Ford put the global pick-up world on notice by revealing the smartest, most versatile and most capable Ranger ever - delivering an even more desirable pick-up partner for customers.
Using years of Ford truck expertise and deep understanding of truck customers, the company collaborated with customers around the globe to create a vehicle and ownership experience that next-gen Ford Ranger owners can rely on for their businesses, family lives and adventure.
"With Ranger, we've had a big extended family for decades," said Jim Farley, president and chief executive officer, Ford Motor Company. "This truck has always been a trusted partner to small business owners, farmers, families, adventurers, commercial fleets and so many more in more than 180 markets around the world. And with the new Ranger, this is our moment to deliver. Not just a product our customers will love, but an always-on experience that will help us build strong and lasting relationships with them. This is the midsize truck people will want to own and experience.
Order books for next-generation Ford Ranger will open in Europe in late 2022 for customer delivery in early 2023. The current Ranger is Europe's pick-up segment leader and recently set a new September year-to-date sales record of 45,539 units, with market share of 39.9 per cent.
"Ranger continues to go from strength to strength in Europe with record-breaking sales," added Hans Schep, general manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe. "The smartest, most capable, most versatile Ranger yet will deliver even more of the strength and style that we know customers value."
Living the Ranger Life
"We've really packed a lot into the next-generation Ranger to inspire owners to do more of what they love to do, with features that encourage them to explore new horizons," said Gary Boes, Enterprise Product Line Management director, Global Trucks. "We're truck owners too, and this passion for the Ranger lifestyle translates into a passion for the product. Ultimately, we want our customers' experience with the pick-up to enable and enhance their lifestyles."
Ford calls this "Living the Ranger Life," and it's something shared by every designer and engineer involved in creating the next-generation Ranger.
The next-gen Ranger project was led by Ford's Product Development Center in Australia. Its international team of dedicated designers and engineers worked with teams around the globe to not only incorporate the very latest in Ford technology, capability and safety, but to also engineer and test the Ranger to Ford's toughest standards.
"Our team was focused on one goal - to make this Ranger the toughest and most capable we've ever created," said Graham Pearson, Ranger vehicle program director. "They put it through one of the most exhaustive global testing schedules we've ever developed and would not rest until we were satisfied that it was Built Ford Tough."
New Look, New Capabilities
Customer input was key to developing the next-generation Ford Ranger's rugged new look. Ford spent a lot of time with owners around the globe, conducting more than 5,000 interviews and dozens of customer workshops to understand how customers used their pick-ups and what they wanted and expected in the new Ranger.
Visually, the next-generation Ford Ranger is bold and confident, with a purposeful exterior that shares Ford's global truck design DNA. The design 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 matrix 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, and prominent portrait-style centre touchscreen with Ford's signature SYNC™ 4 connectivity and entertainment system.
"Customers told us the Ranger needs to look tough and needs to inspire confidence," said Max Tran, chief designer for Ranger. "They were very clear in what Ranger should be, both in the way it looks, and the way it makes them feel."
Beneath the new bodywork is an upgraded chassis riding on a wheelbase 50 mm longer and a track 50 mm wider than the prior Ranger. A hydro-formed front-end structure creates more space in the engine bay for the new V6 engine and helps future-proof the Ranger for other propulsion technologies. It also opens up the front of the pick-up to allow more airflow to the radiator, which helps keep running temperatures low when towing or carrying heavy loads.
New powertrain choices
Customers wanted a choice of more power and torque for towing heavy loads and extreme off-roading, so the team added Ford's proven 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel and developed it for the Ranger. It is one of three turbodiesel engine options available at launch.
"The 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 delivers," said Pritika Maharaj, Ranger program manager. "When you drive a Ranger with the V6 turbodiesel, it feels like a much bigger truck. And it feels really tough in the sense that it's got endless power and torque, which is exactly what our customers wanted."
The next-gen Ford Ranger will also come with a choice of proven Single-Turbo and Bi-Turbo 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder diesels. The Single-Turbo comes in two different performance levels and delivers power, torque and fuel economy, which is important to small business owners or commercial vehicle fleets. The Bi-Turbo engine is a more sophisticated, performance variant for customers who want more power but need to maintain fuel economy.
"We know our customers push their Rangers to the extreme, so that's how we test them. We go the extra mile to make sure Ranger will do everything our customers want, over and over again," Maharaj said.
Improved ride and handling
To develop the ride and handling expected of a truck customers use for a wide range of work, family and play - engineers focused on the fundamentals.
"We have a really wide spectrum of customers," Pearson said. "On one end, you might have small business owners looking for very work-oriented transportation. They want traditional two-wheel drive with a single cab and a load box to transport their goods. At the extreme other end, you have the serious off-roaders who really push their Rangers to the limit with endurance races like the Dakar Rally. The next-gen Ranger will meet the needs of both types of customers and everyone in between."
Engineers moved the front wheels forward by 50 mm for a better approach angle and outboard for better off-road articulation, both of which improve the off-roading experience. 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.
"On the next-gen Ranger, we've increased the tuning range to give our customers the best of both worlds - think of this as Built Ford Tough Plus - so you've got the capability, toughness and durability that Ford trucks are known for, plus comfort and a more car-like ride that Ranger is known for," Pearson said.
Customers will have a choice of two four-wheel drive systems - an electronic shift-on-the-fly system, or an advanced new full-time four-wheel drive system with a reassuring set-and-forget mode, designed for capability when and where customers need it. Off-road recovery is made easier with prominent dual recovery hooks in the front bumper.
Customer-focused interior features
Customers wanted a flexible, modern cockpit that caters to both work and family duties. So, Ranger needs to serve as both a workspace and a haven, providing smart and connected features with more comfort and storage options than ever before.
"We know our customers are looking for a smart and functional interior space that feels comfortable. So, we set about designing it with a high level of well-integrated technology, clever functional storage and visual cues so the environment feels comfortable and spacious," Tran said.
The heart of the Ford 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 and is loaded with Ford's latest SYNC™ 4 system, which comes customer-ready with its voice-activated communications, entertainment and information systems. Additionally, there's an embedded factory-fitted FordPass Connect modem, allowing connectivity on the go when linked with the FordPass™ app, so customers can stay connected to their world. FordPass enhances the ownership experience with features like Remote Start, Vehicle Status, and remote lock and unlock functions via 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. With one button press, drivers can go to Ranger's dedicated screen for all off-road and drive modes where they can monitor the driveline, steering angle, vehicle pitch and roll angles and other controls.
The screen also is linked 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. Ranger technology will also be future-proofed to accept Ford Power-Up wireless software updates thanks to the embedded FordPass Connect modem.
"You'll find the interior plush but with the dual purpose of work and play in mind. The new short-throw e-shifter is central to the layout and is another example of where customers really guided our decision making," Tran said. "Customers overwhelmingly liked the e-shifter - they liked the fact that it looked higher-tech and that it was intuitive to use."
The design team also created clever storage and useful features for owners. There are not only places to store your phone or charge it wirelessly (where compatible), but there's a large centre console bin to stash things. In addition, 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.
Built to do more with better access, more functional space
"When we met with our customers and observed how they climbed up to the load box, we saw a big improvement opportunity," said Anthony Hall, Ranger vehicle engineering manager. "There were people stepping on the tyre and then going over the side of the truck or hoisting themselves onto the open tailgate."
That was the inspiration for creating an integrated side-step behind the rear tyres of the next-generation Ranger, to create a strong, more stable way for them to access the box. In addition, the Ranger team worked to ensure that a wider variety of cargo could fit and stay secure in the load box.
"Widening the truck by 50 mm may not seem like a lot, but it makes a huge difference, especially in the cargo box. It means that customers will be able to load flat some pretty fundamental items, such as a sheet of building plywood or a full-size pallet," Hall said.
Additional thoughtful, customer-focused touches include a new, tough plastic-moulded bedliner that helps protect both the truck bed from scratches and owners' 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.
In addition, Ford Ranger offers a new cargo management system designed with dividers to hold various sized items - like timber or toolboxes. 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 an integrated ruler and clamp pockets to measure, grip and cut building materials.
Zone lighting - controlled via the in-cabin SYNC™ screen or through the FordPass app - provides 360-degree lighting around the truck to help give customers better visibility around the vehicle. Load box lighting is provided under the left- and right-hand rails and provides plenty of light for finishing up jobs in low light or finding things in the cargo box at night.
Accessories to help you personalise
Customers in Europe will be able to personalise their next-gen Ranger from launch with a range of over 150 fully factory-backed work, urban and adventure accessories. These accessories include those developed in collaboration with global off-road icon, ARB 4x4 Accessories.
The next-generation Ford Ranger will be built at Ford's plants in Thailand and South Africa beginning in 2022.