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The Ford Ranger has been named the 2019 CarsGuide Adventure Car of the Year.
Announcing the award, CarsGuide editor Malcolm Flynn said the Ford ute offered superb levels of comfort and capability, excellent driver-assist and safety technology, as well as a standard of refinement in ride and handling that’s unchallenged in what is a hotly-contested segment.
After exhaustive testing and scrutiny, the Ranger emerged victorious from a huge field of adventure vehicles – 2WDs, AWDs, 4WDs, SUVs, vans, campers and utes – to win the title of 2019 CarsGuide Adventure Car of the Year.
Eligible vehicles had to be new or significantly updated vehicles that arrived in local showrooms between September 1, 2018 and September 1, 2019.
“In a highly competitive market, the Ranger really does set the gold standard for utes, combining a work-and-play versatility and practical yet comfortable interior with a modern look, feel and drivability that few in the segment can even get near.
“It’s ready for the bush but more than fine as a daily driver, even if you live in the inner-city.”
The CarsGuide Adventure Car of the Year assessment process incorporates impressions and data captured in its detailed published reviews from the 12-month period, with all eligible models evaluated by AdventureGuide editor Marcus Craft with critical evaluation input from CarsGuide senior journalists including Mr Flynn, Matt Campbell and others.
Mr Craft said: “In every way the Ranger is an almost-perfect adventure vehicle with great ride and handling, comfort and off-road capability, as well as improved safety across the range.
“A dual-cab 4x4 is inherently versatile, but the Ranger takes it to another level. To combine this with new passenger-car levels of safety across the board only cements its position.
“It also makes a great towing platform, the two diesel options – 3.2-litre and 2.0-litre – are real-world effective, and there’s seemingly a Ranger variant for everyone – not forgetting the Baja 1000-inspired Raptor.”
“The Wrangler and Jimmy are two very capable off-roaders straight out of the showroom, and, to the credit of their manufacturers, both vehicles have stayed wholeheartedly true to their original adventurous go-anywhere spirit," Mr Craft said.
Mr Flynn said: "The Wrangler has a supremely versatile interior – with such an impressive array of roof options – and its capability only improves from a high base."
He said the Jimny was "a reminder of the benefits of simplicity and light weight".
"And it outshines plenty of other genuine four-wheel drives which cost a whole lot more.
"Sure, both bring compromises when it comes to occupant safety, which is an important consideration for any new car purchase, but with both vehicles it's a trade-off led by their adventure-focused designs.
"It's hard to imagine a vehicle with a folding windscreen and removable roof and doors doing better, in the case of the Wrangler. Similarly with the Jimny, you can only expect such a tiny body to offer so much protection.
"Both vehicles should be commended for making a solid effort when it comes to active safety features straight out of the box though."
The CarsGuide Adventure Car of the Year award is joined by honours for each of the site’s other consumer-focused segments – Family and Tradie guides – as well as the most prestigious of all trophies: the overall CarsGuide Car of the Year award.
CarsGuide reaches more Australians than any other editorial automotive site, according to Nielsen* digital content ratings (monthly), with more than 1.29 million unique users per month.
*Nielsen Digital Content Ratings (Monthly) Tagged, August 2019, text, P18+, PC, Smartphones & Tablet