4 things Ford Australia are doing differently (and we love it!)

Over the last couple of years, we’ve been privileged to have a partnership with Ford Australia, which has seen us driving two of their vehicles around as general-duty commuters, but also testing them out as tourers, tow tugs and off-road rigs right around the country.

The Ford Everest Trend and Ranger Raptor have served us dutifully and reliably the entire time across anything we’ve thrown at them and truly are impressive vehicles to drive in any conditions. In the last few weeks, I’m sure you’ve all seen a dazzling array of product launches from Ford Australia across the Ranger range and, most recently, what seems to be a pretty exciting new Everest too. Not since the 80’s and 90’s have I seen such exciting new product developments coming to the fore, especially in the off-road space. It’s truly a great time to be a four-wheel-driver.

Everyone’s talking about the tech bits and that’s incredibly exciting, especially the new powertrains. But I reckon from where I’m sitting, we are truly seeing a manufacturer that is doing incredible things for the industry and motoring in Australia that we all may be missing in the exciting glitz and glamour of the products themselves. Ford are truly pioneering in a few ways here and I reckon it deserves to be called out in some more detail.

They are truly listening to feedback

There are so many things to mention here. Let’s start with what I’m most excited about, the powertrains. “2L should only be applicable to milk bottles”, “What’s the point of all that suspension gear if it’s only got a 4 cylinder” etcetera. This sort of commentary was plastered all over the internet and I still get questioned about it when driving either of the cars. A quick moment behind the wheel usually quietens the haters, and I’ve always been of the view that for what we use these vehicles for, which includes towing our Tvan at capacity of 1.5t, the powertrains are more than adequate, even in the Raptor. Ford have announced a turbocharged diesel “Lion” V6 as well as a 400ish-horsepower, twin-turbo petrol donk to sit beside the two-litre four-cylinder diesel, giving us options to suit our needs while responding to the feedback.

Towing: our Everest has a tow capacity of 3100kg, which has never been an issue with what we tow, but there are some that feel the need for more. The Everest with its new powertrain has an increased rating of up to 3500kg. The Ranger Raptor, which, let’s be honest, is not designed be a heavy tow vehicle, can do 2500kg. There’s no news on towing capacity updates for the new Raptor variant but the rest of the Ranger range maintains its tow capacity of 3500 kilos.

They are doubling down on the off-road industry

One thing I noticed in all the media-only sessions and public press releases is a true willingness to build a product that is capable of taking us off road. It’s obviously been thought of in the general DNA being built in. Off-road adventures are what we’re about here at Club 4×4 and we’ve taken these vehicles through everything from sand, mud, long corrugated highways right through to pushing the Everest in situations that a 79-series Land Cruiser was struggling in. Both it and the Ranger Raptor responded to the challenge with confidence and never let us down.

Now, it’s head-in-the-sand stuff to think this isn’t capitalising on a particularly buoyant time in the off-road industry, with thousands of people joining our lifestyle, but the winner is all of us. This willingly progressive strategy from Ford with so much investment in expertise being used right here in Australia is something that we should all be proud of. Auto manufacturing might be dead for the most part in Australia, but it’s great to see Ford using the skills that have been built over so many decades and keeping Aussie automotive engineers busy designing the cars of the future, both for all of us as off-road touring enthusiasts and for the average motorist down under.

Co-designed, manufacturer-backed accessories

We’re yet to hear more about the details on this but, as a result of a partnership between the brands, there will be a large range of products available from ARB, designed and built specifically for the Ranger and Everest models. The benefits here are huge. Accessories are built in consultation during the vehicle design phase but are also backed by Ford’s new vehicle warranty of up to 5 years and unlimited kilometres. It’s expected that you will be able to spec your vehicle with the parts you want at the time of order of your vehicle.

They’re building exciting stuff again

This is a big one for me. There’s much to say about the demise of automotive manufacturing in Australia, I won’t bore you as it’s been done to death, but I am as disappointed as the next hot-blooded bloke. As an all-round motoring enthusiast, it’s good to see Ford backing itself to deliver products that are designed to excite. I’ve been amazed at the Ranger Raptor I’ve been piloting for a couple of years – from capability everywhere, to fit and finish, to the packaging and even the aesthetics; it’s the kind of car that I feel has a “soul”. Having had more time behind the wheel of the Everest over the Christmas break, I can say that that is also a cracking steer on and off-road – with a shorter wheelbase, it’s more responsive and livelier than the Raptor and supremely comfortable as a daily.  Both of these cars had me looking back when I parked it – you know that old saying.

The core of any company’s success is listening to customers and delivering what they want. In a world where motor vehicles just seem to be copies of pieces from others and largely homogenous, I feel like Ford are bucking the trend. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of these new models.

Stay tuned!

Kalen

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Comments 16

  1. I have no doubt that Ford are responding to the 4wding fraternity’s requirements better than all other manufacturers. The others, including Toyota, are playing catch up. But building a great car especially 4wds involves more than providing us with the car. We also need a responsive, extensive dealer network that can provide spare parts in a prompt fashion at a reasonable cost. For example, if you need a replacement power steering system for your Ford Ranger because of an electronic glitch it will require you to ‘request’ this part from Ford. For the privilege of eventually receiving the said part at a time well into the future as determined by Ford, you will be asked to forward them somewhere in the vicinity of $6000. In the meantime your car will be completely impossible to drive. Should this electronic glitch have occurred in a remote location the car would have required rescue by a flat top. There are no bush remedies available for this one. That would have been difficult on my trip to Dragon Tree Soak last year.

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  2. They are not listening. We want a full size wagon with a good payload and 3.5t towing and a decent diesel motor. 2Lt motor can do the job but when you do long hauls with over 3t the EGT and the transmission temps go through the roof. I have serious doubts about longevity. This is why mitsubishi won’t give unlimited klm warranty. It is why there is so many overpriced under equipped Landcruisers on the road they have no competition. I would buy a 4lt V6 ford full size wagon tomorrow

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      Stephen,

      The new Everest and Ranger will have twin turbo diesel V6 engines. The market was saying exactly what youve sid in your comment, and theyve listend and the new model will have a larger more powerful engine.

      On “full size” it depends on your definition. I call and Lancruiser of Y62 Patrol to be full size. But I also have a family with two kids and have toured with the Everest we currently have in our fleet with no real space issue.

      THe new Everest will be slightly larger, but i dont think it could be classed as “full size”.

      K

  3. It is annoying and deceptive when we are told that the Ranger can tow 3500 Kg. If the manufacturers want to advertise that the ranger can tow 3500 kg they need to allow the GVM of the car of 3200kg to be added into the equation and therefore the combination wait of the trailer and car should be 6700 kg not 6000kg. The Ranger can easily and safely tow 6700kg if it is set up correctly by the manufactures and it will be a big seller for the caravan owners.
    Robert

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      Hi Robert,

      I understand what youre saying, but the tow capacity is just that – its about how much it can tow. Not the combined weight.

      Have I misunderstood you?

      Kal

  4. I read with great interest of the new Next-Gen Ford Ranger Raptor and all it’s fine features in particular the Raptor new 3.0 -V6 twin turbo EcoBoost petrol motor. Congratulations to Ford producing this great powerful towing motor. However, my interest is the new forthcoming Everest. If Ford produces the Everest with 3500 kilo tow capacity with the same petrol motor as the Raptor, then I am definitely in the market for my next off road tow vehicle . Not interested in the future of diesel. I don’t really mind waiting for the Everest release later this year so long as Ford in the meantime are continuing to listen to the people and decide to also put this new Raptor motor in the forthcoming Everest. Then I will be satisfied in owning such a great product.

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      David,

      Really interesting that you have a preference for petrol. Im introgued, i have a view both ways but would love to hear your thoughts.

      Kalen

  5. There appears to be a lack of information given to owners of the 6 speed Rangers & Everests in regard to the need to install additional transmission cooling, if the vehicles are used for towing. These vehicles are driving around whilst not towing, with transmission oil temperatures around 98degrees, which is far too high. Towing raises these temperatures significantly. There is a valve in the transmission cooling circuit that doesn’t open until about 95 degrees. Other vehicles do not have such a valve. By replacing the valve with one which is free flowing and also installing a double transmission cooler, temperatures can be dropped to around 65degrees. This will prolong the life of the transmission and is considered essential if towing.

  6. It surprises me today why we have to have so many modifications to these “fantastic”? vehicles. A change in motors is a good example of miss representation with regards towing capacity, not necessarily what we want but what is needed. many young people on U Tube doing the big trips with vans are finding they are overloaded and having problems. the latest have had over heating problems and turbo failures with their Ford. I guess they were lucky to get it fixed so quick as it would be bad publicity on their first weeks on the road?
    Pat’s vehicles have had more sponsored modifications than you can point a stick at. would love to see him driving a standard vehicle if it is so good? the last show I watch, saw them struggling on a track if tackled the right way, and not made to look worse than it probably was by the producer? thing may have been different, could not believe Pat put his son in such a bad situation and set such a bad example even when his son pointed out there was an easier way????? where is the old Pat with all that Mr $x$ experience and good advice? PS this is a 4WD show not MasterChef. PSPS think you missed the point entirely Kalen

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      Gday Alan,

      I can’t really comment for Pat mate, separate business and very different arrangements/usage intents etc etc.

      I also don’t really understand what you mean by change in motor being a misrepresentation of towing capacity, sorry if im not following there.

      My simple view is if you truly understand what you want to use a vehicle for, take your time to research and understand the limitations and set yourself up on that basis, then you’re working within a reasonable realm of vehicle capability. Couple this with mechanical sympathy and generally things will be fine.

      I think a lot of people forget the limits of vehicles, thinking they can load them to the gills then throw on a trailer at too close to capacity (unknowlingly most of the time) which will obviously lead to issues.

      I wonder how many of these people that have issues have actually weighed themselves – total and at an axle level and truly considered the results against their plans before they hit the road?

      Kalen

      1. Kalen I have been driving 4WD for over 50 years so I understand everything I need to know about what I need to do to tow a van or trailer.
        The problem is with all the experts? out there not being independent of sponsors, in promoting these vehicles, people like yourself then trying to blame the buyer for listening to Ford flogging an obviously under powered over worked engine to gain more power, trying to tow as much as specified by their sales brochure? that gives these towing loads?
        Perhaps the reason for the new larger motor now on offer?
        Joe blow thinks he can hook up all this weight as it said he could? Did he get all the detail on the requirement needed to get to that figure. probably not? and the wife needs a dishwasher and washing machine to go camping? Van builders have a responsibility too.
        I don’t think they can forget the things they are not told , I have seen a few good articles lately taking up this issue with this problem, including motor clubs and insurance companies., which is great. Perhaps we should have to have a towing licence.

        I find it unbelievable that one TV show giving away a overdone vehicle, with van and boat etc., has a clause in terms and conditions that states, that the winner is responsible to make sure vehicle complies with all the load requirements that the sponsors loaded up on the said prize?
        Really.

        regards Alan

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          GDay Alan,

          Education is key – thats the gap.

          Weve always taken a very conservative approach to line up with the relevant regulations and also limits for the vehicles. To the point where if you look in the back of our cars there’s no large fitouts etc to add weight, rather undertaking more modular and adjustable setups depending on the sort of trip we’re undertaking. Everything is a compromise, and what I write and we have written about these vehicles has always taken an honest approach, because we can be honest. Again, because we’ve thought through the how and the why before we use the vehicles.

          I agree with all of your sentiments though, which is why we’ve tried really hard to take a different approach as noted above. We are mindful of our setups and the way we do things because of that.

          Thanks for the constructive discussion mate.

          Kalen

  7. Mate you can keep all your high tech junk!! If there is anything that reduces the reliability and longevity of a vehicle it would be high temperatures which of course are a result lousy (irresponsible?) manufacturing and or design. Show me one of these “you beaut” vehicles when it has done a million klm !!
    The 6cyl diesel in my 4wd F-250 still gives me 10 lit per 100 k unloaded and 22 lit per 100k loaded &towing.
    The vehicle has only ever received general maintenance and a slight leak from the rear main is the only indication of its age/use!
    The 5sp manual and the torque from the well matched 6 cylinders is most reassuring and uncomplicated! No need for computerised and complex hot & high rated baby cylinders or worry of overloading or breaking the chassis!! Perhaps a super cab or dual cab F-250 is what the previous gentleman meant when he said “a full sized vehicle”? Not a TOY***!

    1. Hi Lester
      Poor young Kalen will think we are ganging up on Her/Him mate like your point out my old troopy petrol had over 550000 when I move up to an 80 series, mainly for a bit more comfort in my old age, not because of my trucks old age. Will be interesting to see how many of theses bumble bee motors survive more than a few years, but then again maybe that is the point? its all about profit. reason they all left OZ for cheaper lands.
      It will interesting when these poor countries become more affluent, as Japan did, as even they now get a lot of their vehicles built overseas, except the quality ones we old folk still love.
      Can’t say I would ever buy a Ford though after the way my granddaughter’s Territory fell apart.
      Kaden mmmmmmmmmmmmmm all sounds good.

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