|Photos by Ulysses Ang and Ford Press|
UPDATE 1: Here are 7 things you cannot miss in the 2015 Ford Ranger (3/24).
Ford is writing the next chapter in the history of the Ranger pickup with the global unveil of the 2015 model at the 36th Bangkok International Motor Show. Heavily revamped, the new Ranger builds upon the world-class capabilities that made it a global success that includes the Philippines, where it’s currently the best-selling nameplate in its segment. For 2015, Ford is widening the bandwidth of comfort and convenience offered by the Ranger without compromising its tough and rugged package.
The most striking change is found in the Ranger’s new frontend design which has a new one-piece trapezoidal chrome grille. The chiseled, upright grille emblazoned with the words ‘Ranger’, is very reminiscent of Ford Super Duty pickups while conveying a sense of power and capability. Sandwiching this technical looking piece are chiseled projector headlamps which accentuate the Ranger’s width and give it a strong stance. The hood has also been revised with a power dome design and side chisels that echo the front grille.
Shown at the global reveal is the mid-level XLT trim, but it’s no secret that the Ranger will spawn variants including a new Wildtrak model at a later time.
Inside, the changes to the Ranger are much more noticeable. The cabin retains its tough and rugged appearance, but adds the sophistication of a passenger car. The updated dashboard features a strong horizontal motif that gives an unparalleled feeling of spaciousness while front-and-center to the driver is a new dual-TFT instrument cluster offering a high-tech way to look at information such as vehicle parameters, entertainment, and climate control functions at a glance. Simplifying the look of the center console, Ford is adopting an 8-inch touchscreen powered by SYNC 2 that allows the use of more natural voice commands. In addition, it gives the Ranger unparalleled connectivity that includes Bluetooth, two USB ports with smart charging, an auxiliary input jack, and a SD-card slot. Certain models also get the benefit of a 240-volt power socket located behind the center console storage.
The Ranger still is one of the most capable trucks in its class and the 2015 update continues that with changes to its drivetrain and suspension. The biggest change is the adoption of EPAS or Electric Power Assisted Steering for most variants which offers not only unparalleled precision and maneuverability, but also cuts fuel consumption by 3 percent. And by eliminating the power steering pump, it makes the Ranger also quieter. Idle start/stop and revised gear ratios also boosts highway fuel efficiency.
Underneath, it rides on traditional independent Double Wishbones upfront and leaf springs at the back. But Ford engineers say it’s been re-tuned to offer a much more compliant ride on any surface. Plus, the use of additional sound deadening makes it quieter.
In terms of engine choices, the Ranger continues with the proven Duratorq family. The range-topping 3.2-liter 5-cylinder engine still produces 197 horsepower (147 kW) and 470 Nm of torque, but an updated Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve improves fuel efficiency. The 2.2-liter 4-cylinder model now gets two states of tune. The traditional model gets a slight power bump to 158 horsepower (from 150) and 385 Nm (from 375 Nm). A new high-efficiency model enters the model range with a 129 horsepower (96 kW) engine and 330 Nm of torque. Available transmissions remain to be a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic depending on the specific variant. The Ranger also keeps all of its key performance numbers including 1,000 kilograms of payload, 3,500 kilograms of towing, 800-mm water wading depth, 230-mm ground clearance, and 28-degree approach and 25-degree departure angle.
Beyond its powerful presence and drivetrains, Ford is setting standard by offering advanced technology in the Ranger and the 2015 model is no different. Aside from SYNC 2, it has a wide array of driver assist technologies such as: Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Alert, Front and Rear Park Assist, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Electronic Stability Program, and Driver Impairment Monitor. These supplement the current crop of safety features on the Ranger that include Hill Launch Assist, Hill Descent Control, Adaptive Load Control, and Emergency Brake Assistance.
The new Ford Ranger represents an evolution of style and capability, blending uncompromising toughness with new levels of comfort, refinement, and technology. And buyers are taking notice. It plays a huge part of Ford’s tremendous growth in the ASEAN region where the Ranger saw a 10 percent growth year-on-year with sales breaching the 50,000-unit mark. The next chapter of the Ford Ranger story is about to start and expect to be part of that tale when it arrives in Manila sometime second or third quarter of this year.