Ford unveils MY2015 Ranger and new Everest SUV

By: Matt Wood, Photography by: Matt Wood

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2015 Ford Ranger Bankok launch Brett Wheatley Brett Wheatley, vice president marketing and sales Ford Asia-Pacific, introduces the new Ranger. 2015 Ford Ranger Bankok launch Brett Wheatley
2015 Ford Ranger ute The new ute rolls onto the stage in Bangkok. 2015 Ford Ranger ute
2015 Ford Ranger exterior Ford claims the new Ranger is more muscular and truck-like. 2015 Ford Ranger exterior
2015 Ford Ranger interior The Ranger and the Everest have scored a heap of new tech from safety features to multimedia. 2015 Ford Ranger interior
2015 Ford Ranger dash touchscreen A revised dash includes a new 8-inch touchscreen. 2015 Ford Ranger dash touchscreen
2015 Ford Everest SUV The new Ford Everest SUV is based on the Ranger platform and is set to arrive late 2015. 2015 Ford Everest SUV

The Ford Ranger has been updated and the Ranger-based Everest SUV has just been launched. MATT WOOD was in Bangkok for the global reveal.

Balmy Bangkok may seem a long way from the back blocks of rural Australia, the traditional heartland of the humble four-wheel drive ute.

However, here amongst the Thai glitz, glamour and disarmingly short skirts of the 36th Bangkok Motor Show Ford reveals the updated Ranger ute and the all-new Ford Everest SUV.

We already know Aussies like a ute, indeed the Ranger is Ford’s best-selling vehicle in Australia and ranks 6th in the country’s top 10 sales charts. In fact the ute segment of Australia’s market is now the third largest.

However, a quick look around any south-east Asian city will show you just how prevalent this kind of vehicle is in this part of the world. You can see Ford’s decision to reveal the ute and SUV in Bangkok is a no-brainer.

Plus the Ranger is assembled in Thailand as well as in South Africa and Argentina. Sold in 180 countries around the world, the locally designed and engineered ute is a true global citizen.

 

New and improved Ranger

2015 Ford Ranger -exterior

Australia’s second biggest-selling ute has had a makeover with a new face and a revised interior including start stop technology and electric power steering.

At this time Ford Australia reckons the Ranger will be released locally in this year’s third quarter.

Despite the global reveal, updated ute specs for Australian Rangers are yet to be finalised, but it’s safe to say the current 5 cylinder 147kW/470Nm Duratorq diesel will be staying put as well as the 118kW/385Nm 2.2-litre 4 cylinder diesel.

For purchasers preferring petrol, there’s the 122kW/225Nm Duratec donk.

Another interesting engine option is a high efficiency version of the 2.2-litre that develops a relatively modest 96kW of power, yet claims a 20 per cent fuel efficiency advantage. However, it’s not certain that this version will be available on the Aussie market.

The big Duratorq power plant also has an updated exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system fitted and Ford claims fuel economy gains as a result.

The addition of stop-start technology will certainly appeal to urban dwellers in the pursuit of minimising fuel use with Ford quoting a 3.5 per cent improvement.

The addition of electric power assisted steering (EPAS) is an interesting move for what is ostensibly a light commercial. In fact the use of an EPAS system is a first for the light commercial pick-up.

Dropping the traditional belt-driven hydraulic steering pump reduces drag on the driveline, which Ford claims will improve fuel economy by up to 3 per cent.

The EPAS system is speed sensitive so it provides more assistance at lower speeds and less out on the open road.

Ford’s tough truck is being well and truly pushed into the premium part of the market as manufacturers aim to cash in on what has become a significant part of the Australian auto market.

While the Ranger model line-up retains the pared back workhorse models, up-spec models are gaining a significant amount of kit, enough to rival most passenger cars and SUVs.

The Ranger gets Sync 2, an updated version of the current Sync connectivity system, Sync 2 features improved voice command for audio, climate control or navigation.

2015 Ford Ranger -dash Touchscreen

The touch screen has also gotten bigger and now stands at 8 inches (20.3cm), which gives a larger display for the reverse camera as well.

The ute also now features an inverter with a 240-volt power outlet for charging all that stuff that we seem to need to lug around with us in this day and age.

The usual safety gadgets like trailer sway control (TSC) and electronic stability control (ESC) have now been supplemented with adaptive cruise control (ACC), forward alert, lane keeping alert, front and rear parking sensors and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

There’s also a Driver Impairment Monitor, which can detect if a driver is nodding off.

The interior has been given a significant lift and has become more car-like along the way. The hard plastics are still there as a nod to the work-play role these vehicles tend to occupy.

The old closed-in analogue instruments have been replaced with a digital think film transistor (TFT) instrument display, which has really spruced up the Ranger cabin.

The bold new look of the 2015 Ranger does give the little truck a distinct Ford family feel. Where the current PX Ranger follows a plainer truck-like design brief the new model’s face has been fattened and busied up.

Ford Asia-Pacific Exterior design manager, Dave Dewitt reckons, "We saw an opportunity to give the design extra tension and to emphasise Built Ford Tough design elements like the outboard nostrils."

Regardless of what you may think of the new look it’s fair to say the new model has plenty of presence. Dewitt says, "the truck styling now has real truck DNA but with a family flavour".

 

Ford Everest SUV

2015 Ford Everest SUV

The long awaited Ranger based SUV features all the new tech of the ranger update as well as a very nifty seven-seat layout that would have to be one of the best that I’ve seen in recent times.

While there’s still a hint of a hard commercial edge to the Everest’s dashboard, the big 4WD looks a classy addition to the Ford SUV range.

The body-on-frame construction as well as the big Duratorq donk will no doubt place it firmly in Toyota Prado territory when it launches locally, and when it comes to competing with the Prado, its 3,500kg towing capacity won’t do any harm either.

It also won’t take the 4WD set long to latch onto the SUV as a touring wagon in its own right. The 4WD Terrain Response System will also be an interesting feature when the Everest finally lobs locally.

Apart from the styling update many of the new features found on the new Ranger and Everest will most likely have greatest appeal to the urban market and family buyers.

Stop-start technology won’t have much of an impact on country fuel economy, however the new EPAS system and a revised final drive ratio will. The extra tech and safety features will no doubt only add to the Ranger package as a workhorse based all-rounder.

From all outward appearances the Ranger has taken another big step and the addition of the Everest to the Ford range will only add to the blue oval allure.

We’ll look forward to driving the new jigger later in the year.

 

Brief Specifications

Make/model: 2015 Ford Ranger

Price: TBC

On sale: Third quarter of 2015

Engines: 2.5-litre petrol, 2.2-litre diesel, 3.2-litre diesel

Power: 122kW / 118kW / 147kW

Torque: 225Nm / 385Nm / 470Nm

Transmissions: 6-speed auto or manual, 4WD or rear-wheel drive

Fuel use: TBC

 

*No specifications are currently available for the Everest.

 

Find Ford utes for sale.

 

For the full coverage of the launch event, pick up a copy of New Farm Machinery magazine when it hits newsstands on May 25.

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