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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The All-New 2022 Ford Ranger Is What Customers Want In A Pickup Truck

Ford says the next-generation Ranger is the result of deep customer insight, developed through extensive research into what makes a great pickup truck. Designers took these insights, plus Ranger’s award-winning pickup formula, to create the truck you see here.

The Ranger’s chief designer, Max Tran spent hundreds of hours with customers around the world to see how they use their pickups on a daily basis. Ford conducted more than 5,000 interviews and made more than 1,800 pages of field notes for reference, which helped development and guide both engineers and designers to build a pickup with the features and capability customers wanted.

Among the new features the Ranger team is proud of is the rear box step.

“During our clinic sessions, we noticed that many customers had trouble reaching over the side of the truck into the bed; others were standing on the rear tire or the bumper to gain access,” revealed Tran. “So, we came up with the idea of a box step, behind the rear wheel,” he said.

Despite being sold in over 180 markets, and having to satisfy a broad customer base with different requirements and backgrounds, the Ranger design team discovered that owners share a lot of similar personality traits.

“We found that no matter what the market, our customers are doers. They like solving their own problems, and they like to feel confident in their truck, not just in the way the vehicle functions, but also in the way they feel when they’re driving it.”

On the all-new Ranger’s exterior design, the main challenge is to build a futuristic pickup but imbued with the Built Ford Tough image.

Using the F-150 as a design inspiration, the next-generation Ranger has a purposefully athletic stance. Some of its key design features include the C-clamp headlights with daytime running lights, strong horizontal upper grille bar, a large sculpted Ranger logo on the tailgate, and get this, wheel sizes ranging from 17- to 20-inches—a first of the Ranger.

Strong as the Ranger is outside, Tran and his team worked to elevate the interior even more. Focused on establishing a strong visual harmony to complement the durable and robust exterior, this next-generation truck adopts a “coast-to-coast” design for a more spacious feel. Several design cues also are carried over from the exterior: the air vent vanes feature a similar design to those in the front grille, and several exterior surface treatments have been adapted for interior use.

The dash is dominated by a 10.1-inch or 12-inch high-resolution touchscreen solidly mounted into the center stack, complementing the digital instrument cluster. Customers preferred the screen’s portrait orientation because it created enough space for navigation screens while also leaving room in the lower portion of the screen for other menus, like those for the climate and entertainment controls.

Another key area of customer input is the e-shifter for its automatic transmission. Ford initially created a rotary dial gear selector, but customers preferred the short-throw e-shifter because it boosted the truck’s high-tech appeal.

The seats also have been redesigned, with new bolsters and foam inserts that are more inviting, stylish, and comfortable. Versatility is key with the second-row seats now folding flat and boasting out-of-sight and secure under-seat storage. Rear occupants also have their own air conditioning vents at the rear of the center console. There is also an added storage area in the door pockets with space both in the front and back.

The next-generation Ford Ranger will be built first at Ford’s plant in Rayong, Thailand followed by South Africa beginning in 2022. Specific market launch details will be announced at a later date, but the time frame being floated around is the second or third quarter of next year.

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