Ford Ranger Review – Ranger Smith

Yogi Bear is an animated creation dreamt up by Hanna Barbera. He was a breakout character that first appeared on the Huckleberry Hound show but went on (in my opinion) to be far more successful. He and his little friend Boo boo live modestly in Yellowstone park where they mainly feed on the generosity of visitors and their picnics (of which he devises imaginative ways to help liberate). His arch enemy is Ranger Smith however; said Smith also appears to have a soft spot for Yogi. Why am I telling you this you may well ask?

Well, for the past week I have been driving the Ford Ranger XLT and at the weekend we decided to take a trip to the beach. Although Bethells Beach is on the opposite coastline to where we live, it’s not that far from our home however, if you’d seen how much gear we had packed into the sizable Ranger truck, you’d have thought we were going away for at least a week. Beach tents (plural), chilly bins, a boogie board, towels, beach mat, change of clothes and (most importantly) a Picnic – now I think you’re getting the gist of this story.

The route to the beach took us along some tight and winding roads and despite being a big ol’ truck (over 5.3M long x 1.86M wide) the Ranger more than kept up with a European sedan which was evidently in a hurry to get to the sand. The truck’s double wishbone and rear leaf suspension seems easy and malleable and yet negotiates corners comfortably aided by the Ford’s EPAS (electronic power assisted steering) and ESP (electronic stability) – it’s quite the confidence builder. The Duratorq 3.2L Common-rail Turbo Diesel powertrain (strapped to the 6 Speed Autobox) delivers 147kW (at 3,000 rpm) and a whopping 470Nm (at 1,500rpm) so in short, plenty of pick up from the pick up.

We arrived late morning and unpacked (well sort of) – I opted to break the gear down to two trips – and made our way towards the sea, quickly realising it was a mistake. The wind was a gusting onshore (or maybe off), waves were large and the it was fairly overcast. Not keen to ‘packhorse’ the gear out to the water and be sandblasted, we turned and headed back to the truck.

Riding back along the twisty road to civilization (slightly disillusioned) we made an impromptu stop at a semi secluded park, with the bleached out grass, tall trees and the hillside terrain my son was quick to call it Yellowstone. With food on our minds it was a case of Tailgate down for a bit of a Picnic. In truth it was a bit of a slap up feed. Rolls, meats, Salad and pop, all in the back of the Ford truck’s Bed (and away from any pesky ants or Bears). Even the Sun decided to break through the clouds and join us. We ended up spending quite a while there, kicking the ball around and having some relaxing family time together before finally heading off to the hot pools.

In hindsight; trekking to the beach on an overcast and windy day may have been a bit of a booboo but it all turned out ok, as Picnicing in the Auckland countryside made for a great day out and to top it off; having it beside a Ranger meant (of course) that Yogi was nowhere to be seen.

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