The current Ford Ranger has been on the market since 2011, including the extensive 2015 facelift. You don’t notice his old age in the sales figures until the end. Not only in Germany and Europe it is by far the best-selling off-road truck. In the more important flatbed markets such as Australia or South Africa, he regularly competes for first place with the Toyota Hilux. Only recently, Ford added three new special models. The next generation of the Ranger, it will be the fourth since 1998, will give the whole thing a new twist. Because the new Ford pick-up not only looks completely different, it also relies on more luxury both in terms of equipment and drive.
In the video: The new features in the Ford Ranger
The trend towards the edge is not entirely new, now the Ford Ranger has also joined this club. Flat surfaces with sharp edges instead of rounded arches define the entire body, which is almost a bit in the Minecraft block design. The front is an interesting mix of styles of Ford Bronco radiator grille and Ford F150 headlight design, the characteristic daytime running lights that are curved around the headlights give the ranger a face in the crowd.
The rear design is also quite expressive. This is always particularly difficult with pick-ups because the function – loading area with tailgate – largely dictates the form and the design is therefore relatively similar across the brands. Ford takes the route here via a heavily structured tailgate with a three-dimensional shape, embossed model lettering and a strong curvature in the manner of a spoiler edge towards the top. As with the headlights, the rear lights are also framed by an LED strip. The bracket behind the cabin of the premiere vehicle, which is very likely an optional extra, is relatively narrow and should only be used for visual purposes; the plastic part does not have a protective function.
Much has recently been speculated about the use of a plug-in hybrid drive for the Ford Ranger, especially since the brand – see for example Ford Explorer – definitely has a suitable drive train on its shelf. For the time being, however, there will be nothing with a charging plug in the pick-up, it will remain (outside of the USA) with diesel engines.
Ford has not yet released any information about the exact data and performance levels at the premiere, but you don’t have to speculate too much. There will still be a single turbo and a bi-turbo diesel engine with a displacement of two liters. Depending on the equipment line, these currently deliver 130 and 170 hp (single turbo) and 213 hp (bi-turbo). Little to nothing is expected to change in these numbers.
New in the league, however, is a worthy successor to the 3.2-liter five-cylinder, the former top engine, which many Ranger fans have missed. A V6 diesel with a displacement of three liters will replace them in the future. Officially, there is no further information on this either. And here, too, there is no need to puzzle too much. The “Powerstroke” diesel, which for a short time also drove the large Ford F-150 in the USA, is perfect for this job. In the current version, this machine has 186 kW / 253 PS and a maximum torque of 597 Newton meters . You will also be able to adjust to these values with the Ranger with a three-liter V6.
With this, the Ranger brings back a few arguments against the main competitor Toyota Hilux, which last had a good job with its new 2.8-liter engine. And the topic of plug-ins is still not off the table. Because in the information about the new Ranger, Ford writes slightly cryptically that enough space has been created under the bonnet to accommodate “other drive components that might be added later”. So when it comes to plug connections, the last word has not yet been spoken.
The drive options
Depending on the engine, there are a total of three different transmission options to choose from. The manual transmission and the optional automatic transmission in the basic versions with single turbo each have six gears. With the bi-turbo, only the manual transmission has six gears; if you order an automatic here, you get one with ten gears. The automatic system for the V6 also has ten levels, where it is installed as standard.
There is also news with all-wheel drive. There will also be an all-wheel drive as standard. This means that the Ford Ranger only drives with rear-wheel drive in everyday life. If the all-wheel drive is switched on, both axles are rigidly connected to each other, which is why this option can only be used for surfaces with high levels of slippage, for example off-road or in snow. On firm ground, the drivetrain tensions in curves because of the lack of speed compensation.
Because of this problem, Ford is now adding another drive system to choose from in the new Ranger. In the information on the new model, Ford writes about permanent all-wheel drive, but does not reveal any further details about the technology – whether it is an automatically engaged all-wheel drive or one with a central differential in the transfer case remains unclear for the time being. The interior picture shows that the drive selector switch has an additional switch position, which is marked with “4A”, which suggests an automatic all-wheel drive.
The increase in length and width is 50 millimeters. First of all with the wheelbase, which is pushed apart by the aforementioned five centimeters, which moves the front axle further to the front. A slight improvement in the front approach angle is a side effect. At the same time, the gauge of the Ford Ranger has increased by 50 millimeters, which means that it is correspondingly wider and has a fuller feel on the road. These 50 millimeters also benefit the loading area, which is also 50 millimeters wider. After Ford writes of no increase in length of the flatbed, the 1.58 meter long loading area of the double cabin should grow to a width of around 1.61 meters.
In the video: Ranger Erlkönig
This was the biggest construction site for the new generation, the previous Ranger seemed increasingly old in terms of design and functionality. Now modernity is moving in, which is evident not only in the overall design, but also in numerous details. More and larger storage spaces in the doors and the center console, a new storage compartment on the dashboard, a charging pad for inductive power supply of smartphones, several USB-C sockets, fully digital instruments.
The style-defining feature is the Tesla-style multimedia screen, which is mounted on edge and is available in 10 and 12 inch sizes. It not only looks like a modern electric car, it also offers numerous functions from the new world. The latest edition of Ford Sync with version number 4 is used, which premiered in Europe in the Ford Mustand Mach-E. This is accompanied by an integrated data modem for online services and voice control. A number of switches that were previously physically present now move into the virtual representation on the screen, including the control of the driving programs.
The monitor also provides various new displays, such as a 360-degree view of the cameras and special additional information when the terrain programs are activated (including power distribution, steering angle). Individual functions such as status queries or door locking can be controlled remotely via a smartphone app (FordPass), and exterior lighting can also be controlled via the app (and the central control monitor). In addition, the automatic models should have a remote start function for the engine – the current information does not yet indicate whether this special function will also be available in Europe.
The loading area
A special innovation for the platform are the steps integrated in the side wall, which are located in the lower rear end of the vehicle. This makes it easier to access the load without having to laboriously shimmy over the loading flap. The loading flap itself should also be able to serve as a kind of workbench, for this purpose clamping devices and a measuring line are integrated. Additional lighting is integrated into the sides of the loading area.
Clamping rails are integrated in the side walls of the loading area for fastening and securing loads, and Ford also mentions a variable separation system for the loading area, which has not yet been described in detail, in order to securely fix tool boxes and the like, for example. The loading area itself is given a robust plastic coating, which means that the protective tubs from the range of accessories that used to be used should be superfluous.
The new Ranger will be the basis for the VW Amarok
All of this should also be of great interest to fans and owners of the VW Amarok, because VW engineers are also on board in the development of the future new Ford Ranger. The Ford Ranger will form the basis for the upcoming VW Amarok; VW boss Diess had already specified the corresponding cooperation in early 2020 with a teaser image.
Production of the VW Amarok in Germany was stopped in summer 2020, and the VW pick-up has not been available as a new car in Germany since then. However, it will be a little longer before the Ranger-based successor to Amarok takes the stage. For the VW Amarok II, it should probably be at the beginning of 2023 at the earliest.
Premiere and sales start
While series production of the Ranger in Thailand will start quite soon, the Europeans will have to wait a little longer. The left-hand drive models come from Ford’s Silverton Plant in Pretoria, South Africa, which was recently modernized for over a billion dollars. The previous models are currently still rolling off the assembly line. According to Ford, the start of orders for Germany will begin at the end of 2022 and the first deliveries will come at the beginning of 2023.
Now the special model, sophisticated technology, affordable price
Wait for the new ranger, he’ll definitely get a lot better
With the new Ranger, Ford presents a remarkably advanced pick-up that eliminates many of the smaller deficiencies of the predecessor, especially in the interior and in operation. How many of the equipment features now presented will be part of the series standard – for example the fully digital instruments or the central control display – remains to be seen until Ford reveals more details. In the inexpensive entry-level versions, you will probably have to do without one or the other feature. Many customers should be pleased that permanent all-wheel drive and a new top-of-the-range V6 engine will also be available in the future. And the option of a PHEV drive does not seem to be off the table yet.
From a German perspective, it will be doubly exciting because the future Amarok will also be based on Ranger technology. Until then, however, it will be a long dry spell for Amarok fans who have to wait more than a year for a new model after the previous Amarok disappeared from the market a long time ago.