Standing on a rotating pedestal in the center of the Ford booth in the recent Bangkok International Motorshow was the brand new Ford Ranger. Making the Motorshow its ASEAN Premiere, the all-new truck has been designed from the ground up to compete in the 1-ton truck market.
Changes begin in the exterior where the short overhang nose carries over a more pronounced anvil-style light and grille façade from its predecessor. A new clamshell hood provides a more masculine look while also contributing to pedestrian safety. Wheel arches are stamped in rather than bolted on. The side vent from the previous makes a beefier return as well. As for the cabin, rather than simply adding a door to the single cab, the B-pillar has been moved forward to provide more space to the rear passenger. The higher belt line follows to the rear makes for a bigger and more functional loading box.
Beneath the body cladding are numerous improvements too. The new Ranger's major driveline components have been fit between ladder frame rails to prevent damage in off-road conditions. New hydro-mounts between the rail and cabin reduce vibration and improve ride quality. A larger 80 liter tank promises to extend the truck's range. Select models will even include a rear-view camera and trailer sway control.
The cabin itself has been toughened up with design elements inspired by G-Shock watches and off-road motorcycles. Similar to the Fiesta, the ranger will sport a mobile phone inspired center stack with a joystick as the main control feature. A 4.2 inch color LCD screen will sit atop it while dual zone climate control rests below. Select models will even have Bluetooth connectivity, voice command, speed sensing door locks and auto headlights and wipers. Over in the driver's side, speed and tachometers will be protected by G-shock style bevels with a multi-information display sitting in between.
As for safety, the Ranger will have a whole complement of electronic systems ranging from Hill Descent, Hill Launch, Trailer Sway Control, Adaptive Load Control, Roll-over Mitigation, Traction Control Electronic Stability Control with off-road logic as well as Emergency Brake Assist. Up to six airbags will deploy in the event of an accident while a belt minder chime will remind you to buckle up.
Moving all of this along will be a choice of two engines, made up of two diesels and one that's gasoline-fed. The gasoline engine will be a 2.5 liter Duratec producing 166 PS and 226 Nm of torque. The smaller of diesels is a 2.2 liter four-cylinder Duratorq TDCi producing 150 PS and 375 Nm of torque. Trumping them all is the 3.2 liter five-cylinder Duratorq TDCi engine that makes a whopping 200 PS and 470 Nm of torque.
Managing all this power will be a choice of 6-speed auto or 6-speed manual transmission sending it to the rear-wheel or through part-time four-wheel drive systems. As expected, the automatic is tuned for comfort and fuel efficiency while moving it to the performance or manual mode will allow the driver to shift when he desires. Left on its own though, the automatic will quickly adapt to the driver's style and will employ Grade Logic Control when going downhill and shift to a lower gear for engine braking. As for the 4x4 system, 4H and 4L Lock can be achieved by twisting a dial just below the gear stick to the desired drive.
The 4x4 Ranger will come standard with a chrome roll bar and 16 inch wheels. The Wildtrak model, to follow some months after, will have 18 inchers, orange stitching in its seats, a sportier more aerodynamic roll bar, roof rails and a raised bed lip.
As exciting as this all sounds, it will still take some time before the Ranger makes it to showrooms. The new Ranger will appear in Thailand in late 2011 while its arrival in the Philippines will be a few weeks after, if not early 2012. Prices, colors, specs, which engines we'll get and which features will come as standard have yet to be announced. Till then, there will be plenty of time to save up and make room for the new truck.