BUENAVENTURA, Panama - It was a splashy debut for the all-new Ford Ranger, which impressed media, dealers and major fleets alike with its abilities in water as well as on dry land.
The Ranger was asked to show what it could do both on- and off-road, over rugged terrain and in a series of tests, including climbing a mountain and crossing ponds.
Participants in the recent Central American and the Caribbean media drive put the pickup through its paces and came away impressed, particularly with how it tested against competitive vehicles including the Toyota Hilux and Nissan Navarra. Hoy Digital Autos RD, for example, proclaimed Ranger has the “power and capacity of a leader,” while providing a comfort level more in line with that of a premium SUV than a pickup.
The online publication DiarioSocialRD.com also praised the level of comfort in a work vehicle, its family friendliness and ability to handle obstacles that come its way.
Media also noted Ranger’s five-star rating from the European New Car Assessment Programme, the only pickup with a five-star designation.
Andrew Frick, Ford Export and Growth (E&G) general manager, Asia Pacific and Caribbean and Central America regions, said Ford listened to customers around the world and delivered a vehicle that surpasses expectations. “Ranger was developed by drawing on resources, facilities and expertise from Ford locations globally to deliver an excellent product that will satisfy and exceed customers’ expectations.”
Customer preferences are actually pretty similar from region to region, according to Waldo Galan, Ford International Business Development managing director, Caribbean and Central America. He said the challenge Ford faced in developing the pickup was “building a Ranger that was tough and yet comfortable, rugged yet stylish, safe, technologically advanced and powerful, yet affordable.”
The Ranger has been one of Ford’s leading products in Central America and the Caribbean, and based on the success of the launch is expected to remain a favorite. Ranger will be sold in 180 markets, Frick noted, making it one of the farthest-reaching Ford products in the world.