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The recently-announced Ranger Stormtrak makes its debut in South Africa this month. Based on the luxuriously appointed Wildtrak, the Stormtrak is poised to continue the success of Ford’s popular recent limited-edition model, the Ranger Thunder.

In line with its range-topping status, the Ranger Stormtrak is powered by Ford’s 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo engine which produces 157kW and 500Nm. It is paired with an advanced 10-speed automatic transmission that delivers seamless shifts matched to responsive performance and impressive fuel economy. The Ranger’s towing capacity of 3 500kg remains unchanged, along with the 800mm water wading depth and 230mm ground clearance.

The Ranger Stormtrak gains several outlandish design elements, including a striking black mesh grille with red inserts, a black insert in the lower section of the front bumper, black decals for the bonnet and doors, black roof rails and 18-inch alloy wheels finished in gloss black. The Stormtrak can also be had in Sea Grey, Frozen White and Blue Lightning, all formulated to appeal to the varied personalities of Ranger customers.

The styling upgrades to the Stormtrak include a Power Roller Shutter for the rear load compartment, which allows you to electronically open or close the protective shutter over the loadbox and provides a convenient method to securely stow cargo out of sight. The intelligent Power Roller Shutter can be securely locked in any position and has also been designed with an anti-pinch feature to prevent injury or damage when contact is made with an object.

Adding further versatility is the adjustable bed divider kit  that helps the owner to compartmentalise the cargo area according to the size of the items being carried. A drop-in bedliner provides a useful 12-volt socket for powering accessories such as a camping fridge.

Inside the cabin you are greeted with illuminated front scuff plates. This theme is continued on the premium leather seats replete with striking red stitching, as well as the Stormtrak logo taking pride of place on the front seat backrests. Red stitching is used throughout the leather-trimmed cabin.

Standard features in the Stormtrak include the SYNC®3 infotainment system with embedded navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a nifty USB charging port located in the rear view mirror  making  for easy fitment of a dash cam.

The Stormtrak is also equipped with Ford’s innovative FordPass functionality that allows owners to remotely access numerous vehicle features from their phone – such as remote and scheduled starts to either cool or heat the cabin. Through the FordPass app’s Vehicle Status feature owners can also check their vehicle’s key variables including fuel level, oil life status, tyre pressures (on models fitted with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) and mileage through the convenience of their smartphone. Other useful features include a vehicle locator courtesy of a map and location tracker in the FordPass app, Vehicle Health Alerts, which can be sent directly to a smart device pre-empting service needs, and Roadside Assistance, allowing customers instant access to Ford’s 24-hour emergency Roadside Assistance which is valid for a period of three years/unlimited distance.

As standard is an extensive list of innovative active and passive safety systems and driver aids, such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Forward Collision Alert, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid, and Driver Alert System.

The new Stormtrak further inherits Ford’s innovative Semi-Automatic Parallel Park Assist (SAPPA). The system takes the hassle out of parallel parking manoeuvres by using ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers that search for parking spaces that are big enough to park the vehicle and alerts the driver when a suitable spot is found. The system then steers the vehicle into the slot using the Ranger’s electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) and sensors. All the driver needs do is operate the accelerator and brake, and select the appropriate gear as prompted by Park Assist.

Further convenience is afforded by Ford’s EZ lift tailgate, which makes accessing the Stormtrak’s load bin a cinch thanks to the incorporated torsion rod that reduces the initial lift force required to raise the tailgate by about 70%.

The Ranger Stormtrak is priced at R790 300 for the 4×2 model while the off-road ready 4×4 model costs R846 500. All prices include VAT.