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Tech takes Ford Ranger
to SA Car of the Year

A bakkie wins the contest for the first time, thanks to its advanced technology, writes SHERYL GOLDSTUCK.

The next-gen Ford Ranger has become the first pickup truck to take the overall prize in the South African Car of the Year competition, helped along by its a level of tech we’ve never before seen in a bakkie. It also took the Double Cab category, again thanks to its advanced gadgetry. 

The next-gen Ford Everest won second place overall, as well as the Adventure SUV category.

The Ranger was cited by the judging panel for its cutting-edge technology and safety features, powerful engines, and driving experience. 

The win follows an investment of US$1-billion into the Silverton Vehicle Assembly Plant in Pretoria to boost production to 720 vehicles a day, and a R600-million investment into the Struandale Engine Plant in Gqeberha to expand its engine programme. 

Production of the Ranger takes place at both plants – the engines are built in Gqeberha before being shipped to Silverton.

We had the chance to test-drive the new Ranger when it was launched in South Africa in December, and were captivated by the technology.

It had the feel of a major step forward for the pick-up truck category, and its cutting-edge technology played a pivotal role in this advancement. Ford incorporated an array of features that enhance comfort, safety, and capability to an unprecedented degree, especially for a bakkie.

Among the standout technological innovations  is the SYNC 4A infotainment system. It stands head and shoulders above its predecessor, SYNC 3, thanks to its larger touchscreen, intuitive interface, and  range of features. Most happily, it supports wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing seamless integration of smartphone and infotainment system.

Safety takes centre stage with the introduction of the Ford Co-Pilot360 safety suite in the Ranger. An assortment of driver-assist features includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Beyond SYNC 4A and Ford Co-Pilot360, noteworthy tech upgrades include a premium 12-speaker B&O sound system, wireless charging pad, and a power tailgate.

All in all, the next-gen Ford Ranger is in a class of its own for a pickup truck with the latest technology.

The Ford team celebrating, from left: Doreen Mashinini, Londeka Mkhize, Dale Reid, Vanessa Terblanche, Minesh Bhagaloo, and Neale Hill, president of Ford SA.

The category winners in this year’s South African Car of the Year competition are:

Compact Family Category:       BAIC Beijing X55

Midsize Category:                         KIA Sportage          

Premium Category:                      KIA Sorento

Adventure SUV Category:          Ford Everest

Double Cab 4×4 Category:        Ford Ranger

Luxury Category:                          Mercedes Benz S-Class

Performance Category:              Audi RS 3

New-energy Category:               Volvo XC 40 P8 Recharge

2023 SA Car of the Year:             Ford Ranger Double Cab 4×4

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