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Beautiful beast

FORD Ranger is sitting firmly at the top of the auto pile but Big Blue is still prepared to offer something extra in the form of the FX4 special edition.

Not that any special incentives are needed.

The Ranger is poised to retain its title as the biggest single-selling vehicle in New Zealand in 2017, holding on to the ranking it gained in 2015 and has retained since then.

That will add to the AA and Motoring Writers Guild best in class award for 2017, the sixth year in a row the Ranger has taken that award.

It seems like everyone is driving a Ranger.

That, of course, is a reflection of the attributes the Ranger brings — a true, rugged, go-anywhere vehicle but packed with creature comforts and having a drive quality to match anything on the road.

Ford Ranger means power in the form of a five-cylinder 3.2-litre diesel engine with 147 Nm of power at 3000 rpm and 470 Nm of torque from 1500 to 2750 rpm. It has a 3.5-tonne towing capacity, ground clearance of 237 millimetres and can wade through 800mm of water

Thanks to an efficient six-speed automatic transmission and other attributes it is not a thirsty beast.

Despite all that grunt, it possesses fuel economy of 8 litres per 100km.

It can shift between 2WD and 4WD high and low mode on the fly with a turn of the handily-placed dial.

The FX4 comes with dynamic stability control, rollover mitigation, hill launch assist, trailer sway mitigation and adaptive load control among its safety features.

The reversing camera can give a long range view of what is behind but can also be adjusted to a near view to allow the driver to back up to a trailer connection.

The parking sensors can be switched off when driving through rough ground that could continually set them off.

Adaptive cruise control scans the road ahead and adjusts to the flow of traffic, while adaptive speed control will keep you under the limit.

To overtake, you can override the system by pressing the accelerator to the floor.

Inside, the FX 4 has the comfort of a five-star hotel.

The Sync 3 system, delivered through an eight-inch colour touchscreen, has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and includes voice-controlled satellite navigation.

The limited special edition includes roof rails, a sports bar, 1-inch alloys, a blackout grille instead of the traditional chrome one and a host of graphics and badging topped off by an attractive metallic grey paint job.

Ford Motors Gisborne will let you drive off in this highly desirable road warrior for $55,350.

Start 2018 the right way. Treat yourself.