THE NEW Ford Ranger Thunder is now available for UK order, to be delivered in late summer.
The Ranger is Europe’s best selling pick-up truck, with Ford selling 52,500 models across the continent last year. More than 16,000 of those were in the UK, meaning that this country makes up nearly a third of its European market. Ford predicts that this year, sales of the Ranger series in the UK will reach 150,000 since its launch in 1998.
Although they are synonymous with the US, pickup trucks are more popular than ever in the UK, used as both business vehicles and daily-use cars. The Ranger faces competition from the Nissan Navara, the Ssangyong Musso and the Volkswagen Amarok.
The higher-spec Thunder model will likely compete with the likes of the Mercedes X-Class, which despite having the same mechanical architecture as the £22,350 Navara, has an OTR price of more than £37,000. The Thunder, at a slightly cheaper £32,965 (excluding VAT), has more horsepower than Mercedes’ base model and the same towing capacity (3.5 tonnes).
The Thunder is a limited edition, with only 1400 editions available for purchase in the UK and a measly 30 for Ireland. It’s based on the Ranger Wildtrak, and comes in a single specification – Sea Grey (presumably a nod to the special edition’s name) with red accents. There are 3D-effect thunder logos on the doors and tailgate.
It comes with the same 10-speed automatic transmission found in Ford’s F-150 pickup and the Mustang. In concert with the four-wheel drive, the transmisson’s wide range of ratios means it can adapt to a variety of off road conditions.
Compared to a lot of its rivals, the Ranger packs a lot more power, and the Thunder is no exception. With a bi-turbo 2.0-litre EcoBlue Diesel Engine, it delivers a respectable 210bhp and 369 pound-feet of torque. Ford says the turbochargers work “in series at lower engine speeds for enhanced torque and responsiveness, and bypassing the smaller turbocharger at higher engine speeds to provide maximum boost from the larger turbocharger for peak power.”
It has 18-inch black alloy wheels exclusive to the model, as well as “Ebony Black” finishings on the front grille, rear bumper, skid plates, fog light surrounds, load bay sports hoop and door handles. The black theme continues on the inside, with black leather seats and floor mats, and red embroidery.