Ford is effectively adding three new off-roady trim levels to the Ranger pickup by bundling some accessories that make the truck look cooler. And, yes, raise its cross-country capability somewhat. Let’s go through them and see what’s good.
“U.S. Ranger pickup owners added an average of approximately $US650 ($940) worth of accessories to their new 2019 Rangers last year alone,” declares Ford’s press release, which is probably how the idea for these new Ford Performance Level 1, 2, and 3 Ranger add-on packages got sold up the chain at Ford corporate.
This new stuff will be available in addition to the already-thick catalogue of add-ons you could buy for the Ranger before. And, of course, the parts fit on the 2019 Ranger as well as the 2020.
You can spend about $US25,000 ($36,135) to almost $US40,000 ($57,816) on a new Ranger, and the most frugal way to increase its off-road capability right out of the box is to order the FX4 Off-Road Package for about $US1,300 ($1,879). That gives you slightly softer shocks, all-terrain tires, a locking rear differential, skid plates, and digital inclinometer, and off-road traction management software.
That’s actually a great loadout for the price, and if your wheeling is going to consist mainly of fun fire roads and the occasional mud bog, you’ll be fine with that. Especially if you step up to knobbier tires when your first set of rubber wears out.
But if you’re looking for more stuff to spend money on, here’s what you get with the new Ranger Ford Performance packages.
Ranger Ford Performance Level 1 package ($US2,495 ($3,606) MSRP plus installation)
- Off-Road levelling kit
- FOX “Tuned by Ford Performance” 2.0 Performance Series internal floating piston monotube front and rear shocks tuned by Ford Performance Engineers to optimise on and off-road performance
- Ford Performance 17-inch Dyno Grey wheels
- Ford Performance bedside graphics, Ford Performance windshield banner
A “levelling kit” is mainly cosmetic. That usually just means “lift the nose so the truck sits level” since many pickups look a little raked when they’re empty with no weight on the rear. I guess this would also net you a slightly better approach angle and additional ground clearance, too.
The Fox shocks should let you carry more speed through rough stuff than the FX4 suspension thanks to better heat management and valving optimisation. In plain English: Shocks are full of fluid that pumps around metal shims as you hit bumps. The hotter they get, the more poorly they perform. Typically. And the Fox shocks will flow fluid more effectively under stress than the standard Ford ones.
As for the wheels, Ford’s people tell me they weigh 15 kg apiece. I might recommend looking for something lighter to make the most of the Ranger’s EcoBoost engine’s power. For example, the 16-inch wheels I run on my Montero are less than 9 kg each.
Ranger Ford Performance Level 2 package ($US4,495 ($6,497) MSRP plus installation)
- Everything in the Level 1 package
- Ford Performance engine calibration, which increases horsepower by 16 per cent to 315 at 4,500 RPM and increases torque by nearly 20 per cent to 370 lb.-ft. at 2,500 RPM
- BFGoodrich KO2 265/70-17 tires
- Rigid off-road fog light kit
- Ford Performance calibration
- Blue tow hooks
- Ford Performance stainless steel licence plate frame
That’s a damn decent power bump–the stock Ranger’s rated at 270 HP and 141 kg-ft of torque, so you should definitely feel the extra energy Ford claims it can get you with this tune.
BF Goodrich’s KO2 tire is a favourite in the off-road scene for great puncture-resistance and traction. They’re pretty quiet on the road for how knobby they are, too. And that size (265/70-17) should be about 31.6 inches (80 cm) in diameter at nominal inflation which, in my opinion, is a great size for regular driving plus occasional off-road action because it gets you decent clearance without massacring your fuel economy and power.
Ranger Ford Performance Level 3 package ($US8,995 ($13,001) MSRP plus installation)
- Everything in the Level 1 and Level 2 packages
- Rigid 40-inch LED lightbar kit
- Red tow hooks
- Ford Performance by ARB winch-capable front bumper
- Ford Performance chase rack
- 2.3-litre Ford Performance sport exhaust
You know shit’s getting real when red tow hooks are involved!
Otherwise, ARB is a major name brand in off-road bumpers and the one it made for Ford’s Ranger looks great. Similarly, Rigid lights are pretty common to see on serious desert vehicles.
This last package, in particular, seems like a lot of money to spend on accessories.
But the main advantage of buying this stuff from Ford instead of various aftermarket outfits is that you know everything’s warrantied and dialed it to work together. Don’t underestimate the value of knowing your off-road bumper’s going to be compatible with your airbag sensors.
Plus, you’ll be able to lump this stuff in with your car payment if you’re so inclined. And factory-installed OEM parts will most certainly be better for your vehicle’s resale value than aftermarket items.
Ford’s people weren’t able to comment on installation time or costs, which could be substantial, so if you’re a Ranger customer who’s interested in any of this make sure you get a firm number on that before signing.
Otherwise, I did get a confirmation that you can also grab this stuff from a Ford parts desk “a la carte” and install the bits yourself.
Ford found such a great location for its press release pictures I wanted to share all of them, so, I’m gonna. I’ll pack them into little slideshows for those of you who don’t care and don’t want to spend the next hour scrolling to get to the comments though.
Pictures: Ford Ranger with Ford Performance Level 1
Pictures: Ford Ranger with Ford Performance Level 2
Pictures: Ford Ranger with Ford Performance Level 3
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