Safety is an area normally neglected in the lower end of the bakkie market, with ABS brakes and airbags being a rare commodity among the cheapest of workhorses.
If there's one type of vehicle whose mechanical layout really makes ABS a necessity, it's the standard leaf-sprung, rear-driven bakkie.
Selected diesel 4x2 Ford Rangers are now available with stability control.
So when we saw the release announcing added safety to lower-end Ranger models, we thought another manufacturer had followed VW's lead by offering the most basic features at the bottom end. Instead, the Base spec Ranger models still make do without ABS.
What Ford has done is fitted certain 2.2 4x2 turbodiesel models with a suite of electronic road holding aids that includes Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and Traction Control. This is another necessary feature lacking on most bakkies.
The models fitted with ESP will also feature Trailer Sway Control, Adaptive Load Control, Hill Descent Control and Hill Launch Assist. The latter feature, says Ford, allows a fully-laden Ranger (that's about 3200kg in total) to stop and then pull away again on a 60 percent gradient - which is quite a feat.
Of course, the models in question will still offer a diff lock as an option for those who prefer it.