RANGING AHEAD
CAR|February 2022
The new Ford Ranger is one of the most eagerly anticipated releases in recent years and we got the inside line on what to expect
Gareth Dean
SMARTER AND MORE VERSATILE

Before work began on the new Ranger, Ford took a customer-centric approach to its development. It held global workshops and idea-sharing events with owners of the previous car to better identify their needs and desires for the upcoming model. Customer input would prove pivotal in making the new Ranger Ford's smartest, most capable and most versatile pickup to date, shaping a number of its innovative features.

For instance, customer input suggested improvements to the Ranger's load bed; the vehicle's 50 mm overall increase in width allows for a standard packing pallet to be housed between the wheel arches with the option of built-in dividers or side-mounted tether points to secure loads. In certain markets, an electrical point in the load bin to power tools or a cool box was offered. Ford's designers noticed many owners stepping onto their vehicle's rear tyres to access the load bed. To this end, a box step was integrated into the rear bumper to aid access to the rear. Another example cited by Max Tran, chief designer in charge of the new Ranger, was the e-shifter gearlever. A rotary design was originally submitted but was rejected by nearly all of the Ranger owners participating in the workshop in favour of the e-shifter, which is more intuitive in its operation and freed up storage space in the centre console.

It was a similar story with the infotainment screen arrangement. The initial idea was to implement a floating tablet design but this was deemed too fragile by customers. Instead, a more rugged-looking, dash-integrated solution was adopted. The infotainment system will be offered in a choice of 10,1- and 12-inch variants incorporating Ford's SYNC 4 operating system and will support smartphone mirroring, a 360-degree camera on certain models to aid parking and off-road manoeuvring. Onboard Wi-Fi aids with over-the-air software updates and other connected services, as well as the option of the FordPass app with remote vehicle start, remote locking and vehicle status via a smartphone.

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