BIGGER AND BADDER: The 2022 Ford Ranger Wildtrak looks like a much bigger truck, which buyers will love.

By EWAN KENNEDY, Marque Motoring

AUSTRALIAN specifications of the next generation Ford Ranger have been announced.

It’s highly regarded here as it has been specifically designed and developed for this country to suit our Aussie drivers, particularly in ride and handling.

Ford Ranger and Everest program manager Pritika Maharaj said whether a customer’s priority is fuel economy, refinement, towing or hauling, the powertrains chosen for Next-Gen Ranger will provide customers with compelling performance and capability.

The highlight is the addition of Ford’s proven 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel, which is being offered on both Ranger and the Everest SUV.

“We’re offering this engine specifically because some customers told us they wanted more power and torque for towing and extreme off-roading,” Mr Maharaj said.

Ford engineers treated the 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel like a brand-new engine, resulting in 184 kW of power at 3,250 rpm and 600Nm of torque from 1,750-2,250 rpm in both Ranger and Everest.

“We did a lot of application calibration and validation work in both the US and Australia to make sure it would meet the needs of Ranger and Everest customers,” he said.

“The 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel delivers.

“When you drive a Ranger with the V6 turbo-diesel, it feels like a much bigger truck.

“It feels strong in the sense that it’s got plenty of power and torque, which is exactly what our customers told us they wanted.”

In addition to the 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel, the Ranger will also offer the Single-Turbo 2.0-litre and the Bi-Turbo 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder diesels.

The bi-turbo makes 154 kW at 3,750 rpm and 500 Nm from 1,750-2,000.

It has a bypass system that determines the optimum operating mode, meaning the turbochargers can operate in series (at lower engine speeds for enhanced torque and responsiveness) or the smaller turbo can be bypassed allowing the larger turbocharger to deliver high power.

The Single-Turbo diesel has 125 kW at 3,500 rpm and 405 Nm from 1,750-2,500 rpm.

Transmission choices include a 10-speed auto that’s available on the 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel and 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo engines.

The current six-speed automatic transmission available on Ranger will continue with the 2.0L Single-Turbo.

“Our customers told us that one of the reasons they love Ranger is because it’s one of the best vehicles on the road for ride comfort and car-like performance. So, retaining that and balancing it with off-road performance has been key throughout the development of Next-Generation Ranger,” said dynamic experiences supervisor Rob Hugo.

A 50mm track and wheelbase increase for Next-Gen Ranger has improved vehicle stability on- and off-road, said Hugo. It has also improved the unladen front approach angle and unladen rear departure angle.

The track increases the width of Next-Gen Ranger’s tray which now fits a Euro pallet.

The rear dampers were moved outboard of the springs which makes for a more controlled ride whether the vehicle is laden or not.

“The outboard dampers have allowed us to tune a more controlled ride whether the vehicle is carrying a heavy load or not and solve a common complaint of pickups with inboard mounted dampers that they can bounce or skip when unladen,” Mr Hugo said.

There is more storage space inside of the Ranger; under-seat storage on Super and Double Cab models retractable drink holders on Wildtrak and Raptor.

There is also room under the bonnet for an optional second battery.

The Wildtrak can be fitted with an optional auxiliary switch bank (standard on Raptor) making it easier to install accessories like driving lights, a winch and more.

Moulded slots in the bedliner allow you to fit dividers to customise the tray, allowing you to store gear and stop it from sliding around.

Ford is offering two four-wheel drive systems for Next-Gen Ranger.

The base four-wheel drive is a ‘part-time’ system with a two-speed electronic shift-on-the-fly transfer case offering 2H, 4H and 4L as modes of operation.

Next-Gen Ranger is also available with an on-demand four-wheel drive system (2H, 4A, 4H, and 4L) which allows Ranger to be driven in four-wheel drive on high-traction surfaces via its 4A automatic mode.

When selected, the system continuously distributes power between the front and rear axles for optimum performance in all on-road conditions.

The Ranger continues to be offered with an electronic rear differential lock which can be activated via the SYNC 4A13 screen.

A differential lock allows both wheels on a specific axle to turn at the same speed providing additional traction when you’re off-roading.

The latest Ranger will offer up to six, depending on the variant.

The modes are: Normal, Eco, Tow/Haul (auto only), Slippery for on-road, and Mud/Ruts and Sand for use off-road.

These modes adjust everything from the gearshift to throttle response, traction and stability controls, ABS and more.

“These selectable drive modes are a very simple way of getting advanced traction to the wheels the way it needs to be delivered without having to be an expert,” Mr Hugo said.

Tow/Haul mode is a brand-new drive mode and is designed for those towing or carrying a heavy load in their Ranger. Selecting Tow/Haul mode optimises the gear shift timing to maintain power when climbing up a hill or deliver the right amount of engine braking when you’re travelling down a hill.

The latest Ranger continues with a maximum braked towing capacity of 3,500 kg with a 350 kg tow ball download limit.

Next-Gen Ranger, depending on the model, now has an integrated trailer brake controller, trailer connection checklist and trailer light check to simplify the process of hooking up your trailer.

Driver assistance technology allow for drivers to programme the size of their trailer for added coverage of their blind spots.

In addition to the selectable drive modes, the Ranger boasts a dedicated off-road screen on the SYNC 4A13 infotainment system.

At the press of a button, owners can access the off-road screen, which shows driveline and diff lock settings, steering angle, vehicle pitch and roll angles.

Prices will be announced in mid-April when orders can be made.

Delivery is expected in June.