Ford has unveiled the next-generation Ranger, the “toughest, smartest, most versatile, and most capable” Ranger the company has ever built.
It will be offered in XLT, Sport, and Wildtrak specifications, with this new Ranger featuring a distinctive style that builds upon the previous generation – and also incorporates design elements from its smaller sibling, the Maverick.
Ford interviewed over 5,000 bakkie owners to find out what these motorists love and hate about their vehicles, resulting in the new Ranger offering market-leading convenience and capabilities.
It must be noted that while these features will be available on the new Ranger around the globe, Ford has not yet revealed any market or trim-specific information – meaning we might not have it all in South Africa.
Designing the next-gen Ranger
The next-gen Ford Ranger sits on the company’s third-generation T6 platform, but sees a body that is wider and longer than the model it is replacing.
The truck’s track is widened by 50mm, which allows the load box to fit a flat wooden pallet between the rear wheel arches.
The bakkie’s wheelbase is also extended by 50mm, with the front wheels sitting closer to the front bumper – thus increasing the approach angle and front-wheel articulation for better driving performance and increased off-road prowess.
Visually, the next-gen Ranger is clearly different from the current model, with a new body featuring strong lines and angular shapes to make the bakkie look “tough”.
Up front, horizontal bars flow into C-shaped LED headlights, with a mesh grille and new underguard providing a muscular design.
The rear features new LED tail lights, a new tailgate that can double as a workbench with a built-in ruler and clamping spots, and a wraparound rear bumper that provides integrated side steps for easier load box access.
Around the flanks, a fresh selection of 17-inch to 20-inch alloy wheels are fitted, and a pronounced shoulder with tapered sides lends the bakkie an athletic stance.
As one of its Australian lead designers explained, the new Ranger’s design language embodies “strength and controlled agility, like a rugby player.”
It also comes with a plastic-moulded bedliner with built-in mounting spots, while a variety of optional extras like steel tube tie-down rails can make the bakkie more capable directly from the factory.
In addition, Ford is working with the accessory company ARB to offer a range of aftermarket accessories catered to the next-gen Ranger.
Ford said it started designing the next-gen Ranger’s cabin roughly five years ago, incorporating elements that are true to the Ranger’s heritage.
Strong lines and broad surfaces, as well as premium soft-touch materials dominate the new interior to create an upmarket cabin in every specification.
The array of buttons that sat on the front fascia in the old Ranger is now replaced by a 10.1-inch or 12-inch vertical touch display running the SYNC4 operating system – while the analogue gauge cluster is traded for a fully-digital instrument cluster in certain specifications.
The central screen acts as the activity hub for the bakkie and is your main access point to its abilities, while lesser-used systems such as traction control and the intelligent 4×4 programme can be toggled via a small collection of buttons on the transmission tunnel.
Ford also kept the new Ranger’s e-gear lever low and linear after observing a large portion of its customers enjoying driving with their hand resting on the gear lever, said the company.
Furthermore, the door levers are now integrated into the door handles for easier one-handed opening, and storage pockets and shelves are littered throughout the cabin to store your valuables safely.
The new seats in the 2022 Ranger then feature stylish patterns for the fabric options to give the interior a more premium feel, while full leather upholsteries are available in higher-level trims.
A “zone lighting” feature also debuts on this Ford – accessible through the FordPass App or central screen – which sees the exterior lights and lamps under the exterior mirrors illuminate the area around the bakkie.
Ford said the new Ranger will be available with single and bi-turbo, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engines; a 2.3-litre, turbo-petrol, ecoboost engine; and a 3.0-litre, V6, turbo-diesel engine.
Unfortunately, the company has not released the official performance figures for the various motors, but said the V6 is derived from the F-150 bakkie.
No electric or hybrid powertrains were announced. However, Ford said that it “future-proofed” the Ranger and it is capable of supporting an electrified powertrain should the company introduce one in the future.
The transmission options on offer include the current six-speed automatic found in the 2021 Ranger, a reworked six-speed manual, and an improved 10-speed automatic with a new torque converter, smaller gaps between gear ratios, and a new tow mode.
The updated 10-speed also features “real-time adaptive shift scheduling”, meaning it intelligently adjusts gear shifting ratios depending on the driving style of the driver.
The Ranger then comes with one of two 4×4 programmes.
The standard version is a part-time system that only activates four-wheel drive when it is needed, whereas the premium system is a full-time 4×4 programme with intelligent power delivery.
Master your Ranger
Along with developing the new bakkie, Ford set out to improve the overall ownership experience, it said.
The company followed an “always on” approach and now offers 24/7 services to customers via the FordPass App in certain regions.
These services include a concierge, remote vehicle start, online service appointments, and a “Master your Ranger” online portal for answering questions and learning more about your bakkie.
“With these services, we intend to be ‘always on’ for our customers, always there if they need us,” said Ford.
South African launch
More market-specific details of the next-generation Ford Ranger will be released as we approach its local launch in 2022.
“Order books for next-generation Ranger will open in Q2 , with local launch timings and deliveries to be confirmed,” Ford South Africa told TopAuto.