Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

Ford Thunder (S)truck

The Ford Ranger is one of our country’s top-selling vehicles, with the sales fight between the Ranger and the Hilux being one of epic proportions. This battle causes manufacturers to introduce newer models and special editions fairly
regularly. One such model is the Thunder, which I recently spent some time with.

The Thunder seems to be a more stylish alternative to the much-loved Wildtrak, but not as hardcore as the Ranger Raptor. It brings greater style, luxury, capability and practicality to the range. Numerous distinctive design features are unique to the Ranger Thunder, starting with a revised honeycomb-style front grille incorporating red accents for the side “nostrils”, giving this derivative a distinctly performance-oriented demeanour.

This is complemented by black detailing for the side mirror housings and bold three-dimensional “Thunder” nomenclature at the base of the front doors and on the rear tailgate. The new 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels are finished in black, adding to the Ranger Thunder’s assertive and sporty character. Additionally, the
integrated sports hoop fitted as standard on Wildtrak models now gains a striking red insert that adds further stylistic flair.
The interior is adorned with leather on the seats, dashboard, steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake, complemented by striking red contrast stitching. The infotainment system comes in the form of Ford’s pioneering SYNC®3 system, and it features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other niceties include heated front seats, electric driver seat and lane-keep assist with active cruise control.

Aside from the visual enhancements, the Ranger Thunder benefits from numerous practical additions in the load compartment, too, including a lockable “Mountain Top” black roller shutter to secure your load safely. A cargo area
management system with a bed divider allows the owner to compartmentalize the available space to hold different-sized items easily.

Being a special edition, the Thunder is only available in a few colours. While the Absolute Black we sampled undoubtedly has a presence, I feel that it hides much of the black styling elements. If it were my choice, I would have it in either Frozen White or Moondust Silver.

The Thunder is powered by the same 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo found in the Wildtrak and Raptor, producing 157kW and 500Nm. The Ranger’s towing capacity of up to 3 500kg remains unchanged in the Thunder, as does the 800 mm water wading depth and 230mm ground clearance.

As for its off-road ability, the Thunder uses the same system as found on the Wildtrak, which means that it is pretty capable.

His behind the wheel of the Ford Ranger Raptor coming later this week!

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