Ford upgrades popular Ranger ute

The Blue Oval’s tradie chariot has been one of the most popular vehicles in the country the past decade and it is getting a big send-off.

The current Ford Ranger is nearing the end of its life, with a new version expected next year.

In the meantime Ford has revealed two new special editions and added a bunch of new features to existing versions to keep the popular ute fresh in the face of newer competition.

First dual-cab off the rank is the new XL Sport version, which is based on the entry-level two-wheel drive XL dual-cab ute and is priced from $43,790 (before on-road costs), which is a few thousand more than the regular XL variant.

The Sport version beefs up the XL’s street appeal with lots of black exterior highlights including a sports bar, bedliner, side steps, front grille, rear bumper and a “sport” tailgate decal. The makeover is completed by 16-inch black alloy wheels.

It comes equipped with a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel making 118kW and 385Nm paired to a six-speed automatic.

The other new special edition is dubbed the “Heavy Duty” and is based on the four-wheel drive XL dual-cab variant.

Ford has boosted the Ranger’s off-road prowess by adding nine accessories including a steel bull bar, LED light bar, snorkel, all-terrain tyres and upgraded suspension.

Other touch-ups include a rear-view camera, black side steps and solid wheel nuts to boost the vehicle’s practicality and toughen up its looks.

Prices for the Heavy Duty start at $52,790 and it’s equipped with a 3.2-litre turbocharged diesel engine making 147kW/470Nm paired to a six-speed auto.

Ford has also boosted equipment on all the XLT model grades by adding radar cruise control as standard.

Select four-wheel drive XL models are now available with the twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine that makes 157kW/500Nm and is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This engine had previously been reserved for higher grade Rangers.

The special editions and improved existing examples will land in showrooms from July.

The new Ford Ranger — due to be revealed later this year before going on sale in 2022 — will also form the base for the next-generation Volkswagen Amarok after the two companies joined forces to build commercial vehicles.

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