Ford Australia develops Flexible Rack System for 2023 Ranger
It goes without saying that the all-new Ranger is perhaps the most versatile pickup truck to date as claimed by Ford. With its wide array of features, bigger and wider bed, and a long list of cabin amenities and intelligent driver aids, the Blue Oval is banking on that notion heavily.
But while Ford seems to have covered everything the Ranger will ever need, the company’s Australian division still has some tricks up its sleeves. This is the Flexible Rack System (FRS) and it helps users with long loads extend (quite literally) the pick-up’s ability to carry items of varying lengths.
The unique system slides within a C-shaped channel that’s placed on top of the load box sidewalls of the bed. It can then be locked in five different positions which help users secure items. This can include surfboards to long pieces of lumber, as well as ladders and kayaks. Think of it as a sports bar, only this one is functional and not only for aesthetics.
In addition, the FRS has a Sliding Load Rack that can be operated easily by an individual. It has a hoop that slides into the rails and comes with four roller bearings angled at 37 degrees, retractable stabilizers, as well as locks that ensure the rack won’t move when locked into position.
The automaker even torture-tested the said system in order to ensure it can support 80 kg (which is its maximum weight capacity) regardless of whether the pickup was being driven on-road or off-road.
Ken Tribhuvan, Special Vehicle Engineering Senior Engineer at Ford, said that the FRS was tested at full load and completed several runs without experiencing any issues.
“Part of our durability test involves our infamous Silver Creek Road test track which is so torturous we use autonomous driving robots to complete this phase of the testing. The FRS was tested at full load and completed 77 runs on the track, passing with flying colors. It completed 400 runs with no load,” said Tribhuvan.
Ford Australia says they spoke with pickup truck owners during the development of the all-new Ranger. The FRS is one of those special features the brand came up with in order to allow drivers to secure long loads easier and safer.
“We learned from our customers that they would load things like canoes into the load box and then lean them up against the sports hoop before tying them down. This was awkward and meant the load box couldn’t really be used for storing anything else a customer might want to take with them. We also learned of their frustrations when it came to carrying items of longer lengths. With an 80-kilogram dynamic load limit, the Flexible Rack System eliminates those frustrations,” said Danny Trentin, Ford Ranger Application Specialist.
Ford Australia has yet to reveal the exact pricing of the FRS. However, they did mention that it will be available on select 2023 Ranger models. As to whether it will be available outside The Land Down Under, remains to be seen. But given the rack system’s versatility, perhaps Ford Philippines could bring it here as an indent order.
Do you think it will make sense for Ford Philippines to offer the Flexible Rack System here? Let us know in the comments.