There is some thunder rolling out of the Ford plant in Pretoria and the fact the company chose comedian Jason Goliath to help with the online launch of the Ranger Thunder seems pretty apt.
Based on the Ford Ranger Wildtrak, the new Thunder is a limited edition model that gets a design kit, while the standard specification on almost the entire Ranger line-up is bolstered with LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights and front fog lamps as standard on the new Ranger Thunder and on all XLT, Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor derivatives.
Ford’s Connected Touch Radio (CTR) with an eight-inch touchscreen replaces the smaller four-inch display and entry-level SYNC1 system previously fitted to XLS models. The CTR infotainment system is available as an option on the XL derivatives, which also gain practical side steps as an optional extra.
“As the winner of the 2020 International Pick-up Award, the locally assembled Ford Ranger is proudly one of South Africa’s most popular vehicles, and continues to set the benchmark for style, luxury and a vast array of technologies that enhance driving convenience as well as safety,” says Doreen Mashinini, General Manager Marketing at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA).
“We are delighted to add the exciting new limited-edition Ranger Thunder which adds a sportier and even more exclusive dimension to what is already one of the pickup segment’s front-runners. There are also several enhancements to the already impressive list of standard features on XLS and XLT models, which gives customers even greater value for money, as well as improved driving safety,” Mashinini adds.
Numerous distinctive design features are unique to the Ranger Thunder, starting with a revised honeycomb-style front grille incorporating red accents for the side ‘nostrils’ that is complemented by black detailing for the side mirror housings, and three-dimensional ‘Thunder’ nomenclature at the base of the front doors and on the rear tailgate.
The new 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels are finished in black and the integrated sports hoop fitted as standard on Wildtrak models now gains a red insert.
Seats, dashboard, steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake shrouds now feature striking red contrast stitching in place of the orange used on the Wildtrak. New front leather seats have been fitted, featuring bold ‘Thunder’ decals embroidered in red.
Aside from the visual enhancements, the Ranger Thunder benefits from numerous practical additions in the load compartment too, including a lockable ‘Mountain Top’ black roller shutter to safely secure goods being carried. There is also a cargo area management system with a bed divider that allows the owner to easily compartmentalise the available space for securely holding different-sized items.
Ranger Thunder models are exclusively available in Sea Grey, Frozen White, Absolute Black and Moondust Silver.
As with the Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor, the Thunder is powered by the 2,0-litre Bi-Turbo engine which produces 157 kW and 500 Nm, and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
On the Ranger Wildtrak, the list of factory-fitted options has been expanded to include the roller shutter for the rear load box, along with the new black finish for the 18-inch double-spoke alloy wheels.
Safety technology include Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) that uses a combination of radar and camera systems along with new software to detect pedestrians, as well as stationary and moving objects.
Additional features available on the Ranger Thunder include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid.
Ranger Thunder also benefits from Ford’s Semi-Automatic Parallel Park Assist (SAPPA), which takes the hassle out of parallel parking manoeuvres by using ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers that search for parking spaces that are big enough to park the vehicle and alerts the driver when a suitable spot is found.
All models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a 4-year/120 000 km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and 5-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A 6-year/90 000 km service plan is included, with 15 000 km service intervals.