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 …
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.