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UPDATE: More information and pictures added

We’re in Bangkok now for the ASEAN debut of the all-new Ford Ranger pick-up truck. Designed and developed in Australia, this Ranger is part of the One Ford strategy for global vehicles, and Thailand, which is the second largest market in the world for such vehicles, will be one of three global production hubs for the one-tonne truck.

The AAT plant in Thailand responsible for Ranger will kick off production in the middle of this year, before plants in South Africa and Argentina start production. Malaysia is of course getting the Ranger from our northern neighbour, and the first units are scheduled to arrive in early 2012.

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Ford officials are in a confident mood here in Bangkok, as they unveiled what’s claimed as the “best in class” truck in a variety of aspects. It certainly looks much bigger than the current one, bold and handsome, and the features are impressive.

The Double Cab version that we see here (Regular and Super also available) measures 5,359 mm long and 1,850 mm wide, which means it takes over from the Nissan Navara (5,230 X 1,850 mm) as the largest truck in town. The Ranger’s wheelbase is 3,230 mm long, which is also the longest in the segment.

For the record, this new Ranger is 190 mm longer, 43 mm wider and 65 mm taller than the current one. The big body makes the show car’s 18-inch wheels look just about adequate. 16 and 17-inch rims will also be available.

Because of this increase in size, Ford claims that rear legroom and knee clearance is best in class. You would also have noticed that the rear door is now significantly larger, which means easier access. The current Ranger has fixed sized front doors regardless of cab type, which limits the size scope of the rear doors in the double cab, but in this new model, the door length and B pillars vary according to cab type. More flexible, in other words.

By the way, it’s an all-new platform that will come with fresh engines – two Duratorq TDCi units and one Duratec petrol. Let’s focus on the diesels, as the 166 PS/226 Nm petrol with five-speed manual isn’t likely to reach our shores.

Breaking away from the 2.5-litre trend, the new Ranger will come with a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel with 150 PS and 375 Nm of torque. As you can see, despite the smaller capacity, this 2.2’s output betters that of the current Ranger and its 2.5L rivals in Malaysia, except for the Navara. On a 4X2 model, Ford says that fuel consumption is as low as 7.6L/100 km.

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The second diesel lump is a five-cylinder 3.2-litre unit that puts out 200 PS and 470 Nm of torque. These engines are related to those used in the European Ford Transit van. The 2.2 will be the one that’s coming to Malaysia early 2012, while the 3.2 is a possible entry at a later date.

To top it off, the new Ranger will be the first in class to offer a six-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox will have Sequential Shift Control manual override, Grade Logic Control and Driver Recognition, the latter adapting to the driver’s style. The manual ‘box for the diesels have six forward ratios as well, plus an upshift indicator to encourage efficient driving.

Globally, the truck will come in 4X2 and 4X4 drivetrains and two ride heights, with the 4X2 Hi-Rider sharing the same frame as the 4X4 model. Shift on the fly is available for 4X4 models.

A new feature is the locking rear differential that’s activated by a dashboard button. This would be valuable off road when one rear wheel is in mud or not touching the ground. 4X4 and Hi-Rider models have 241 mm ground clearance and class leading 800 mm of wade height, good for floods. By the way, the steering is now rack and pinion.

Among the headline features (globally) are best in class towing capacity (up to 3,350 kg, payload up to 1,500 kg), Bluetooth with Voice Control, rear view camera, curtain airbags, 23 storage spaces in the cabin (including a vented 8.5L centre bin), dual-zone climate control, cruise control, ESP, Hill Launch Assist and Hill Descent Control. Of course, not all of these will be in the Malaysian spec model if it’s to have a competitive price.

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Looks good to shoot straight to the top of the class, and we can’t wait to drive it! More pics after the jump.

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