FORD has today put the global pickup world, or rather the Aussie ute world, on notice by revealing the smartest, most versatile and most capable Ranger ever. It sports a rugged new look, sharing Ford’s global truck design DNA.
It features a defined new grille, and signature C-clamp headlight treatment at the front while a subtle shoulder line down the sides incorporates bolder wheel-arches that gives Ranger a sure-footed stance.
For the first time, Ford Ranger offers LED headlights. At the back, the taillights are designed in harmony with the signature graphics on the front. Inside, the car-like cabin steps up, using premium soft-touch materials.
A prominent portrait-style centre touchscreen with Ford’s signature SYNC 4 connectivity and entertainment system also features. At launch, the model range includes the capable XL, versatile XLS, stylish XLT, rugged Sport and adventurer Wildtrak.
Beneath the new bodywork is an upgraded chassis riding on a wheelbase 50mm longer and a track 50mm wider than the previous Ranger. A hydro-formed front-end structure creates more space in the engine bay for the new V6 engine too.
It also helps future-proof the Ranger for other propulsion technologies and opens up the front of the pickup to allow more airflow to the radiator, which helps keep running temperatures low when towing or carrying heavy loads.
Ford’s proven 3.0-Litre turbodiesel V6 is one of three turbodiesel engine options available at launch, depending on market. The next-generation Ranger will also come with a choice of proven single-turbo and bi-turbo 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder diesels.
Transmission choices include an updated 10-speed auto complementing the current six-speed automatic. Engineers moved the front wheels forward by 50mm for a better approach angle and outboard for better off-road articulation too.
They also shifted the rear suspension dampers outboard of the frame rails to give drivers and passengers a better ride both on- and off-road, no matter if they’re carrying heavy cargo for work, or just taking the family out for dinner.
Customers will have a choice of two four-wheel drive systems, an electronic shift-on-the-fly system, or advanced full-time 4×4 system with a reassuring set-and-forget mode, designed for capability when and where customers need it.
Off-road recovery is made easier too with prominent dual recovery hooks in the front bumper. Inside, the heart of the Ranger’s connective experience is the large 10.1-inch or 12-inch touchscreen in the centre stack. It complements the fully digital instrument panel.
Additionally, there’s an embedded factory-fitted modem, allowing connectivity on the go when linked with the FordPass app, which will provide remote start, vehicle status check and remote lock and unlock functions from a mobile device.
Many of the traditional driving mode controls have been moved from the dash and centre console to their own dedicated display on the SYNC screen too, allowing for monitoring of the driveline, steering angle, vehicle pitch and roll angles and other controls.
The screen also links to a 360-degree camera to make parking a breeze in tight urban spaces or to assist when negotiating particularly tricky terrain while out exploring.
In addition, customers can control Ranger’s new exterior zone lighting system via the touchscreen or the FordPass app, which means they don’t have to work, camp or do anything in the dark.
There’s more storage too, with places to store and charge your phone wirelessly, as well as a large centre console bin. The door pockets are designed to carry more, the wide dash conceals an upper glovebox and there are storage bins under and behind the rear seats.
In the tray, a new, tough plastic-moulded bed-liner helps protect both the truck bed from scratches and owner’s knees from kneeling on a steel truck bed. Extra cargo tie down points – on strong steel tube rails – provide convenient points to secure loads.
Durable, flexible load box caps around the sides of the box and across the tailgate conceal structural attachment points for canopies and other aftermarket accessories. The Ranger also offers a new cargo management system designed with dividers to hold various items.
Owners also can create smaller compartments to store objects, which would otherwise have to go in the cab, using a system of ultra-strong spring-loaded cleats that clip into rails bolted to each side of the cargo box.
The tailgate can also double as a mobile work bench with clamp pockets to measure, grip and cut building materials. Further details, including local pricing, specifications will be revealed closer to its mid-2022 arrival in Australia.
The next generation Raptor will be revealed next year.