On 12 October 2021, the keys to a special edition, finished in Lightning Blue, Ford Ranger Stormtrak were placed in our hands.
Our mission was to live with this top of the range double cab for the coming months and report back on our monthly experiences, good and bad, like a normal owner would.
Fast forward some 14 months and 30 00 0km later to today, and it is that time of our journey where we must bid farewell to our long-term Ranger Stormtrak.
It makes way for the new Ford Ranger that is being rolled out in the first week of December to take the fight to fierce rival the Toyota Hilux.
To be honest, our Ranger Stormtrak never got off that lightly as a one owner type vehicle, because mixed between long periods of easy, pampered, commuting, this bakkie also stood in as our go to vehicle for every other task you could think of.
From towing race cars, to hauling garden rubbish away, to shopping malls in Sandton, to being loaded to the roof with gear as family after family fell in love with it on their holiday trips, our Ranger Stormtrak did it all.
Standing out from the crowd
Being a special edition meant that from the outside it was different from the other Rangers in the model line-up and featured a tough looking black mesh front grille with sporty red inserts, black decals on the bonnet and doors, 18-inch black alloy wheels finished in gloss and LED headlights.
While you also got an EZ lift tailgate, a power roller shutter that could be opened or closed by a click of a button on your key fob to keep your goodies safe in the back, and a bed divider kit that also kept these same goodies from rolling all over the place.
On the inside, our Ranger Stormtrak was more car than bakkie, and that’s why I think whoever drove it thought that this bakkie was a better option than spending money on a family sedan or SUV.
I know I did, because as well as all the comfort, luxury, tech and feeling that little bit safer being higher up, you had a vehicle that you could throw your junk in the back and tow 3 500 kg while bundu bashing if you wanted to.
Premium leather was reserved for the seats, with obligatory Stormtrak logos, as well as for the soft-touch dashboard upper, steering wheel and gear lever. While Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system with embedded navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto kept us entertained.
Our Ford Ranger Stormtrak was also equipped with Ford’s FordPass functionality that allowed you to remotely schedule when to start, or switch off, the bakkie to either cool or heat the interior, as well as allow you check things like fuel level, oil life status, tyre pressures, vehicle location, mileage and even call-in assistance in the event of a breakdown on your smartphone.
Ford Ranger Stormtrak the prankster
The real entertainment part though for me came in the form of scaring my wife almost to death one night, by using the app to remotely start our bakkie after she had switched it off and was walking away.
Jokes aside, where Ford has also been ahead of the competition for most of the time, considering that this generation of Ranger has been around for over a decade already, is in the tech and safety department.
Our Ranger Stormtrak was fitted with Ford’s Semi-Automatic Parallel Park Assist system, and what this system did was identify parking spaces that were big enough for you to park in, and then alerted you when a suitable spot was found.
The system then could steer the bakkie into the slot by using sensors and electronically controlling the electric power-assisted steering and sensors.
All you had to do was operate the accelerator and brake, and select the appropriate gear as prompted by Park Assist. Easy right? Well, yes and no.
Of course, I tried the system, and it worked just like Ford said it would, but nothing on earth could stop me from grabbing the steering wheel the moment it started moving on its own.
Plenty of power
Ford was also the first to offer a 10-speed automatic transmission in the bakkie segment, and in the case of our Ranger Stormtrak, this gearbox combined with a state of the art, 157 kW/500 Nm, 2.0-litre bi-turbo engine and 4×4 drive that not only ensured it was near the top of the pile of fastest bakkies on offer, it also consumed diesel at less than 10 litres per 100km.
It is worth mentioning that the standard list of innovative active and passive safety systems and driver aids, such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Alert, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid, and Driver Alert System were much appreciated on more than one occasion.
Our Ranger Stormtrak offered us everything we wanted and more, while it never spent a single day in the workshop other than for routine services. It was the perfect long-term companion, and we are truly sad to see it go.
For more information on the new Ranger, visit the manufacturer’s website.