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China's 2024 Ford Ranger launches with unique specs! Is Australia missing out, or is the local version of the Toyota HiLux rival the best?

The China-built Ford Ranger gets some significant changes compared to Australia's best-seller.

Ford has launched its new-generation Ranger in China - and as usual it gets a unique spin for one of the world’s largest new-car markets.

Built in China in conjunction with its joint-venture partner, Jiangling, the Ranger is offered with either a 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine (137kW/470Nm) or the 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol EcoBoost engine offered in the US market (190kW/450Nm). The 3.0-litre V6 which headlines Australian-delivered variants is not offered in China, nor is the 2.0-litre twin-turbo unit.

Interestingly, instead of the 10-speed Ford/GM transmission or the lesser six-speed auto offered on XL variants, the China-delivered Ranger continues to be offered with a six-speed manual, or the option of an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic. 4x4 models equipped with the ZF transmission also get seven drive modes with an electronic rear diff lock, while higher-spec examples also get a diff lock on the front axle.

Another significant mechanical change for the China-delivered Ranger is a multi-link coil-sprung rear suspension set-up on the top two variants, as opposed to the leaf spring set-up delivered on all Australian variants except for the Raptor. The coil-sprung set-up is said to be thanks to a ride comfort preference amongst the Chinese audience, while lower-grade versions with the diesel engine maintain a higher load-bearing capacity.

All China-delivered variants also get a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 12.1-inch portrait central screen with China-specific upgrades to its always-online Sync multimedia system.

All China-delivered variants also get a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 12.1-inch portrait central screen with China-specific upgrades to its always-online Sync multimedia system. The 220V power outlet in the tray is maintained (although it is optional on lower-grade vehicles) as are other innovations like the built-in side-steps.

Meanwhile even the most basic single-cab Australian-delivered variants ship with auto emergency braking, lane support systems, and the full array of airbags, all of which are needed to maintain a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.

The entry-level Forest 2WD spec Ranger in China is only available with the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine in rear-wheel drive with the six-speed manual, and has significant safety spec stripped out to keep the price down, with no active safety features and less airbags than its high-spec relations. Meanwhile even the most basic single-cab Australian-delivered variants ship with auto emergency braking, lane support systems, and the full array of airbags, all of which are needed to maintain a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.

The China-made Ranger will no doubt be a hit for Ford, which is also introducing an imported version of the F-150 in the same market.

The China-spec Ranger is also only available as a dual-cab, however the price is also lower than it is in Australia. The base version starts from the equivalent of AU$30,493, with the top-spec 1st Edition reaching to $55,405.

In Australia, the entry-level XL dual-cab 4x2 costs $42,780, with the equivalent top-spec Wildtrak 4x4 (with the 2.0-litre diesel engine as the V6 is not available in China) costing $68,490 before on-roads.

4x4 models equipped with the ZF transmission also get seven drive modes with an electronic rear diff lock, while higher-spec examples also get a diff lock on the front axle.

The China-made Ranger will no doubt be a hit for Ford, which is also introducing an imported version of the F-150 in the same market. This is thanks to China following a similar growing ute-mad off-roading trend as Australia, which is also why we can expect to see more utes from other automakers like BYD in the near future and expanded offerings from the likes of LDV and GWM.

Ford is also not the only manufacturer with a unique Chinese-spec version of a popular ute. Isuzu offers its D-Max in a unique China-built version with an alternate interior, and various spin-offs of the Navara are available from Nissan’s Dongfeng joint-venture partner.

Tom White
Senior Journalist
Despite studying ancient history and law at university, it makes sense Tom ended up writing about cars, as he spent the majority of his waking hours finding ways to drive as many as possible. His fascination with automobiles was also accompanied by an affinity for technology growing up, and he is just as comfortable tinkering with gadgets as he is behind the wheel. His time at CarsGuide has given him a nose for industry news and developments at the forefront of car technology.
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