By Franky Johnson
Ford unveiled its new tough and smart Ford Ranger recently, setting a new benchmark in the pickup truck segment with an uncompromised blend of robust capability, craftsmanship, and advanced technology. Starting later this year, an updated range of the truck will take on the world in more than 180 markets worldwide.^
“The new Ford Ranger brings a new level of comfort and refinement to its segment without compromising on the rugged capability that our customers demand,” said Brett Wheatley, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford Asia Pacific. “It represents a smarter kind of tough and will help our customers to achieve more, whether at work or with their families.”
Featuring a new look front end, and a stylish, smart and functional new interior, the new Ranger builds upon a reputation of capability, innovation and comfort that has helped the Ranger to stand apart from traditional pickup trucks. It also boasts an array of new cutting-edge technologies that enable new and more practical solutions to everyday challenges.
“When we set out to improve upon the Ford Ranger, we knew we had our work cut out for us: The current Ranger is one of the toughest, most capable trucks out there,” said Richard Tilley, vehicle line director, Ford Asia Pacific. “But thanks to our proud truck heritage and global expertise in the utility segment, we’ve made what was great even better, with a bold new look, improved efficiency and a new level of refinement.”
Tough and modern designThe changes to the Ranger begin with an updated exterior design. A bold, more modern look lends Ranger a powerful presence on the road, and immediately conveys a sense of capability.
A more muscular hood flows into a strong new trapezoidal grille while imposing projector headlamps make the truck instantly recognizable, with a bold, technical look.
“When you look at how our customers use their vehicles, it’s important that a Ranger looks and functions as a tough, dependable tool,” said Dave Dewitt, exterior design manager, Ford Asia Pacific. “We saw an opportunity to give the design extra tension and to emphasize Built Ford Tough design elements like the outboard nostrils – all while maintaining the Ranger’s excellent aerodynamic characteristics.”
The updated exterior has been combined with a stylish new interior that creates an even more comfortable, contemporary and car-like environment for the driver and passengers. Strong horizontal lines run across the width of the cab, giving a sense of openness, and framing the central eight-inch touchscreen. Behind the steering wheel, a new dual-TFT instrument cluster provides drivers with information about the vehicle, as well as entertainment, navigation and climate control details at a glance.
“The interior of the new Ranger is sleek and modern, with a strong technical aspect to it,” said Dewitt. “Accentuating the design, we’ve chosen materials that are stylish and attractive while being durable enough to handle the harsh life of a work truck. The interior may look more car-like, but it’s as practical as ever.”
Capability and refinementThe Ford Ranger remains one of the most capable trucks in its class. With a class-leading ability to wade through water up to 800 mm deep, and with 230 mm of ground clearance, it is designed and engineered to handle the most extreme terrains with ease. Thanks to a 28-degree approach angle and 25-degree departure angle, drivers in the new Ranger can feel confident when taking on steep obstacles.
A robust electronically controlled transfer case allows drivers in 4x4 models to shift on the fly from 4x2 to 4x4 high with a knob on the center console. For low-speed torque or additional downhill braking, drivers can also engage low-range 4x4 gearing while an electronic locking rear differential helps to improve traction in difficult conditions. These off-road strengths are matched by towing capability of up to 3,500 kg and exceptional payload capacity.
The Ranger achieves all this with a level of refinement not usually seen in the pickup truck segment. While the current Ranger already sets the standard for ride and handling, Ford engineers fine-tuned its suspension for additional comfort and even better handling.
The driving experience is further enhanced by an electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) system, which provides precise steering with a natural and confident feel. With EPAS, steering is light and manageable for low-speed maneuvering, such as parking, and precise at higher speeds – with assistance varying as necessary based on speed, steering wheel angle, cornering forces and acceleration or deceleration. By eliminating the power steering pump used in a traditional power steering system, EPAS also results in a quieter vehicle and improves fuel efficiency by about three percent.
Engineers also fitted the new Ranger with advanced sound-deadening materials and improved insulation for one of the quietest and most comfortable cabin interiors in its class.
Advanced TechnologyA host of cutting edge technology is available on the new Ford Ranger to help drivers stay connected and in control.
SYNC 2, the latest generation of Ford’s in-car connectivity system, gives drivers smarter and safer ways to stay connected. Using natural voice commands, like “temperature 20 degrees”, “play AC/DC” or “I’m hungry”, the driver can control the car’s climate controls, entertainment system and navigation system more easily than ever before. An eight-inch touchscreen places more controls at the driver’s fingertips, with color-coded corners for easy menu navigation.
For extra convenience, the new Ranger features a 240-volt power socket that can be used to power a laptop computer anywhere, from a work site to a family road trip.
There is also an array of driver assist technologies that help to make your drive more convenient.
- Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid work together to help to prevent the driver from unintentionally drifting out of a lane when driving at high speeds. If the forward-facing camera detects the vehicle is straying from its lane, Lane Keeping Alert warns the driver with a vibration in the steering wheel. If no action is taken to correct the drift, Lane Keeping Aid applies steering torque to guide the vehicle back into its lane
- Adaptive Cruise Control makes use of radar sensors to maintain both a preset speed as well as a preset distance from the vehicle ahead. When the system detects a vehicle ahead, it decelerates automatically to maintain a safe distance. It accelerates back to the driver’s preset cruising speed when the road ahead clears. An adjustable speed limiter helps drivers avoid unintentionally exceeding their selected speed
- Forward Alert works with Adaptive Cruise Control to give drivers a visual and audible warning when the gap to a vehicle ahead drops below a safe distance. The system also charges the brakes to ensure optimum braking performance
- Front and Rear Park Assist uses sensors to detect obstacles and provide audible warnings when the vehicle approaches obstructions at low speeds, such as when parking. A rear-view camera gives a clear view behind the vehicle, giving greater confidence when parking and hitching up a trailer
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System helps drivers to stay safe and save fuel by alerting them when tire pressure is too low
- Electronic Stability Program with rollover mitigation and trailer sway control helps to keep the vehicle under control even in adverse conditions
- Driver Impairment Monitor uses the forward-facing camera and on-board sensors to detect if the driver is drowsy. If it notices signs such as drifting off course and sudden corrective steering inputs, the system warns the driver with gradually louder signals
- In markets where it is available, Emergency Assistance uses a Bluetooth-paired and connected phone to call local emergency services in the event of a serious collision. The system communicates details of the accident and your vehicle’s location, and then opens the line to let you speak directly with responders
- Other smart technologies on the new Ranger include Hill Launch Assist, to help you confidently start off from a slope, whether in forward or reverse; Hill Descent Control, which uses the traction control system to help you descend steep slopes at a constant speed; Adaptive Load Control, which adjusts the Electronic Stability Control system based on vehicle load; and Emergency Brake Assistance, which provides additional pressure to the brake system to increase braking force when you apply the brakes quickly in an emergency situation
Efficient PowerThe new Ranger’s impressive power, capability, and payload and towing capacity are made possible thanks to powerful and efficient engines paired to either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. All four engines available provide Ranger customers a winning combination of power and efficiency in all conditions, and help to underscore Ford’s fun-to-drive promise.
For maximum power and torque for heavy-duty towing, Ford is offering the latest generation of its globally proven 3.2-liter Duratorq five-cylinder TDCi diesel engine. Upgrades including an updated exhaust gas recirculation system help to improve fuel efficiency by up to 18 percent, while still putting out 147 kW of power and 470 Nm of torque.
Equipped with the latest generation of Ford’s 2.2-liter Duratorq four-cylinder TDCi diesel engine, the Ranger delivers significantly improved fuel efficiency and refinement while also providing the power Ranger customers demand. Depending on the market, Ford will offer a standard 2.2-liter engine, which generates an improved 118 kW of power and 385 Nm of torque, or a high-efficiency (96 kW) variant for up to 22 percent improvement in fuel economy.
The new Ranger is also available with Ford’s dependable 2.5-liter Duratec petrol engine, providing 122 kW of power and 225 Nm of torque.
Maximizing the efficiency of its engines, the new Ford Ranger is available with Automatic Start/Stop Technology, which saves fuel by shutting off the engine when the vehicle is idling, such as at a stop light, improving fuel economy by up to 3.5 percent. On the move, an available longer final drive ratio boosts fuel economy at highway speeds.
The new Ranger will be launched in South Africa in the fourth quarter of 2015. SA specs and pricing will be confirmed closer to launch.