Towards the end of last week, we saw a video drop showing the new Ford Ranger in testing. The video captured was all made using legitimate testing footage and shows that Ford is serious about testing the new Ranger. It is really no surprise given how the brand has been innovating in the category and we’ve seen plenty of examples – they were the first brand to really push the boundaries of off-roading off the shelf in the ute space with the Raptor (this was really the first genuinely engineered for hard off-road use ute and much more than a sticker pack).
Ford were also the first manufacturer to partner with aftermarket accessory providers (in this case ARB) to offer a full factory backed warranty on any accessories added at the dealer.
So when we got the chance to speak to them recently, and they were struggling to hide their excitement about the next gen models, it got us excited too!
This article will cover a few key things we’ve learned about the next gen models, as well as what we know is coming soon. We work pretty closely with the team at Ford, so we expect to be kept up to date with the latest happenings there.
Looking at the wrapped up spy shots, it is clear that the look of the next generation Ranger (and Everest) will take strong cues from their F-trucks. While the vehicles shown currently have ‘camouflage’ the squarer front end is obvious, and if we were to give you an idea of what it will look like, we’d suggest you take a look at the recently launched Ford Maverick.
Every conversation I’ve had with the team at Ford in the last 6 months about off-road ability has got them acting as coy as my daughter when I ask her if she likes a boy in her class. While they won’t go into specifics at this point, off-road ability has been a key focal point for Ford in the development of the next generation Ranger.
I am very confident that the next generation Ranger will be the most capable ever in the off-road space. There has been a lot of thinking applied here and Ford want to be #1. Again, Ford are keeping their aces up their sleeves right now but they have done a lot of work to understand the needs and behaviours of 4WDers.
Ford hasn’t indicated either way, but I’m confident that the next gen vehicles will have further considered the power needs of 4WDers. This may manifest itself in a number of ways, the least of which I think will be a dedicated location in vehicles for a second battery. We’ve already seen switch-banks in the FX4 Max, so Ford clearly understand that modifying and accessorising the Ranger is a common thing and are working to support and enable it.
The other place we can expect movement is the power/torque figures. Try as I might I’ve got nothing from Ford here, but I reckon there will definitely be a new engine variant which will push power and torque even higher again. Other publications have spoken about what motors may be offered, but right now it is all conjecture. Regardless, with the category continuing to add power and torque, Ford will definitely up the ante again.
The current generation Ranger is a very comfortable and pretty refined vehicle, when compared to competitors. Many have gained ground on the Ranger in recent times, but they still struggle to match it overall, despite the current platform being the oldest of the Ute category (perhaps with the exception of the 79 series which has been around for a very long time).
We expect that the new generation will bring in a new era of refinement which will offer even greater levels of comfort, coupled with the increases in off-road capability. Ford have shown that they are open to different suspension setups and packages with the current series, so I’m expecting this to be taken to the next level.
The release of the testing video last week confirms that Ford are pretty close to finalising the next model. If I had to guess, I’d say that in the next 6 to 8 weeks, they will start releasing details and information on the next model. There is no current release date confirmed, although my expectation is that it will be towards the back end of this current financial year (perhaps May 2022?). I’ve asked about how the semi-conductor shortage is affecting Ford, but haven’t got a response.
So, in summary, expect a vehicle that looks more like and F-truck, is more comfortable, more capable and more powerful than ever before. And expect to see things like engine capacities, perhaps models available at launch, and key information start to dribble through soon.
I’m staying very close to this and will provide updates as soon as I can.