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The Courier's tough new front end styling is now similar in looks to Ford's larger F-Series commercial vehicles. To achieve the muscular makeover, the Courier has received a new grille, headlights, front bumper bar and front guards. In addition, the range topping XLT models are also fitted with chrome front and rear bumper bars, side mirrors and door handles. Large wheel arch flares complement the bigger 265/70 R15 tyres (now standard on the XLT) and add to the bold new appearance.
The most significant change to the Courier line-up is the addition of an all-new Super Cab model that features reverse opening doors to gain access to the rear seating. Ford claims the new Rear Access System (RAS) provides greater versatility and assists entry and exit from the rear of the Super Cab. The reverse opening doors are not fitted with exterior handles and can only be opened in conjunction with the main front doors.
Like the previous model Courier, there is a choice of a 2.6 litre petrol engine or a 2.5 litre intercooled turbocharged diesel engine. The specifications of both engines remain unaltered in the new model.
The Courier range has expanded to now offer 20 models, including two new entries, a two-wheel drive (2WD) Crew Cab XLT and a four-wheel drive (4WD) Super Cab XLT. Recommended retail pricing starts at $19,670 for a 2WD Single Cab Chassis GL with a petrol engine and rises to a high of $42,860 for the 4WD diesel engined Crew Cab XLT Pickup.
As you would expect for a vehicle that represents the top of a range, the 4WD XLT Crew Cab is fairly well equipped (in commercial terms) with standard features and creature comforts. Some of its standard items include power steering, 15 inch alloy wheels, engine immobiliser, limited slip differential, remote central locking, four-speaker radio cassette with six stacker CD, alarm system and electric windows. The two main factory options available for the Courier 4WD XLT Crew Cab are airconditioning ($1,930) and dual front airbags and ABS package ($2,400).
The Crew Cab is quite a spacious vehicle that provides a large amount of head room in both the front and rear seating positions. While leg room is also good in the front, it tends to be a little compromised in the rear for taller adults. The front bucket seats are well shaped, offering sufficient support to minimize body movement when cornering, and prove to be quite comfortable.
The Courier is an easy vehicle to drive, as the controls are both light and easy to operate. The high driving position allows particularly good forward vision and larger exterior mirrors provide improved vision to the rear. Operating the stereo controls is a fiddly affair as the buttons are very small and not clearly marked.
New body side panels, more rigid doors and new soundproofing combine to reduce the interior noise in the Courier to quite a low level. Overall ride comfort really is good for a commercial vehicle even when unladen. Fully independent double wishbone front suspension does a good job of soaking up bumps and road irregularities, while rear leaf springs take care of load carrying duties.
Ford has altered the power steering from a variable ratio to a fixed gear ratio to assist low speed turning. While steering effort is light, there was a significant amount of steering wheel play in our test vehicle and a lack of steering feel on the road. The Courier is a little sluggish off the mark, but once underway, the diesel engine is very responsive and delivers good performance. The anti-lock brakes fitted to the test vehicle provided effective stopping power, albeit at an additional cost.
Ford's Courier range of light commercials was recently updated and features new styling (similar to the larger F-Series vehicles), a new four-door Super Cab and detail changes. The 4WD XLT Crew Cab diesel delivers a good level of comfort, performance and ride quality, but light steering fails to provide sufficient road feel.
|Price of vehicle tested||$42,860|
Quiet and comfortable ride
Steering quite vague and imprecise
|Country of manufacture||Thailand|
2WD Single Cab Chassis GL petrol: $19,670
|Number of cylinders||4|
|Engine size||2.4 L|
|Claimed max power (kW)||86 kW @ 3500 rpm|
|Claimed max torque (Nm)||280 Nm @ 2000 rpm|
|Wheel size||15 x 7 "|
|Spare tyre type||Full size alloy|
|Type||Power assisted recirculating ball|
|Turns to lock||4.0 m|
|Turning circle (measured)||13.5 m|
|Mass||1763 (unladen) kg|
|Width (including mirrors)||1982 mm|
|Fuel capacity||70 litres|
|Max towed mass (trailer plus load)||1800 kg|
NRMA Theft Rating
|Points on scale 0 - 120 (high score is best)||46.5|
Acceleration - Test results
|50 - 80km/h||5.4 secs|
|0 - 80km/h||10.0 secs|
|0 - 100km/h||16.1 secs|
|Best recorded during testing||11.6 L/100km|
|Worst recorded during testing||13.4 L/100km|
|Average on test||12.5 L/100km|
|Distance to stop (from 80km/h)||29.8 metres|
|Interior noise at constant 80km/h||71 dB(A)|