A bigger, better Ford Ranger is set to burst from the Ford booth at the Manila International Auto Show (March 29 to April 1 at the World Trade Center). The all-new pickup is a world model, designed to tackle markets from Australia to Zimbabwe. For the Asean market, Ford has been conscious that many customers use the pickup as a mixed vehicle, using it as both workhorse and family transport.
New Ranger follows the Built Ford Tough cues as traditionally embodied by the line and enhances it with its latest kinetic styling to come up with a “21st Century Tough” look. The front features a short overhang with Ford’s family three-bar grille, with reported attention to detail as would be expected usually from cars and SUVs.
One striking aspect of the new Ranger will be its size: at up to 5359 mm long and 1850 mm wide, the Ranger is 90 percent the size of Ford’s North American best-seller, the F-150. Ford claims that it remains maneuverable and at home on Asia’s narrow city streets and parking is still easy, thanks to quick steering with 3.5 turns lock-to-lock.
The interior in particular has reportedly been designed to carry five adults in car-like comfort. Ford cites the Casio G-Shock as a styling influence for the instrument panel, appropriate for a precision tool that is encased in a tough casing that resists pretty much any abuse thrown its way.
Early reviews peg the Ranger as being quieter than most pickups—more in line with what one might expect from a passenger car. The all-new frame is claimed to be twice as stiff as the outgoing model, which should bode well for both handling and off-road capability.
The pickup bed is large and deep, and includes convenience features such as a power outlet and integrated drink holders.
Those who remember the F-150 will appreciate the Ranger’s diesel power plants, which are quite a bit more frugal at the pump. The DuraTorq range will include a 3.2-liter inline-5 good for 200 hp and 470 Nm, and a 2.2-liter inline-4 that puts out 150 hp and 350 Nm. Variable geometry turbos and direct injection are part of the package. Six-speed transmissions are the norm, whether automatic or do-it-yourself manual.
By engineering the Ranger from a clean sheet (and computer screen), Ford has thrown down the gauntlet in the pickup arena, with a contender that seems every bit as capable as it looks.