Ford Ranger Facelift BKK 2015 1

You would have seen the 2015 Ford Ranger facelift by now, going through one of the first live galleries of the refreshed truck in the world yesterday. Gut fed and fuelled, we’re now back to dive deeper into the specifications and new features of the global One Ford pick-up truck.

It still looks and drives fresh, but the current Ranger was first unveiled to the world in October 2010 in Australia, four and a half years ago. We covered the truck’s ASEAN debut at the 2011 Bangkok Motor Show a couple of months later. The much-anticipated model came to Malaysia in mid-2012.

Since then, the T6 has won many fans and owners – Ford sold 195,000 units of the Ranger in 2014 alone, and sales in Malaysia jumped 49% to 8,577 units last year, making it the second best selling pick-up truck after the Hilux. The Toyota is pretty hard to beat (in terms of sales) but Ford actually managed to do so in Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar and New Zealand last year. In Thailand, a major truck market, sales rose in 2014.

The Ranger rolls out from three Ford facilities around the globe – Argentina, South Africa and Thailand. ASEAN including Malaysia gets its supply from the AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) plant in Rayong, Thailand, where this latest model will continue to be produced.

The most apparent change on this facelift is on the face itself, now featuring a bold, chrome trapezoidal grille that isn’t too dissimilar from the F-150 Raptor’s in shape. The headlamps, which are connected to the grille, have been upgraded to projector units. There’s also a new hood with strakes in the middle. This car is the XLT, but you can see pretty clear spyshots of the dressed-up Wildtrak here.

“We saw an opportunity to give the design extra tension, and to emphasise ‘Built Ford Tough’ design elements like the outboard nostrils – all while maintaining the Ranger’s excellent aerodynamic characteristics,” said Dave Dewitt, exterior design manager.

Ford Ranger Facelift BKK 2015 29

A note on the side steps, which are no longer metal pipes. Ford says that the new plastic items offer more usability, as it’s wider and easier to step on, plus easier to clean. More practical, apparently.

First seen in the upcoming Everest, the cabin is new. The curves of the old dashboard is gone, replaced by straight lines and a strong horizontal design for a tough image to match the exterior. Besides providing an impression of width, it frames a central eight-inch touchscreen. That’s not the only screen though; behind the new button-rich steering wheel sits a dual-TFT instrument cluster that provides the driver with all sorts of info, from navigation to climate control.

The new Ranger comes with SYNC 2, Ford’s latest in-car connectivity system. Using voice commands like “temperature 20 degrees” or “I’m hungry”, the driver can control the air con, navigation and audio system. Ford is also highlighting a new 240-volt power socket that can be used to power a laptop computer.

Also available on this truck are Lane Keeping Alert (vibrates steering when you veer out of lane), Lane Keeping Aid (applies steering torque to guide vehicle back into lane), Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Alert (visual and audio warning when approaching a car too fast, preps the brakes), front and rear park assist (with rear view camera), Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, ESP and Driver Impairment Monitor (detects drowsiness). Yes, you’re reading about a pick-up truck, although not all these will be present in all variants in our market, as pricing needs to be competitive.

The cabin alone may make current Ranger owners salivate, but there are changes under the skin too. Three revised Duratorq TDCi units could come to Malaysia – the five-cylinder 3.2L (updated EGR system, 197 hp, 470 Nm, 18% better economy), a standard 2.2L four-pot (158 hp/385 Nm) and a high-efficiency variant of the 2.2L with 129 hp and 22% better FC. A 164 hp/225 Nm 2.5L Duratec petrol engine is available elsewhere.

New here is stop-start tech, which saves fuel by shutting down the engine when idling. This alone improves FC by 3.5%, and a longer final drive ratio aids the cause when cruising. Also new is electric power steering, which is a first in segment. Besides saving fuel (about 3%) as it eliminates the power steering pump, EPAS is quieter and provides varying assistance based on speed, steering angle, cornering forces and acceleration/deceleration. Light and manageable at low speeds and precise at high speed, Ford says.

For this writer, the current Ranger is the best truck to drive on tarmac, but Ford has seen fit to retune the suspension for “additional comfort and even better handling” while also improving NVH. Off-road highlights such as 800 mm wading depth, 230 mm ground clearance, 28-degree approach angle, 25-degree departure angle and up to 3,500 kg towing capability remain unchanged.

The Ranger facelift will arrive in Malaysia in the second half of this year. More details closer to launch. Meanwhile, have a recap by reading our test drive report of the pre-facelift Ranger T6.