Pretoria - Ford has added what it calls a mine-hardened version of its Ranger bakkie to the local line-up. But this is not a military vehicle with an armoured floor - it's a seriously tough workhorse derivative aimed at mining companies, farmers and business owners with very specific requirements.
Marketing vice-president Mark Kaufmann explained: "The Ranger XL-Plus was born out of particular requirements from the mining industry, as well as other business owners whose main concerns were rugged capability and impeccable safety standards."
It has airbags for both the driver and passenger, as well as side impact, curtain, and a driver-side knee airbag, so it complies with the safety requirements of international mine operators. There's also an optional bullbar, designed to work with the bakkie's existing safety systems, so it won't interfere with airbag deployment.
External modifications include a frame tested for an increased towing load of 3500kg, an optional heavy-duty front bumper, extruded aluminium side steps, front mud flaps, and a lockable fuel filler cap.
BUILT TO TAKE IT
Inside, there's a Crew Chief mounting bracket already wired into a harness that's been expanded for extra switches and circuits, a heavy-duty second battery, vinyl floor covering, and heavy-duty seat covers.
Kaufman said: "This came from testing in real-world scenarios; we took feedback from our clients on what they needed in applications such as mining, and built a version of the Ranger that will take a lot more punishment, as well as being wired for the technical equipment used on sites."
The Ranger XL-Plus has a Duratorq 2.2-litre TDCi turbodiesel four driving all four wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and an electronic locking rear differential. It's available in chassis cab format with either a single or double cab, or as a double cab with a load box.
Ranger XL-Plus Single Chassis Cab - R 319 900
Ranger XL-Plus Double Chassis Cab - R 334 900
Ranger XL-Plus Double Cab - R 379 900
These include a four-year or 120 000km warranty and a five-year or 90 000km service plan, with service intervals of 15 000km. Built at the Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria, the XL-Plus is now also exported to other markets with mining operations, such as Australia and New Zealand.