Following an extensive teaser campaign, Ford has finally whipped the covers off the next-generation Ranger, with the new version of the Blue Oval brand’s double-cab bakkie boasting a bold exterior design, fresh tech, “improved” ride and handling, and the choice of three turbodiesel engines. 

Ranger
Bold grille dominates front facia.

Visually, the new Ranger shares Ford’s global bakkie design DNA. The front facia features a bold new grille, flanked by C-shaped headlamps. A first for a Ranger, the latter items can be specified with Matrix LED units. At launch, trim levels include XLT, Sport and Wildtrak. 

“Customers told us the Ranger needs to look tough … and inspire confidence”

“Customers told us the Ranger needs to look tough … and 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.”

Ranger
C-shaped headlamps and daytime-running lights.

Inside, the cabin is dominated by a large touch-enabled display. The portrait-orientated touchscreen infotainment system is available in two sizes, 10.1- and 12-inches, and incorporates Ford’s latest Sync4 software. The latter system features a factory-fitted modem, allowing on-the-go connectivity when linked to the FordPass application. According to the Blue Oval brand, this app “enhances” the ownership experience with features. Remote start, vehicle-status check, and remote locking/unlocking functionality can now be operated via smartphone. The “customer-focused” features further include a fully digital instrument panel. 

Ranger
Inside, a large touchscreen takes centre stage. Note the redesigned gear selector.

“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.

“We set about designing it with a high level of well-integrated technology”

Tran added: “You’ll find the interior plush but with the dual purpose of work and play in mind. The new short-throw-shifter is central to the layout and is another example of where customers really guided our decision making.”

Ranger
“Plus” interior. Note the orange contrast stitching on the Wildtrak model.

Under the bonnet, the biggest news is the addition of a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel. “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 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 delivers”

Single- and twin-turbo 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engines will also be on offer. The single-turbo unit will be available in two states of tune. The firm’s 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-pot will also be on offer. Ford’s 10-speed automatic and six-speed self-shifter will be on offer, as will a six-speed manual ‘box.

Driving modes selector.

According to Ford, when developing the ride and handling, its engineers focused on the “fundamentals”. The firm has moved the front wheels forward by 50 mm and outboard for a “better” approach angle and odd-road articulation. The rear suspension dampers have been shifted outboard to “give drivers and passengers a better ride both on- and off-road”. 

Ranger
Front wheels moved forward by 50 mm.

“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,” said Graham Pearson, Ranger vehicle program director. 

“When we reimagined the Ranger, we set out to create more than just a great new pickup truck; we set out to design a great experience as well,” said Dianne Craig, president of Ford’s International Market Group.

The next-generation model will arrive in SA come 2022.