Ford has taken the wraps off the all-new 2022 Ford Ranger and the CarExpert team had a chance to get up close and personal with the new Ranger in the flesh at Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane reveal events.
We’ve covered all the finer details in our Ford Ranger: All you need to know article. We’ve also covered a number of exclusive news stories (links at the end of this article) with more details on what’s to come, including a petrol-powered Ranger Raptor teaser from the event last night.
But, what’s the all-new Ranger like in person? We shot a quick walk around video below, and William Stopford and Scott Collie have also provided their two cents on what it looks like in person.
For mine, it’s immediately obvious the Ranger now looks and feels like it’s in a different league to the competition.
Everything from long-awaited matrix LED headlights through to a rated step for getting goods out of the tray, even to the 360-degree LED lighting that can be configured in zones – the Ranger feels like it’s packed with everything people want, but have never had access to in this segment.
The diesel V6 is a welcome addition, as is the teaser of petrol power for the next-generation Ranger Raptor. The interior is also next level with a huge 12-inch vertical display central to the cabin featuring wireless smartphone mirroring and over-the-air updates to over 50 modules within the car.
Proportion-wise it now feels like it has a ‘fatter’ stance on the road thanks to the wider track and longer wheelbase. Ford has also announced its partnership with ARB will include some 600 accessories that are factory-backed and covered by the new car warranty.
Finally though, the thing I’m most impressed about is the huge level of Australian engineering involvement.
On the global media call the night before the reveal, Ford hosted a number of subject matter experts and it was great to hear a host of Australian voices with the global design for the Ranger done right here in Australia by Max Tran out of Melbourne.
In Brisbane, Ford had arranged for us to walk around a Ranger Wildtrak. The company said it was able to get five “TT” Rangers – hand-built, pre-pre-production models – into the country, which was a boon.
However, it had little choice as to what colour vehicles they could get, which explains why the Brisbane Ranger was finished in fleet white.
Despite this uninspiring paint choice, the new Ranger is a good-looking rig. The wider track enhances its proportions, while the F-150-inspired front fascia makes it look even tougher. The outgoing Ranger’s styling has aged well during its decade or so on the market, but this new model sets a new bar. And it manages to look bigger and tougher without careening into over-styled territory.
There are only two foibles: the fender vents look absolutely naff, and the clever integrated steps on the side of the tub make it look like part of the bumper is missing from some angles. Otherwise, this is a home run, stylistically.
We didn’t get to climb into the interior, and Ford was quick to let us know some of the trim pieces aren’t necessarily representative of the production model. Nevertheless, this is one good-looking cabin. The enormous 12.0-inch touchscreen of up-spec models like the Wildtrak is integrated very neatly – certainly better than the Mustang Mach-E’s screen – and there are still proper climate controls located underneath. All models also receive a slick digital instrument cluster, with a Built Ford Tough animation on start-up.
Ford said it tested a rotary gear selector with customers and they gave it the thumbs down, so there’s a proper shifter you can grab onto – like much of the interior in the Wildtrak, it has orange accent stitching. There’s a chunky four-wheel drive mode selector and an electric park brake (there’s a regular one in lower-spec models), while there’s a storage shelf at the base of the centre stack.
We can’t speak to material quality yet, but this is a huge step forward for the Ranger in terms of design. The segment moves slowly in this area but this is a huge leap forward that’ll make even the recently redesigned Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 look dated overnight.
Rear occupants have been given air vents at long last, while there are additional power outlets in the tub when most rivals can’t even match the current truck’s single 12V outlet back there. Finally, Ford touted some clever features in the tub, like a tailgate that can be used as a work bench.
While it’s still recognisably a Ranger, especially in photos, this looks like a worthy overhaul. And that’s before we even get into the technical nuts-and-bolts, like the new V6 turbo-diesel and available full-time 4WD system. We can’t wait to drive it.
We knew it would look good, but the new Ranger exceeded my expectations in person. For one, the interior is about five steps ahead of what’s on offer anywhere else in the dual-cab ute segment, with what looks like properly modern infotainment technology and an appealing design.
Utes are all about practicality; about being able to throw stuff in the back and go anywhere, at any time. At least, that’s what people like to think when they buy one instead of an SUV…
It looks like real thought has gone into the little things, like the bed step designed to help owners reach things buried in the darker reaches of the tray, or the load rails built into the sail plane on the Ranger Wildtrak.
They sound trivial, but they show real thought has gone into making this a ute that’ll work in the real world.
As for the engines? Finally there’s a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel with full-time all-wheel drive.
Save for the Amarok, the next-generation of which was developed alongside the Ranger, local utes have been light-on for grunt for a very long time. I’m still prepared to be disappointed when the numbers are actually revealed, but my fingers are firmly crossed when it comes to the turbo’d V6.
The next Toyota HiLux will need to be very, very good.
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