Feature article

Best Ford Car Models in NZ: Buying Guide

Ford has a vehicle for every lifestyle.

3 April 2024

Ford has a diverse range of models in New Zealand, and so there is something for everyone. Or as Ford likes to put it, a vehicle for every lifestyle.

Like many car brands nowadays, Ford is a little light on actual cars, its ranks more flush with SUVs. There’s the urban friendly Puma, the mid-size Escape, the all-electric Mach-E and the 4x4 Everest. There’s also a big range of commercial vehicles with vans, some of them electric, and many, many variants of the Ranger to choose from. Ford has a few hybrids on offer as well.

Ford has a vast dealer network in New Zealand, covering most parts of the country well. And there’s Ford’s five year, unlimited kilometre warranty on its passenger vehicle range.

What’s the best small Ford?

By default, that would be the Puma. This starts at $38,490 for the ST-Line which might be small but packs a lot into its compact dimensions. It has adaptive cruise control with the traffic-busting stop and go feature along with CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Active safety features include auto braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot monitoring and lane keeping.

A seven-speed auto makes the most of the 92kW and 170Nm; it’s a good city commuter, while fuel consumption is rated at 5.3L/100km. There's a tight turning circle, easy steering and lots of parking helpers. Puma has a slightly raised driving position for better outward vision and ease of entry too.

Small it might be, but it has quite a decent load compartment with up to 410L of space, although that figure includes the big under floor storage area.

Like most Fords, it has the FordPass Connect app allowing you to lock and locate your vehicle along with the ability for remote starting and heating and cooling the cabin prior to your departure.

For something a bit sportier, there is the ST at $46,490. This might have a small engine, but it's big on driver involvement. It has a bit of a sporty ride but it is a heap of fun.

Read the Ford Puma ST review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Ford Puma

Does Ford have a hybrid?

The Ford Escape SUV is available in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid guises.

The hybrid, according to Ford, switches between electric, engine-only and combined engine and electric propulsion to drive the Escape, while regenerative braking charges the battery. So there’s no need to plug this hybrid in. The hybrid starts at $53,490 for the ST Line. It comes in both front-wheel or all-wheel drive configurations, while the powertrain makes a combined 140kW. The hybrid’s fuel consumption is rated at 5.3L/100km, while it can tow up to 1600kg.

The plug-in hybrid delivers 167kW while its 14kWh battery helps lower fuel use to a combined 1.6L/100km thanks to its ability to run in electric mode for around 50km. If you buy a plug-in, just remember to plug it in every day and recharge, otherwise your fuel consumption will be much higher than Ford’s stated figure.

Escape is a good family vehicle with generous rear seat space and well over 500L of load swallowing ability in the boot. All the usual active safety features are present also.

Read the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid review

What's the best Ford Ranger to buy?

There are so many different Ranger models to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are the work utes for fleet buyers with specific tasks to achieve but then there are also many high-end offerings for the lifestylers and bosses higher up the food chain.

But the mid-range XLT is all the truck you’ll ever really need. In real-wheel drive guise it's $57,490 whereas opting for the 4x4 adds $10,000, so ask yourself, do you really need it?

While you can get the Ranger with a 3.0-litre V6, the 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel with the 10-speed auto is more than sufficient. This has a heap of grunt with 500Nm and 154kW of power, it’s reasonably quiet for a diesel, and there’s little in the way of turbolag. It's not too bad on diesel use, rated at 8.3L/100 although you’ll likely average around 10L in real world driving.

In the cabin, there's still plenty of hard wearing plastics about but the interior has an SUV feel to it. You get a 10-inch centre touchscreen and an 8-inch digital instrument cluster. There are items like a smart key, LED lights and all the right safety gear.

The steering is light weighted, which helps when manoeuvring this big rig around, and there are decent side mirrors, a good camera and front and rear parking sensors to help out too. It's a good truck to drive, stable on the go, the roll is well controlled and it rides okay.

It’s still a capable workhorse with a payload between 900-1000kg and a three and a half ton tow rating. A tow bar with trailer brake controller is standard, and you get a bed liner too. The handy load box sidestep helps when retrieving things from the tray.

Read the Ford Ranger XLT review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Ford Ranger


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.