With the economy coming out of the crapper, Ford dug down deep to produce a pick-up truck that could do battle with the negativity being thrown at it. That pick-up is the new generation Ford Ranger that is said to be more tough and more capable that ever before. It will include three body styles: 4x2 and 4x4 configurations, high- and low-ride models, and a broad series array. It will be sold in 180 markets on five continents.
This new model features a longer wheelbase and wider track than the previous models, and carries a short overhang with a tri-plane plan view. There are new larger headlamps, bigger mirrors, stamped-in wheel lips, a slight rear spoiler, and increased side mirrors.
The tough look of the exterior is carried in to the interior with borrowed elements from ergonomically-designed power tools like DEWALT 1. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Ranger is said to offer comfort levels found in passenger cars.with its contemporary look and feel. The pick-up’s interior design is easily adapted to any of the interior trims available with the cluster, heating and air conditioning controls, sound system, console, and door panels switching to match the trim levels.
Press release after the jump.
There’s no mistaking the all-new Ford Ranger’s Built Ford Tough credentials. Its powerful presence exudes capability, confidence and, more than ever, unexpected levels of spaciousness, comfort, craftsmanship and technology that will transform the pickup truck ownership experience.
The all-new model – destined to be sold in 180 markets on five continents – marks the complete transformation of the Ford Ranger: tough and more capable than ever, yet just as at home as a family vehicle with all the comforts, features and refinement for up to five occupants.
Ford is revealing an all-new Ford Ranger Double Cab model as the flagship in a progressive reveal of its comprehensive new range of pickup trucks. The all-new Ranger family will include three body styles, 4x2 and 4x4 configurations, high- and low-ride models and a broad series array to answer every pickup owner’s requirements – from hose-out work trucks to fully-featured personal vehicles.
The all-new Ford Ranger is the latest in a wave of global products coming from the One Ford product strategy – and is the first global pickup truck to extend the Built Ford Tough reputation that originated in the United States with the best-selling Ford F-Series lineup. The new Ranger exudes Built Ford Tough in its design yet conveys a taut, toned, contemporary sophistication that marks the importance of dual use – work and leisure – for compact pickup customers in many world markets.
It’s a hard-working truck designed to make its hard-working owner proud, according to chief designer, Craig Metros, a 24-year Ford veteran who has had an influential hand in Ford pickup design around the world.
“It’s not often in the pickup truck world that designers get the opportunity to re-invent a vehicle from the ground up,” he said.
Metros led the Australia-based design team that created the new model making its global debut today at the Australian International Motor Show. He previously served as design chief for the Ford F-150 in North America.
Metros characterises the powerful, confident design of the new Ford Ranger as ‘21st Century Tough’. It’s the result of a design process that answers pickup truck owners’ wants and expectations from all around the world.
“We explored a bandwidth ranging from Ford North America’s very traditional and much liked F-Series to influences from Europe’s very successful kinetic design language,” said Metros.
As the design team explored different design alternatives for the next-generation Ranger, one message – Ford Tough Trucks – resonated around the world. That inspired the ultimate shape of the new Ranger, which has shown remarkably consistent appeal in customer research globally.
“We believe the new Ranger has a dynamic balance that pushes Ford Tough Trucks into the future,” Metros said. “It looks very tough but not in the same geometric F-series approach. Instead, Ranger has its own contemporary appeal – its own approach to tough.”
One truck, different series
Designers focused on the conditions that Ranger would be subjected to in various regions of the world.
In Europe, Ranger is often used as a sport pickup. Top-of-the-range Limited and Wildtrak models are equipped with leather interiors, larger wheels and all the features you would find in a luxury car.
In others parts of the world, including Africa and central Asia, or among fleet buyers, Ranger trucks are for the most part strictly utilitarian, with a hose-out interior.
The all-new pickup’s styling uses proportions to suit every market. Ranger’s front end features a nice short overhang with a tri-plane plan view, creating a modern, aerodynamic look.
The beltline, along with the rails of the box, were raised significantly – increasing the vehicle’s functionality with a deeper load box. Designers sculpted the traditional square form of the truck to give the vehicle a more modern look.
Larger headlamps, bigger mirrors and stamped-in wheel lips (also known as fender or mudguard flares), rather than add-ons, provide an integrated look across all series, while contributing to an aggressive and sporty stance.
According to Metros, the entire front end of the vehicle, particularly the bonnet, proved to be very challenging due to pedestrian protection requirements. At the same time, aerodynamic requirements needed to be factored in to help reduce drag and boost fuel efficiency.
“The gains in fuel efficiency were made in small increments by efficient design and weight reduction,” said Metros. “We continually looked for small ways to gain a tenth here and two-tenths there. In the end, good design practices help extend Ranger’s fuel efficiency story.”
Designers added a power dome on the bonnet, an expression of the Ranger’s added capability. A small chamfer on the top enhances the power dome, a cue borrowed from Europe. The clamshell-shaped bonnet has a cutline in the fenders that helps provide a wide open engine bay. The cutline runs horizontally and provides a link to the headlamp and front fascia.
The design team worked closely with aerodynamicists. The fender, while sculptured, includes a hard line along the top. Aerodynamicists wanted to divide the air flow along the top and sides of the vehicle. At the top of the tailgate, a slight rear spoiler helps raise overall fuel efficiency.
Reductions in wind drag were achieved through improved mounting application of the windshield and backlight. Using the same leading-edge simulation technology as Formula One teams, aerodynamicists performed more than 1000 full-vehicle aerodynamic simulations to perfect the shape of the vehicle. The side mirrors were increased for better rear vision and were shaped to reduce wind noise, while special attention was paid to bring fit levels up to even higher standards.
Designers didn’t overlook the Ranger’s payload: the bed is taller, resulting in a larger load capacity. Despite the heightened size, the bed is easily accessible. Pockets above the wheel wells and along the side of the box allow truck owners to use timber inserts to carry full sheets of plasterboard or plywood.
The vehicle is sized perfectly for the narrow streets found in many parts of the world.
Comfortable, driver-oriented interior
Spacious and accommodating inside, the new Ranger offers a contemporary look and feel with features and comforts that are normally found in passenger cars. The new pickup truck reflects expectations for dual use – work and family – that unite truck owners around the world.
The new Ranger stretches its interior dimensions, applies a smart, flexible door architecture for better accessibility in different cab styles and brings new features and technology to customers. The design gives Ranger its amazing dual personality – from on-the-job capability to enjoyable time off with the family afterward.
Like the exterior, the new Ranger interior explores the Built Ford Tough design ethos and embraces new influences to achieve its contemporary personality. It is as expressive as it is functional, and more driver-oriented.
“We looked outside the automotive industry at contemporary designs in many consumer products,” Metros explained. “From power tools to wristwatches, we wanted to apply that same sort of ruggedness and purposeful styling to the interior.”
The team borrowed from the look of power tools from both BOSCH®1 and DEWALT®2 to bridge the gap between form and function. Through their design, these types of power tools convey strength and durability and are simple and ergonomic for the user.
Inside the instrument cluster, the G-Shock®3 watch was a major influence. “This approach encases delicate instruments within a strong protective housing. We were inspired by this design language as it applies to a tough truck, and created similar elements, including little chaplets to the outside of the cluster, to give it a more rugged appearance,” Metros said.
The centre section of the console is not simply purposeful but a beautifully designed component that houses the navigation screen, audio functions and controls for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
Housed within the console is a new short throw gear shifter on manual transmission models that reinforces the sporty nature of the interior design and Ranger’s fun-to-drive characteristics. A new, lever-style parking brake also has been adopted on the new Ranger for optimal driver orientation.
“The interior of the all-new Ranger has been comprehensively designed to be more driver focused in keeping with the dual purpose that it will see from consumers,” Metros added.
The modular design can be easily adapted to fit the varying interior trim in the Ranger series lineup. Through clever design, the cluster, heating and air conditioning controls, sound system, console and door panels can be switched to match the trim levels of the Ranger.
“Whether the new Ranger is utilitarian or top-of-the-line, the same contemporary design themes are carried throughout the interior,” Metros said. “The interior matches the exterior really well in its modern interpretation of Built Ford Tough.”
One of the keys to the new design was the ability of designers to stretch the interior dimensions without affecting the size of the cargo box.
Interior spaciousness and comfort
In customer clinics, reaction to the interior has been extremely positive. Respondents agreed that the spacious, comfortable Ranger interior feels more like a car than a pickup truck. This is partly because the hip-to-heel dimension has been increased to provide more comfort.
Special attention was paid to interior materials on all models, according to Debbie Pascoe, colour and trim manager.
“Selecting materials for a truck has its own unique set of criteria and requirements,” she said. “Materials have to not only look contemporary and stylish but they also have to be durable and able to withstand abuse and punishment in work use.”
Pickup drivers need space and want to be able to slide in and out of the vehicle easily. Controls and switches have to be larger so they can be easily used even if the driver is wearing work gloves.
Interior materials are subjected to constant abuse not seen in passenger cars. Seating materials take a beating from tools that are flung into the cabin or forgotten in a back pocket. Door panels must resist scuffing from boots laden with mud or concrete. Yet the new Ranger design team has achieved a contemporary look and feel that will appeal to the broad range of pickup truck customers.
“We haven’t forgotten that many of these trucks are used for work,” Pascoe says. “But with careful selection of colours and materials, coupled with contemporary styling, they can serve a dual purpose and be enjoyed by the family. The new Ranger interior proves that tough doesn’t have to mean rough.”
Regardless of whether the owner is buying a functional work truck or a top-of-the-line model with leather interior, the Ranger is more than capable of serving a dual role.
The Ranger product range will feature up to four additional series offerings beyond the Ranger XLT model revealed in Sydney. Pascoe said that when the full range of Ranger models is revealed, Ford’s strategy to configure the truck coherently to a very broad range of customer wants will be clear – with quality of materials and craftsmanship important at every level.
Ranger Double Cab also makes full use of its spaciousness, offering up to 20 different areas of interior storage. Door pockets can easily fit water bottles and, available on selected models, a deep centre console with venting from the air conditioner helps keep up to six beverage cans cool. The glove box is big enough for a laptop computer, and there are more places to stow mobile phones and other small items on the console.
Underneath the rear seats, a convenient hidden storage area for electronic items or small packages can easily be accessed. Available on selected models, a centre armrest in the rear seatback folds down and includes two cupholders.
All switches and primary controls are located within easy reach and are designed to help drivers keep their attention on the road with minimal distraction.
World premiere in Sydney
Metros is confident the all-new Ford Ranger, whose design process he led, will be one of the hits of the Australian International Motor Show. He hopes the news is closely watched by compact pickup owners around the world.
“With the new Ranger, we’ve progressed with a truck that is fresh, modern and right for the times,” he said. “This newest Ranger is modern, capable and dynamic, and at the same time lives up to its roots as a very rugged truck.”