The Ford Ranger portfolio was bolstered in the middle of 2020 by the addition of the Ford Ranger Thunder. Granted, it looks good, but where does it sit in comparison to the popular Wildtrak? Here are the key differences separating the Ford Ranger Thunder from the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
Mechanically, there is nothing separating the Ranger Wildtrak from the Ranger Thunder. The 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel motor delivers 157 kW and 500 Nm in both models and both have the 10-speed automatic transmission installed. The Thunder is just as capable, with a low-range gearbox, 230 mm of ground clearance as well as a wading depth of 800 mm. A tow rating of 3 500 kg is standard across both models.
As you'll see below, the devil is in the details and we think Ford has given the Ranger Thunder some serious visual punch. The Ford Ranger Thunder is built alongside the other Ranger models at the Ford Motor Company plant in Silverton, Pretoria, with the engines coming from the Ford Motor Company plant in Struandale, Port Elizabeth.
The Ford Ranger isn't exactly a dull or boring bakkie from the front and the Wildtrak's nose, in particular, is dominant and imposing. The Ford Ranger Thunder takes this up a level with the addition of a revised honeycomb-styled front end with red intakes. It makes the Thunder look a raging bull with a furious snout. Ford aficionados may recognise them from various performance Mustangs sold around the world. The red also contrasts well with the dark paintwork, but if you're not a fan, there are other colours to choose from.
The Ford Ranger Wildtrak's 18-inch silver alloy wheels have been replaced by 18-inch double-spoke alloy wheels finished in gloss black. If you're a fan of black on black and the murdered out look, this should be the bakkie for you! Red Thunder badging is used liberally around the vehicle, with the doors and rear tailgate gaining these 3D embossed Thunder badges.
Ford Ranger Thunder cabin changes
The black on black theme continues inside as the Ford Ranger Thunder cabin features black leather on the seats, dashboard, steering wheel, gear level and handbrake surrounds. The Wildtrak's trademark orange stitching has been replaced by bold red stitching, which we think gives the cabin a bit of a sporty theme. Speaking of leather, the Ranger Thunder features new front leather seats with Thunder badging in red embroidery.
At this price level, specification is excellent for a bakkie, with the Ford Ranger able to lay claim to being the most digitally connected bakkie. Its SYNC3 infotainment system boasts Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity and there are 2 USB ports. It's also safe too, with autonomous emergency braking capable of picking up pedestrians and stationary objects automatically. The Ford Ranger Thunder also has Semi-Automatic Parallel Park Assist, which takes the hassle out of parallel parking. If you've ever had to parallel park a double-cab bakkie, you'll know it's not the easiest thing in the world.
Other nice to haves?
Ford has added a lockable black roller shutter loadbay cover to the Ranger Thunder which will address some security concerns. The EZ lift tailgate is fitted as standard and thanks to a torsion rod, the vehicle's tailgate is easy to lift and close.
The vehicle also features the same integrated sports hoop as the Wildtrak, but there's a tasteful (or not, depending on your taste) red detail added to give it some more sportiness.
For those looking for a Ford Ranger that stands out from the crowd, the Thunder should tick all the boxes. As cool as the Thunder is, we can't help but lust after the US market's Ranger performance pack upgrades.
Ford Ranger Double-Cab Price in South Africa (August 2020)
The new Ford Ranger Thunder comes with a 6-year/90 000 km service plan with intervals every 15 000 km. It is also offered with a 4-year/120 000 km warranty. At R787 000, the added features come to R33 400 on top of the Wildtrak.
2.0Bi-Turbo double cab Hi-Rider Wildtrak R 702 600
3.2TDCi double cab Hi-Rider Thunder R 711 600
2.0Bi-Turbo double cab Hi-Rider Thunder R 736 000
2.0Bi-Turbo double cab 4x4 Wildtrak R 753 600
2.0Bi-Turbo double cab 4x4 Thunder R 787 000
2.0Bi-Turbo double cab 4x4 Raptor R 875 700