All-New Ford Ranger Conquers Every Task and Terrain with More Capability than Ever
Ranger has a payload capacity of more than 1400 kg on some 4×2 variants
Ranger’s outstanding ground clearance of up to 237 mm and class-leading water-wading capability of 800 mm boost its off-road capability
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
BANGKOK, Thailand, 11 Nov., 2011 – With a best-in-class water-wading capability as well as exceptional payload capacity and ground clearance, the all-new global Ford Ranger has a can-do attitude and go-anywhere capability that customers will appreciate.
Commercial users looking to transport heavy construction materials will welcome Ranger’s outstanding payload capacity of more than 1400 kilogrammes on some 4×2 variants while customers will appreciate Ranger’s class-leading water-wading capability of 800 millimetres and excellent ground clearance of up to 237 millimetres that will allow them to go deeper or climb higher.
“Our customers want a pickup 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 Asia Pacific and Africa (APA). “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, a new upgraded rear axle, and lower overall ratios all contribute to the 4×4 Ranger’s superior off-road capability which begins with a robust electronically controlled transfer case – for both manual and automatic transmissions – that allow drivers to shift on the fly from 4×2 to 4×4 high-range anytime 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 helps prevent 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 pickup 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 the 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.
“Ranger is a very composed vehicle even when going off the beaten track,” said Sam Ellis, Ranger’s dynamics supervisor, Ford APA. “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, models fitted with ESP come with the Traction Control System (TCS) that maintains vehicle stability by maximising traction at each driven wheel more effectively than a limited slip differential.
The 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, on the other hand, is able to control wheel spin up to avoiding it completely, and on all four wheels in 4×4 mode – something that a limited slip differential cannot achieve. It is able to reduce the level of engine torque to the exact amount that can be delivered to the ground through the wheels as well as brake a spinning wheel completely, allowing all the available engine torque to the wheel, or wheels, with the most grip.
The 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, the limited slip differential will not be offered as an option on Ranger models with ESP.
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 feel confident in difficult terrain.”
For those who will be driving on slippery roads or in difficult terrain where a wheel could possibly end up off the ground, Ranger offers additional traction control with an electronic locking rear differential (LRD) where both rear wheels are solidly connected for extreme traction capability. Even with one wheel off the ground, full axle drive torque is still sent to the wheel that has grip.
A new feature on Ranger, the locking rear differential is activated by pressing a button on the dashboard. This engages a mechanical device on the rear axle to “lock” both the rear wheels together so that they turn together at the same speed. This is extremely useful if one of the rear wheels loses traction completely because it is on ice, mud or lifted up in the air.
Without a locking device, that wheel would spin up and all the engine power and torque would go to that wheel. But if the wheels are “locked” together, the wheel with traction gets enough power and torque to enable the vehicle to move forward even under challenging conditions. For example, Ranger can move forward as long as one rear wheel has grip even if the remaining three wheels are on ice and do not have grip.
The locking rear differential is an especially attractive option for customers who might not need the full capability of a 4×4 model but want additional confidence in difficult terrain. Adding this option to the 4×2 Hi-Rider turns it into a very capable vehicle as it has the same stiff frame and ground clearance of the 4×4 variant.
“If you’re in a farm or a building site and the only off-road driving you do may be in a muddy paddock or some rough building site, then the locking rear differential gives you all the traction benefit that you need,” said Ellis. “And the advantage of the 4×2 Hi-Rider is that since it’s lighter, you get higher payload capacity and more fuel efficiency too.”
Built Ford Tough
To give the all-new Ford Ranger its rugged credentials, the product development team not only extensively tested the pickup 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 pickup hits the ground or a rock.
For example, the fuel tank is higher than the frame to help prevent it bottoming 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 and 4×2 Hi-Rider models can wade through up to 800 mm 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 laps 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 pickup that feels good on unpaved country roads, goes places on soft ground, and tackles obstacles with quiet confidence.”