DRIVEN: New Ford Ranger Platinum is the snazziest bakkie on the block

Published Apr 23, 2024


Apparently when you’ve reached a certain status when it comes to your bank balance you get a personal banker and are considered a platinum client.

I certainly can’t vouch for that, but if you are, then the Ford Ranger Platinum would be a nice accessory.

The Platinum moniker is Ford’s pinnacle of luxury and the double cab bakkie joins its Everest cousin at the top of the triangle in terms of luxury.

As befitting a range-topping Ford, it’s fitted with the super-smooth 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel engine that produces 184kW and 600Nm of torque mated to the tried and tested 10-speed automatic transmission with full time four wheel drive to 20-inch alloys with ebony accents and all-season tyres.

Its default setting is 4 Auto that allows the electronics to decide what power needs to go where while 4H and 4L is easily selected for more challenging terrain and there’s also a 2H rear wheel drive only option.

As you would expect there’s a host of exterior features unique to the Platinum like the grille that incorporates accented mesh and a silk chrome finish and three-dimensional ‘PLATINUM’ badging on the bonnet and lower sections of the front doors, while the front bumper, mirror caps and door handles are colour coded.

It comes with Ford’s adaptive Matrix LED lights that provide a glare-free high beam preventing oncoming drivers from being blinded and a 15 degree Dynamic Bending light function.

The loadbox has fixed sports hoops and Ford’s cargo management system for compartmentalised packing but strangely for a top-of-the-range model, the powered roller shutter is an optional extra.

You can certainly detect the premium look and feel of the cabin with quilted leather seats with contrast stitching that are heated or cooled with 10-way electric adjustments for the driver.

Soft touch surfaces and Black Maple trimming add a premium touch as does the heated steering wheel, 10-speaker B&O sound system and ambient lighting.

Behind that heated steering wheel is a 12.4-inch LCD instrument cluster that changes according to the driving mode or configurable to your own preference.

Now standard on the Raptor and Wildtrak X, the Platinum also has Pro Trailer Back-up Assist on the rotary Selectable Drive Modes controller which essentially takes all the guesswork out of reversing a trailer by doing it for you.

As you would expect the centre of the dash is dominated by Ford’s 12-inch SYNC 4A touchscreen infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and wireless charging, SYNC off-road screen and 360 degree camera system.

And if there’s more than one device that needs to be charged the rear has a handy 400W inverter as well as dual USB ports in the front and rear.

Unsurprisingly the star of the show is the locally built (at Ford’s Struandale engine plant in Gqeberha) 3.0-litre diesel mill with its smooth power delivery that does its Platinum status justice.

Power delivery is linear rather than brutish and it eases forward with consummate ease with a pleasant exhaust note to match.

The Ranger range is currently the best handling double cab on the market by a long margin and unsurprisingly it handles very much the same as the Wildtrak.

With a big lump of metal upfront, Ford’s engineers have managed to combine a ladder frame, leaf springs and 20-inch tyres to feel much more like a monocoque vehicle than a bakkie especially on the well-maintained roads in the Western Cape.

What did impress us was how quiet the interior was at the national speed limit with almost no wind noise in the cabin showing the attention to detail to NVH levels aided no doubt by road biassed tyres.

Steering is light and relatively direct and it grips well when pushed hard around sharp corners and long gentle bends.

With a towing capacity of 3.5 tons and a long list of safety features I reckon the Platinum fits the luxury long road trip bill perfectly.

At R1,119,000 The Ford Ranger Platinum is aimed directly at well-heeled, mostly urban consumers who prefer a double cab to an SUV, and while Ford has an enormous variety in its Ranger line-up, the Platinum certainly fills a well-aimed niche.

It comes with a four-year/120,000km warranty, four-year or unlimited distance Roadside Assistance and five-year or unlimited distance corrosion warranty.

Customers have the option of purchasing service or maintenance plans up to eight years or 135,000km. The warranty can be extended up to seven years or 200,000km.