unit (offering 157 kW and 500 N.m) has been at the centre of heated discussion since the reveal of the Ranger Raptor back in February 2018, with many enthusiasts suggesting a couple more cylinders would have been more fitting for a vehicle developed under the Ford Performance banner.



Granted, on tarmac the Ranger Raptor doesn’t accelerate particularly quickly from standstill (in fact, Ford has made a point of not mentioning the Silverton-built Raptor’s claimed 0-100 km/h sprint time in its press material ... but it’s 10,5 seconds, if you were wondering), so those hoping it will keep up with the likes of the Volkswagen Amarok V6 and Mercedes-Benz X350d from light to light will be bitterly disappointed. And it’s also a little irksome this very engine can be ordered in the Ranger Wildtrak (and even the Everest), too.

But seldom during my time with the Ranger Raptor off-road did I find myself thinking more grunt would have been useful (and not once when rally ace Gareth Woolridge had me holding my breath and bracing for impact as he attacked obstacle after obstacle during a punishing hot lap across varied terrain). And that leaves me feeling the Struandale-assembled engine is at the very least sufficient for high-speed off-road action.

The 10-speed automatic transmission, too, does a fine job of selecting the appropriate cog for most driving situations (magnesium paddle-shifters ship standard, but seem superfluous here), with the final couple of ratios further settling what is already a pleasingly hushed diesel engine when on the long road.



The specially developed BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres (in 285/70 R17 size) under those menacingly flared arches, meanwhile, not only come to the party in the rough stuff, but also help deliver an almost plush ride quality on tarmac, despite an aggressive tread pattern. Ultimately, the generously specced Raptor is certainly usable as an everyday on-road vehicle, although its considerable width sees it spilling from the average parking bay.

While the bold exterior styling (only amplified by the lofty 283 mm ground clearance and 150 mm wider tracks) makes the Raptor easily distinguishable from lesser Ranger derivatives, inside the differences are not quite as marked. The most obvious upgrade to the cabin is the fitment of model-specific sports seats offering a handy mix of comfort and support, while more subtle changes include blue stitching, a freshened-up instrument cluster and a red top-centre marker on the leather-clad tiller. Frustrating, however, the steering column is still missing reach adjustment, which makes it difficult to lock in the perfect driving position.

The Ranger Raptor is a particularly interesting addition to a local off-road market that generally focuses on low-speed, technical jaunts off the beaten track. The newcomer, by contrast, offers high-speed thrills away from the asphalt, flattering drivers with even limited skill or experience. Still, I can’t help but feel the majority of Ranger Raptors sold in SA won’t ever see the sort of terrain for which this vehicle has been been expressly designed.



Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me if a healthy chunk end up being bought on looks alone, with buyers perfectly content to sacrifice towing capacity (which drops to 2 500 kg) and payload (reduced to 607 kg) at the altar of a highly sophisticated suspension arrangment that will seldom see anything more rural than an immaculately graded gravel road.

Of course, there's an argument to be made that Ford could have simply slapped an aggressive body kit onto a standard Ranger (and perhaps thrown in a smidgen more under-bonnet oomph), with the result likely to sell in significant numbers while requiring far less-intensive development (and thus a mere fraction of the investment that went into the Raptor). But those who get the chance to experience this machine at maximum attack off the beaten track will be glad this isn’t the case.

So, back to that original question: does the typical bakkie-owner really need this level of off-road wherewithal? Well, does the average supercar driver need the ability to reach licence-losing speeds? The answer to both is “no”, but (in each case) that doesn’t mean they don’t want it...

Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Leather upholstery: Standard
  • Seats quantity: 5
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Climate control automatic air conditioning: Standard
  • Cup bottle holders: front + rear
  • Lumbar support adjustment: driver
  • Front armrests: Standard
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Traction control: Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Driver knee airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Curtain airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 7
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings: outer rear
  • Start stop button: Standard
  • Hillstart assist hillholder: Standard
  • Alloy wheelsrims: Standard
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • Navigation: Standard
  • Cruise control: Standard
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • Voice control: Standard
  • CD player: Standard
  • Aux in auxiliary input: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: front + rear
  • Central locking: keyless
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Key less access start hands free key: Standard
  • Electric windows: front + rear
  • Rain sensor auto wipers: Standard
  • Auto dim interior mirror: Standard
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Daytime driving running lights: Standard
  • Light sensor auto on off lights: Standard
  • Frontfog lamps lights: Standard
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Camera for park distance control: rear
  • Towbar trailer hitch: Standard
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: diesel
  • Fuel range average: 976 km
  • Driven wheels: rear
  • Driven wheels quantity: 2
  • Gearratios quantity: 6
  • Gearshift: automatic
  • Transmission type: automatic
  • Diff lock: rear
  • Front tyres: 265/65 R17
  • Reartyres: 265/65 R17
  • Spare wheel size full: Standard
  • Length: 5354 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1860-2163 mm
  • Height: 1851 mm
  • Wheel base: 3220 mm
  • Ground clearance minimum maximum: 237 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 12.7 m
  • Approach angle: 25.5
  • Break over ramp angle: 18.5
  • Departure angle: 21.8
  • Wading/fording (water crossing) depth: 800
  • Gross weight (GVM): 3200 kg
  • Towing capacity - unbraked: 750
  • Towing capacity - braked: 3500
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 80l
  • Fuel consumption average: 8.2 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 216g/km
  • Power maximum: 147 kW
  • Power maximum total: 147 kW
  • Power peak revs: 3000 r/min
  • Torque maximum: 470 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 1500-2750 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 470 Nm
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 3198 cc
  • Engine size: 3.2l
  • enginedetailshort: 3.2TD
  • Engine + detail: 3.2 turbo diesel
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 5
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i5
  • Cam: dohc
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 20
  • Turbocharger: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 4
  • Warranty distance (km): 120000 km
  • Service plan: Standard
  • Service plan time (years): 6
  • Service plan time (distance): 90000 km
  • Roadside assistance time: 3
  • Service interval (distance): 15000 km
  • Service interval (time): 1
  • Brand: Ford
  • Status: c
  • Segment: LCV
  • MMcode: 22032933
  • MMVariant: RANGER 3.2TDCi XLT A/T P/U D/C
  • MMintrodat: 2019-03-18
  • Introdate: 2019-04-08
  • DuoportarecordID: FordRang3Fd81

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Ford Ranger 3.2TDCi double cab Hi-Rider XLT auto for sale in East London from one of Carmag.co.za's apporoved car dealerships
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