MINE BAKKIE

Ford Ranger derivative Tougher than ever

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Ford have introduced a mine-hardened version of its popular Ranger to the local market. The new variant - the Ranger XL-Plus - is a new entry-level proposition into the line-up while offering a new dimension of toughness to the range. It is of particular interest to mining companies, farmers and other business owners with very specific requirements.

"The Ranger XL-Plus was born out of particular requirements from the mining industry, as well as other business owners whose main concerns were rugged capability and impeccable safety standards," says Mark Kaufman, vice president of marketing, sales and service at FMCSA. "The vehicle is already extremely capable, and big mining companies have committed to using only vehicles that have five-star ENCAP and ANCAP ratings, which Ranger XLT and Wildtrak derivatives boast."

Built at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, following a $1.8 million investment, Ranger XL-Plus is now also exported to other markets such as Australia and New Zealand with mining operations.

With airbags for both the driver and passenger, as well as side impact, curtain, and a driver-side knee airbag, Ranger XL-Plus complies with the safety requirements determined by international mine operators. In addition, it has an optional bullbar designed to work in conjunction with the car's existing safety systems, thus not compromising airbag deployment.

An extensive list of modifications has also been tested to ensure the Ranger XL-Plus will stand up to the harsh environments seen in mining operations and various other heavy duty applications.

External modifications and enhancements include a frame tested for an increased towing load of 3 500kg, an optional heavy duty front bumper, extruded aluminium side steps, front mud flaps, and a lockable fuel filler cap.

Inside and under the skin, the Ranger XL-Plus gains a Crew Chief mounting bracket paired to an expanded wiring harness for accommodating more switches and circuits, a heavy duty second battery, vinyl floor covering, and heavy duty seat covers.

"Modifications developed for the Ranger XL-Plus came from extensive testing in real-world scenarios," says Kaufman. "We took feedback from our clients on what more they need from the Ranger in applications such as mining, and built a version of Ranger that will take a lot more punishment, as well as offer integration with technical equipment used on sites."

Ranger XL-Plus is available in three body styles with two chassis cab models in single and double cab variations, and a double cab model with a load box. Drive comes from the Duratorq 2.2-litre TDCi engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. All models have four-wheel drive and are fitted with an Electronic Locking Rear Differential.

"We're buidling the Ranger XL-Plus locally, meaning we can give our customers a factory-ready version of a vehicle that meets their demands. Modifications for this version of the Ranger can be rolled out during production, so customers don't have to wait for aftermarket customisations," ends Kaufman.

What out for a full review of the latest Ranger in the September/October edition of Mining Prospectus. 

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