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Next-gen Ford Ranger packs high-tech features

The next generation of the Ford Ranger delivers smart connectivity and a new tablet-style centre touchscreen infotainment system.

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Ford has announced major technology updates for the next-generation Ranger pick-up truck.

“With Ranger, we’ve had a big extended family for decades,” said Jim Farley, president and CEO. “This truck has always been a trusted partner to small business owners, farmers, families, adventurers, commercial fleets and so many more in more than 180 markets around the world. And with the new Ranger, this is our moment to deliver. Not just a product our customers will love, but an always-on experience that will help us build strong and lasting relationships with them. This is the midsize truck people will want to own and experience.”

Ford has also outlined its “always-on” commitment to customers, with a host of services centred around convenience on their terms. Depending on market, these include service pickup and delivery, a Ranger Concierge program, and streamlined online service booking options, to name a few.

“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,” says Dianne Craig, president of Ford’s International Markets Group. “We are a family company, and we want our customers to feel like part of our family. The vehicle sale is just the beginning of our journey together.”

Customer input was key to developing the next-generation Ranger’s rugged new look. Ford spent a lot of time with owners around the globe, conducting more than 5,000 interviews and dozens of customer workshops to understand how customers used their pickups and what they wanted and expected in the new Ranger.

Visually, the next-generation Ranger is bold and confident, with a purposeful exterior that shares Ford’s global truck design DNA. The design features a defined new grille, and signature C-clamp headlight treatment at the front while a subtle shoulder line down the sides incorporates bolder wheel-arches that gives Ranger a sure-footed stance. For the first time, Ford Ranger offers matrix LED headlights. At the back, the taillights are designed in harmony with the signature graphics on the front. Inside, the car-like cabin steps up, using premium soft-touch materials, and a prominent portrait-style center touchscreen with Ford’s signature SYNC i 4 connectivity and entertainment system.

Beneath the new bodywork is an upgraded chassis riding on a wheelbase 50mm longer and a track 50mm wider than the prior Ranger. A hydro-formed front-end structure creates more space in the engine bay for the new V6 engine and helps future-proof the Ranger for other propulsion technologies. It also opens up the front of the pickup to allow more airflow to the radiator, which helps keep running temperatures low when towing or carrying heavy loads.

The heart of the Ranger’s connective experience is the large 10.1-inch or 12-inch touchscreen in the centre stack. It complements the fully digital instrument panel and is loaded with Ford’s latest SYNC4 system, which comes customer-ready with its voice-activated communications, entertainment and information systems. Additionally, there’s an embedded factory-fitted modem, allowing connectivity on the go when linked with the FordPass App, so customers can stay connected to their world. FordPass enhances the ownership experience with features like remote start, vehicle status check and remote lock and unlock functions via one’s mobile device.

Many of the traditional driving mode controls have been moved from the dash and centre console to their own dedicated display on the SYNC screen. With one button press, drivers can go to Ranger’s dedicated screen for all off-road and drive modes where they can monitor the driveline, steering angle, vehicle pitch and roll angles and other controls.

The screen also is linked to a 360-degree camera to make parking easier in tight urban spaces or to assist when negotiating particularly tricky terrain while out exploring. In addition, customers can control Ranger’s new exterior zone lighting system via the touchscreen or the FordPass App, which means they don’t have to work, camp or do anything in the dark. Ranger technology will also be future-proofed to accept software updates thanks to an embedded modem.

The next-generation Ranger will be built at Ford’s plants in Thailand and South Africa beginning in 2022, with other markets to be announced at a later date. Specific market launch details will be announced in due course.

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