A look at the designs Ford went through to create the fourth-generation Ranger ute.
Ford’s new Ranger is surely the most important model launch in Australia this decade for the blue oval. Considering the life its ute has breathed into sales locally since the Falcon left, Ford knows that it must get the Ranger perfect.
The fourth-generation Ranger brings a completely revised appearance and despite the merit of systems such as Mitsubishi’s full-time 4×4 system which are unique and innovative in the ute market, it is also looks that go a long way to swoon some buyers.
Ford has shared many images of its new ute, including the sketches and renderings that helped carve the new Ranger.
The exterior at the front features a completely new look similar to the American market Ford F150 pick-up’s, with distinctive daytime running lights and optional LED headlights. The taillights are the rear might not be so characteristic, but have undergone a comprehensive rework to match the new tailgate.
“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.”
Inside, the Ranger gets a redesigned dash with new materials; automatic models will feature a cut-down e-shifter’ gear selector with an electronic parking brake.
There’s also a fully digital instrument cluster with customisable views, including information from navigation to pitch angle of the vehicle, as well as the six new driving modes (similar to those found in the current Ranger Raptor) that are programmed into the touchscreen. For safer off-roading and easier parking, the Ranger will also get a 360-degree camera.
“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.
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,” said Tran. “Customers overwhelmingly liked the e-shifter – they liked the fact that it looked higher-tech and that it was intuitive to use.”
At 50mm wider than the current model, Ford has not only re-engineered the Ranger’s suspension (placing the dampers beyond the frame of the vehicle for better ride comfort and performance) but also increased the capacity of the load bed to accommodate pallets and other materials more easily.
The tailgate features the ‘Ranger’ stamp across it and will also include an on-board measuring ruler and clamps to help tradespeople in their jobs; there’s also a 400-watt on-board inverter, a flexible cargo dividing system and plastic capping to protect the bodywork.
According to Anthony Hall, Vehicle Engineering Manager for the new Ranger: “We’ve provided a lot of features within the drop-in bed liner that allow customers to effectively create any number of combinations of different segregated areas, either laterally or longitudinally.
“You can create a number of individual dividers to help secure a load. If you have only got a small load that you want to keep in the back, in the middle, or keep to the sides, or put in readily accessible items such as gloves and tie-down straps, you can use the divider and keep them in a confined space so you know where they are. You can even split the load box vertically, and almost make an artificial shelf to keep stuff underneath.”
Hall also says that Ford has “added side lamps inside the load box, just underneath the left and right-hand rails, central along the load box itself. The lighting energy in those lamps and their proximity to the cargo area really allows you to light up what you’re either working on or what you’re trying to load or unload.”
Practicality has been at the heart of this new truck’s development, according to the brand, and as a result the new Ranger’s rear bumper now also incorporates new side steps to help with access to the load bed.