WHILE MOST of the cars we feature in our ‘Garage’ are our personal old bangers and long-term road-test vehicles owned by the car companies, this ‘newish’ Ford Ranger is actually ours to keep. Yep, the magazine owns it, and we’ll be kitting it out with some awesome gear over the coming months and using it on our adventures.
I say ‘newish’ as it is a 2018 PXII Ranger, but it was a demo model and arrived to us with only 250km on the clock. Basically, it has sat in a Ford dealership just around the corner from our HQ for the past eight months and barely been driven.
WELCOME: Introducing our Project Ranger
So we got a good deal, but it also ticked all of the boxes for us: a 4x4 Ranger with the 3.2-litre engine and manual gearbox were our only prerequisites.
Why a 3.2-litre with a manual transmission? Because that’s my preferred choice of Ranger engine, and I like manual gearboxes. We chose a Ranger because it’s currently the best-selling new 4x4 to private buyers and there’s a shed-load of great accessories available for it.
Before we even drove it off the lot we called Club 4X4 to cover the insurance, and we’ll be updating that policy regularly as more kit goes on the ute. Then it was straight down to our mate Phil at Ontrack Automotive in Ferntree Gully to have a Water Watch pre-filter fitted to catch out any contaminants in the diesel fuel.
With a deadline fast approaching on a Red Centre 4x4 adventure we took the car to the crew at No Limit 4x4 & Outdoor in Dandenong, where they installed an AFN loopless front bumper with full underbody protection plates, as well as a Warn Zeon 10-S winch and a pair of Bushranger Night Hawk LED driving lights.
Just around the corner from No Limit 4x4 is Freeway Car Audio Visual, and the Ranger went there to get a Cel-Fi phone signal booster from Powertec fitted.
SPECIAL EDITION: Ranger Sport lands
Ironman 4x4 fitted a full suspension kit, including its Foam Cell Pro shocks and new forged alloy UCAs, plus a long-range fuel tank for added touring capacity. While it was up on a hoist we bolted on the bronze Wheel Pros KMC Addict 2 alloy wheels wrapped in Maxxis RAZR muddies, which should be tough enough to take on any terrain. They certainly look the part.
With a Rola Titan Tray roof rack up top and a MaxTrax full recovery kit on board, we hit the highway for Alice Springs. We’ll be reviewing these products and more on the Ranger over the next year or so, and it promises to be a lot of fun. We look forward to racking up the miles and bringing you these real-world reviews, so stay tuned.