• Ranger can haul more than its competitors with a towing capacity of up to 3,340kg and a payload capacity up to 1,350kg
  • Outstanding ground clearance of up to 232mm and class-leading water-wading capability of 800mm
  • Ranger’s Traction Control System, part of the Electronic Stability Program, can prevent wheel spin proactively by precisely controlling engine torque to each wheel and by braking a spinning wheel completely

Brentwood, Essex, 26 October, 2011 – With best-in-class towing and water-wading capabilities as well as exceptional payload capacity and ground clearance, the all-new global Ford Ranger can get the toughest jobs done in the toughest locations.

Ford Ranger 2011 Launched

Commercial users looking to transport heavy materials will welcome Ranger’s outstanding payload capacity – more than 1,300kg on some variants – while owners wanting to tow anything from horse boxes to boats will value the pick-up’s top-notch towing capacity of up to 3,350kg.

Ranger’s benchmark water-wading capability of 800mm and excellent ground clearance of up to 232mm enable drivers to go deeper or climb higher. It not only caters for companies requiring a sturdy pick-up to traverse tough terrain, but also for customers who either enjoy recreational off-roading or travel further afield into more remote locations because their hobbies demand it.

Even if Ranger gets mired in deep sand, snow or mud, engineers have provided a towing hook up front to pull the vehicle free. This front hook rated at 6,000kg is standard on 4×4 models.

“Our customers want a pick-up that is tough enough to withstand rough conditions and capable enough to handle any challenge thrown at it,” said Stephan Presser, manager of Vehicle Engineering, Product Development, Ford Australia. “Ranger was painstakingly developed, meticulously engineered and rigorously tested to ensure it can do all this and more.”

Going off road
An all-new compact front differential, new upgraded rear axle and lower overall ratios, all contribute to Ranger’s superior off-road capability, which begins with a robust electronically controlled transfer case – for both manual and automatic transmissions – allowing drivers to shift on the fly from 4×2 to 4×4 high any time via a knob conveniently located on the centre console.

Low-range gearing in 4×4 models can be enabled for extra-low-speed torque or additional downhill braking.

When the low-range gears are engaged, the throttle response is changed to an off-road setting which provides a less sensitive, softer pedal feel. This prevents unintentional acceleration due to the bouncing motion of the driver’s foot while moving over bumpy ground. The logic control also changes the shift points for the automatic transmission.

Ranger’s Electronic Stability Program (ESP) system also includes off-road logic which recognises when the pick-up is driven on rough roads and modifies the system to ensure the best balance between stability and timeliness of interventions.

In 4×4 models, the system can be partially switched off to disable over- and under-steer control as well as engine torque reductions, while maintaining brake intervention traction control. This setting is most suitable when driving through deep sand or extreme mud as vehicle momentum can be maintained whilst maximising available grip. The ESP can be switched to a second setting to further amend the ESP braking intervention that aids the initial pull away in snow and icy conditions.

“Ranger is a very composed vehicle even when going off the beaten track,” said Ford dynamics supervisor Sam Ellis. “Composure describes how comfortably and easily a vehicle tackles difficult obstacles and terrains. If a vehicle is composed, you don’t have to charge at an obstacle to get over it or rush through things to get past difficult terrain.

“This allows the vehicle to be driven in a more controlled manner. It’s more relaxing for the driver and reduces the risk of damaging the vehicle. So composure was a very important attribute that we built into Ranger’s off-road capability.”

Avoiding wheel spin
To give Ranger even more composure, it comes with ESP as standard which includes the latest Traction Control System (TCS) to maintain vehicle stability by maximising traction at each driven wheel more effectively than a limited slip differential would. A limited slip differential reacts to wheel spin by partially locking the differential action of the drive axle and diverting a portion of the engine torque to the wheel with more grip.

The TCS is able to control wheel spin, and in some cases avoid it completely, on all four wheels in 4×4 mode – something that a limited slip differential cannot achieve. It is able to reduce engine torque to the precise level that can be delivered to the ground through the wheels as well as to brake a spinning wheel completely, allowing all the available engine torque to the wheel, or wheels, with the most grip.

This system utilises both brake and engine torque control in parallel. Engine TCS reduces engine torque to reduce wheel spin and is always applied first. Brake TCS applies a brake force to the spinning wheel. It is the ability of TCS to precisely control the way engine torque is delivered to the wheels that results in better traction, acceleration and stability on loose and slippery surfaces than a limited slip differential can provide. Given the superiority of the TCS, a limited slip differential will not be offered as an option on Ranger.

The TCS also provides active safety measures by preventing wheel spin in extreme situations such as during severe cornering where wheel spin may occur. A spinning wheel cannot provide lateral forces and the vehicle may oversteer with the driver losing control.

“Every driver dreads wheel spin which is not only inconvenient but can also be very dangerous,” said Presser. “Ranger’s precise Traction Control System ensures that even on extremely slippery surfaces, you can still get to your destination safely.”

Built Ford Tough
To give the all-new Ford Ranger its rugged credentials, the product development team not only extensively tested the pick-up but also found innovative solutions to tuck key components out of harm’s way, such as placing them higher up in the vehicle and finding clever locations for them so that they will not get damaged if the pick-up hits the ground or a rock.

For example, the fuel tank is higher than the frame, which means it will never bottom out. Driveline components are mounted above the frame rail so that items like the transfer case and oil pan are protected by strong crossmembers. Vulnerable components such as the engine, radiator and fuel tank get another level of protection through additional shields.

Ranger’s approach, breakover and departure angles were designed to enable it to take on challenging paths. Key electrical components, air inlets and the alternator are strategically placed high in the engine compartment, so that the 4×4 models can wade through up to 800mm of water, giving customers the confidence to ford rivers or floods.

Ranger also went through extreme testing around the world to make sure it could stand up to the rigours of punishing terrains and temperatures. Tested in Australia, Dubai, Thailand, North America, Brazil, Sweden and South Africa, it had to face severe heat and cold, monsoon rains, high altitudes as well as rushing rivers, arid deserts and potholed roads. Prototypes clocked more than a million kilometres on the road, supported by countless hours of exhaustive testing in laboratories.

“We gave the Ranger a really good workout and truly pushed it to its limits to make sure it lives up to what it promises,” said Presser. “If you think about it, a million kilometres of on-road testing is equivalent to us driving the Ranger to the moon and back, plus another six rounds around the Earth.

“We kept throwing challenges at it and it’s never let us down. Ranger’s capability gives you peace of mind when you’re far away from the next sealed road. It’s a pick-up that feels good on unpaved country roads, goes places on soft ground, and tackles obstacles with quiet confidence.”