Full specifications are yet to be made available, but Ford has released details and images for the next generation Ford Ranger. Vanarama’s Van Expert Tim Cattlin attended the virtual press launch, and picked out all the gossip we need right now...
OK – let’s start by managing expectations here. Ford has been pretty nifty in unveiling the replacement for the current Ranger. With order books not open until well into 2022 and the trucks not appearing in showrooms until 2023 it’ll be quite some time until the first lucky Vanarama customer takes delivery of their shiny new pick up.
Why have they done this so early? Well, perhaps hopeful that potential customers will have their appetites whetted enough to wait, and not dash out and buy or lease a competitor vehicle. Some might possibly suggest that they’ve done this to steal a march on Volkswagen. The Ranger is the result of a joint venture with the German company, and you can expect to see their version, badged as the Amarok in due course.
So, what’s new? Well, specific details are a little sparse. As this was a ‘global reveal’ Ford are at pains to stress that specification will differ between countries. So for now, we’re unsure if names like ‘Wildtrak’ will remain, and what level of equipment each trim level will come with. Some of the features we’re going to mention here might not be standard on every truck, and may not even make our shores.
Although the exterior of the truck is ‘all new’ clearly the thing you’re going to notice first is the new grille with ‘C-clamp’ (their words) daytime running lights. There’s a definite hint of the American F-150 truck here. Wider wheel arches give the new Ranger a bolder stance and presence and the tailgate has RANGER firmly stamped into it. There’s a rather nice sculpted line along the side of the vehicle too.
Ever tried to climb into the loadbay of a pickup? It’s not that easy and so Ford has included a handy step just behind the rear wheel which will make all the difference to those who have to hop in and out of the back multiple times a day.
The chassis has been modified but seems to have been inherited from current generation Ranger. The wheelbase is 50mm longer and the track (width) 50mm wider.
Other than this, it’s probably fair to say that if you removed the grille the new Ranger doesn’t look hugely different to the one we know and love, although to be fair to the designers, scope to make a practical 1 tonne pickup look radically different is somewhat limited by the simple requirement of a load bed, cabin and somewhere to put the engine.
Engines and Transmissions:
First off – there’s no electric or hybrid version yet. This might come as some surprise but bearing in mind the practical implications about making an electrified pickup viable (particularly when it comes to payloads and towing, two critical requirements for many operators) this might not come as a huge surprise. For more on this subject, take a peek at our feature Where Are All The Electric Pickups?
The big news is the return of a larger diesel engine option, a 3.0 litre V6 unit. Despite rumours to the contrary, this isn’t a Volkswagen product, the engine will be manufactured in Dagenham and is already used in the F-150. If you don’t need all this (yet to be quantified but no doubt it’ll be impressive) power, the 2.0 litre EcoBlue single and twin turbo diesel units used in the current generation Ranger will continue but again, the available outputs are still to be confirmed.
You’ll have the choice of 6-speed manual and 6 or 10-speed automatic gearboxes. As the 10-speed is currently available coupled to the 2.0 litre engines in current Ranger, our guess is that the 6-speed will be offered with the 3.0 litre V6 lump.
Which wheels are driven is just a little bit important on a pickup. It would seem that most, if not all new Rangers will have 4-wheel drive as standard, as you might expect. Ford has stated that 2, 4-wheel drive options will be offered. To quote the press release ‘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’. I guess we’ll have to wait for some more detail to see how these options differ and work in practice.
The Cab and Tech
The plush new cab is dominated by a portrait, Tesla style 10.1” touchscreen which can be upgraded to 12”. It’s accompanied by a digital instrument panel, a first for any Ranger. The screen is home to Ford’s SYNC4 multimedia offering, and as with pretty much every Ford commercial vehicle the Ranger will have an embedded modem allowing access to the FordPass Connect remote monitoring and in-cab WiFi service. A wireless charging pad for phones means no more cables trailing across the cab.
When you come to drive away, you’ll notice that the new Ranger has an electronic parking brake for the first time, although we think that this might be something that some of the more die hard, traditionalist pick up drivers working in rural environments might initially mistrust. There’s an E-Shifter which replaces the conventional mechanical gear lever which will be interesting to see in action, and new Ranger will have the 6 selectable drive mode facility which was previously only available on Raptor.
In double-cab versions, the rear seats have a fold-flat function, allowing for additional or weather sensitive loads to be carried in lieu of passengers.
So that’s pretty much it so far. No doubt more details will be available nearer launch but, if you can’t wait and need a Ford Ranger sooner, why not head over and have a look at the great lease deals from Vanarama on the current generation Ford Ranger.