Back to the basics

Back to the basics

Ford's new Ranger and Everest companion offer the bold, tough look customers crave. Tech upgrades and a more spacious, comfortable interior are added bonuses

Ford has recently released photos and details of its all-new Ranger pickup that will be officially launched in Thailand early next year.

The new Ranger and its Everest PPV (Pickup Passenger Vehicle) derivative is designed in Australia but will be produced in Thailand and South Africa. The American automaker has just announced a US$900 million (30.1 billion baht) investment for new technologies and systems at its two Thai assembly plants in preparation for production of these new models.

According to Ford, the next-gen Ranger has been designed using a significant amount of information collected from current Ranger customers worldwide, including Thailand, Australia, South America, Europe, China, Saudi Arabia and North America, to see how they use their pickups on a daily basis.

The development team conducted more than 5,000 interviews and made more than 1,800 pages of field notes for reference, which helped with development, guiding both engineers and designers to build a pickup with the features and capability customers want.

Exterior design

One thing that customers agreed on was that they wanted a truck that has a bold and "built tough" look.

Ford's new philosophies include features that customers want and value to ensure that the vehicle is appealing, modern and as versatile as can be.

The new box step in the rear bumper, for example, is a direct result of customer feedback on having better accessibility to the cargo area -- they also wanted a wider cargo area that can accommodate a full-width pallet in the tray.

The new Ranger's design includes much athleticism, with strong and muscular surface treatments. Highlights include the new front grille with its striking C-clamp headlights, daytime running lights and strong horizontal upper grille bar, plus pronounced wheel arches, strong shoulder line and large sculpted Ranger logo on the tailgate.

At the rear, the lights are designed with the graphics of the C-clamp headlight treatment. The new truck is also larger, coming with a 50mm increase in track and 50mm longer wheelbase than the current Ranger.

Interior design

The cabin of the new Ranger has been remarkably improved over its ageing predecessor, featuring user-friendly electronics and increased space. Ford said the goal was to create an interior that is as striking as the exterior.

There are considerable soft-touch materials while the new instrument panel adopts a "coast-to-coast" design. Several design cues are carried over from the exterior: the air vent vanes feature a similar design to those in the front grille, and several exterior surface treatments have been adapted for interior use.

The centre console comes with either a 10.1-inch or 12-inch high-resolution touchscreen that complements the digital instrument cluster. Ford said that customers preferred the screen's portrait orientation because it creates enough space for navigation screens while also leaving room in the lower portion of the screen for other menus, like those for climate and entertainment controls.

An e-shifter has been picked for the automatic transmission. Ford initially created a rotary dial gear selector, but customers preferred the short-throw e-shifter because it boosts the truck's high-tech appeal.

The door release handles are integrated into the "coast-to-coast" dashboard design, making them easier to use. They are mounted lower to provide easier reach to window switches and armrests.

The seats get new bolsters and foam inserts that are more stylish and promise higher comfort levels. The second-row seats now fold flat and feature under-seat storage.

Rear passenger seats have heating and cooling outlets at the rear of the centre console -- that's something missing in the current-gen Range. The front- and rear-door pockets offer more storage space.

WHAT'S NEW ON THE OUTSIDE?

1. NEW EXTERIOR

Dramatic new appearance, broader stance, bigger grille, and iconic "C-clamp" daytime running lights with matrix LED technology. A redesigned tailgate with the word RANGER embossed on it, as well as a choice of LED taillights, which contribute to the truck's tough demeanor.

2. BUILT FORD TOUGH

Global testing from sub-zero to 50C temperatures to ensure it is rugged and capable. High-strength steel frame and steel body ensure the "Built Tough" reputation.

3. ENHANCED OFF-ROAD CAPABILITY

Two different four-wheel-drive systems and selectable drive modes for improved off-roading performance. The rear dampers are moved outboard to yield a more comfortable ride, whether for transporting a heavy pallet, towing, trailering a camper or simply taking the family for a spin.

4. PREMIUM POWERTRAINS

There is a choice of 2.0-litre turbodiesels in single- and bi-turbo configurations (which is expected to be offered for Thailand) or a new powerful 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6, and a 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol engine. There's also a choice of six-speed manual or automatic and a 10-speed automatic transmission.

5. DUAL RECOVERY HOOKS

Twin attachment points offer flexible recovery options while driving off-road, and the ability to use balance straps during snatch recoveries in deep sand and muddy areas.

6. CARGO MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Takes the hassle out of stowing items safely and securely. It gives customers organisation and storage solutions to secure cargo.

7. TAILGATE WORK SURFACE

An available tailgate work surface provides a built-in ruler and cupholders.

8. LOAD BOX ACCESS STEP

Loading or unloading cargo is easier to manage, thanks to the new, integrated sidestep.

9. ZONE LIGHTING

Allows the owner to control individual exterior lights either through the SYNC 4 screen or from the FordPass smartphone app.

10. POWER TO THE BOX

400W of available power and an AC outlet in the tray.

11. CLAMP POCKETS

New clamp pockets are built into the tailgate, to hold materials down for clean cuts and precision work. Spring-loaded caps cover the pockets when not in use.

12. BOX TOP AND TAILGATE PROTECTIVE CAPPING

Durable plastic caps protect the load box edges and tailgate upper edge from damage from gear and cargo. Canopy or crossbars can be fitted by removing the access caps to reveal the structural attachment points.

13. BEDLINER WITH FUNCTIONAL DIVIDER LOCATORS

Moulded slots in the bedliner allow owners to fit dividers to customise the load box, preventing stuff from sliding around while on the move.

14. ACCESSORIES

There are almost 600 accessories to choose from, many of them in collaboration with ARB.

15. DUAL BATTERY CAPABILITY

Extra space to install a second battery under the bonnet for powered camping and work appliances.

WHAT'S NEW ON THE INSIDE?

1. NEW INTERIOR

The cabin is completely redesigned with technology and functionality along with more premium materials, more colour choices and more storage.

2. LARGE DIGITAL GAUGE CLUSTER

A new customisable digital instrument panel with up-to-date graphics and animation. It responds to the truck's selectable drive modes and displays truck data and off-roading information as well as turn-by-turn navigation.

3. HIGH-RESOLUTION TOUCHSCREEN DISPLAY WITH SYNC 4

The standard 10.1- or available 12-inch high-resolution portrait-oriented display allows for split screen app or feature viewing.

4. E-SHIFTER & ELECTRIC PARKING BRAKE

New design with short-throw e-shifter and electric parking brake.

5. DRIVE MODES

Six available drive modes — a feature that was previously only offered on the Ranger Raptor.

6. FORD POWER-UP SOFTWARE UPDATES

Over-the-air updates for preventative maintenance or improved performance.

7. REAR SEAT FLEXIBILITY

Double cab fold-flat rear seats with under-seat storage and a storage space behind the rear seats.

8. 360-DEGREE CAMERA WITH SPLIT-VIEW DISPLAY

Provides overview of what's in front and what's behind the vehicle, while a top-down view helps with parking and avoiding obstacles near the vehicle.

9. WIRELESS CHARGING

Wireless charging pad allows owners to use Bluetooth SYNC phone features while charging.

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