How Does The Next-Gen Ford Ranger & Everest Terrain Mode & 4WD System Work?
We caught up with David Grice, the Chief Program Engineer for Ranger and Everest, and Tim Postgate, Vehicle Integration Engineer, who shares details about the extensive testing and advanced 4WD system that make these vehicles stand out in the 4X4 world.
The rugged and versatile Next-Gen Ford Ranger and Everest have become synonymous with off-road adventures and reliability. In a recent trip to the Ford’s New Zealand Proving Grounds, we caught up with David Grice, the Chief Program Engineer for Ranger and Everest, and Tim Postgate, Vehicle Integration Engineer, who shares details about the extensive testing and advanced 4WD system that make these vehicles stand out in the 4X4 world.
Rigorous Testing to Exceed Customer Expectations
Before any vehicle is ready for market, it must undergo rigorous testing, and the Ranger and Everest are no exceptions. These vehicles have been pushed to their limits, covering a staggering 1.25 million kilometers around the globe. What's truly impressive is that 625,000 kilometers of this testing took place off-road, constituting what David Grice refers to as "accelerated durability testing." This extreme testing involved running the vehicles 24/7 with three shifts, all fully loaded to their Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM). These tests exposed the vehicles to temperature extremes ranging from -40°C to +50°C, simulating real-world conditions and climate chamber extremes. The goal? To ensure that these vehicles can not only handle the toughest terrains but also exceed customer expectations.
Australian Design and Global Presence
The Ranger and Everest have a strong connection to Australia. Designed and engineered by an Australian team of 1,800 engineers, including 80 designers, these vehicles have a unique pedigree. While they are assembled and built in Thailand, they are truly global vehicles, being sold in 190 countries worldwide. This global reach means that they must be ready to tackle a broad range of terrains and conditions, which is precisely what they are designed for.
Advanced 4WD System: 4A Mode and Clutched Transfer Case
One of the standout features of these vehicles is their 4WD system. The 4A mode is fine for full-time use, whether you're on or off-road. Similar to an All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system, it offers a balance between fuel efficiency and traction as needed. Thanks to a clutched transfer case, they can seamlessly shift from 2H to 4H at speeds of up to 140 km/h. This system can also vary the torque split by adjusting clutch pressure, a feature integrated into the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) to adapt to different terrain modes and steering inputs. These clutches are built to last the life of the vehicle, with simulated testing spanning up to 10 years and 250,000 kilometers.
Versatile 4H and 4L Modes
In 4H and 4L modes, the clutched transfer case is locked, ensuring equal power distribution to both front and rear axles. However, it's important to note that shifting between 4H and 4L still requires the vehicle to be in neutral. In most modes, 4L starts in 2nd gear to avoid the sometimes-jerky transition between 1st and 2nd gear found in other 4WDs. In rock mode, though, 4L starts in 1st gear, and the driver can manually select 1st gear in other modes.
Rear Differential Lock: More Control Off-Road
Unlike many other modern 4x4s, the Ranger and Everest allow you to engage the rear differential lock even in 2H mode. This feature comes in handy when you can't send power to the front wheels, providing added control. In most modes, there's a 41 km/h speed restriction that switches the lock to standby, re-engaging at low speeds. However, in modes like mud/ruts, sand, or Baja in the Raptor, the rear differential lock remains engaged at any speed if selected.
Mud/Ruts Mode: Tailored Traction for Tough Terrain
Mud/ruts mode is designed to offer more wheel spin, helping clear the tyre tread and prevent you from getting stuck. It allows controlled slip to maintain momentum in challenging conditions, demonstrating the adaptability of the 4WD system.
Trail Control and Trail Turn Assist
The new Wildtrak X takes off-road capability to the next level with Trail Control, which functions like cruise control for off-road driving. It works seamlessly in 4L and even allows for precise control with 0.5 km/h increments below 10 km/h in 4L or 1 km/h increments in 4H, making it perfect for maintaining steady throttle on rough terrain. Additionally, the Wildtrak X features Trail Turn Assist, which utilizes the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) to apply brake pressure to the rear inside wheel. This feature enables the vehicle to make tighter turns at speeds below 20 km/h, enhancing maneuverability in challenging off-road situations.
The next-gen Ford Ranger and Everest, with their advanced 4WD system and innovative features like Trail Control and Trail Turn Assist, prove that they are not just vehicles but capable partners for the most demanding off-road adventures. With a robust design and a commitment to exceeding customer expectations, these vehicles are poised to tackle diverse terrains and conditions, making them a top choice for 4X4 enthusiasts around the world.
Have you seen the Club 4X4 Next-Gen Everest? In only 3 short months, it’s tackled K’Gari Fraser Island, Birdsville and the Mundi Mundi Plains. Follow us on socials to keep up to date with where we are next!
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