Ford has released details of its next-generation Ranger pick-up which is scheduled for launch in late 2022. The new model is bigger than before and features beefier styling, more power and a more up-to-date interior.
The Ranger's styling has been updated to give it a more assertive look, more akin to its best-selling American sibling, the Ford F-150. As such, the lines of the wing and bonnet has been strengthened, slightly raising the profile of the nose. The blue oval badge is bigger and bolder than before, the grille has been reworked and the C-shaped headlights represent the first time that LED matrix headlamps have been seen on a Ranger.
It's arguably the back rather than the front that'll make the most difference to potential Ranger buyers. Compared to the outgoing Ranger, the wheelbase is 50mm longer, giving it a better approach angle for off-roading. Crucially, however, it's now 50mm wider meaning that the load bed now has more space for owners to lay flat items such as sheets of building plywood or full-sized pallets.
The load bed is, overall, a practical, well-thought-out design with a step behind the rear wheels for access, a new plastic bed-liner to protect knees and the floor, a range of compartment, storage and attachment options as well as the ability for the tailgate to double as a workbench with an integrated ruler and clamping points. There are sockets and a 400-watt inverter for powering external items such as tools or lighting rigs.
Sync or swim
The interior has been brought up-to-date and features either a 10.1-inch or a 12.0-inch infotainment touchscreen mounted portrait-style in the centre of the dashboard and running Ford's latest Sync 4 system.
Some of the formerly hard-button control functions have been relegated to the touchscreen including the off-road modes and, with the 360-degree camera (also useful for parking), drivers can have information relayed to the screen, being able to keep a closer eye on their flanks as well as monitoring information such as pitch and roll angles. Hill descent control and diff-locking functions are also accessed through the screen.
Storage compartments throughout the cabin mean that there's plenty of space for smaller items which might otherwise have to go in the storage box in the load-bed.
Powering the new Ranger will be a choice of familiar single-turbo or twin-turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesels. Higher up the range, a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 will be available thanks to Ford's current partnership with Volkswagen. A 2.3-litre petrol model has been announced too and an electrified version, possibly a plug-in hybrid, is set to arrive further down the line.
Changes to the chassis (in particular the improved approach angle) mean that the Ranger should be more off-road capable than before. Two all-wheel drive set-ups will be available - an always-on system sending power to the wheels via a ten-speed automatic gearbox or a selectable four-wheel drive system utilising a five-speed or six-speed manual transmission. Ford says that the latter system will likely be more appealing to traditional off-roading enthusiasts.
For when drivers eventually reach the limits of the Ranger's capability, the front bumper features two recovery hooks.
When will it arrive?
The new Ranger is set for launch in Europe in late 2022 with deliveries starting in 2023.
It's not clear yet whether it'll feature exactly the same trim and spec line-up the current Ranger, though there'll definitely be Sport, XLT and Wildtrak models and, most likely, a high-powered Raptor version, so there's a good chance the next-gen model will mirror the current range.
Pricing has yet to be announced so it remains to be seen as to how much the new Ranger will cost compared to the current model's €31,808 starting point.