by Karl Furlong
With a new-generation F-150 here and the Maverick having launched a few months ago, Ford's core truck lineup is now complete with the reveal of the all-new midsize Ranger. Revealed for other markets initially, the Ranger seen here will be very similar to the US-spec version that is expected to arrive for the 2023 model year. As expected, the new Ranger enters a hotly contested segment with a more purposeful appearance, an upgraded chassis, and a more versatile cargo area. It'll need to fend off the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado, but the new Ranger seems up to the task.
The new Ranger is a more rugged, confident-looking truck than its predecessor. The taller, squared-off hood and larger grille are aggressive, just as truck shoppers prefer. Running through the grille and into the curved, 'C-clamp' headlights are twin bars that are similar to the ones found on the smaller Maverick. Matrix LED headlights will be offered for the first time, and hopefully in the US too. The wheel arches stand out more than before, although there's nothing remarkable about the rear-end design. It's a handsome truck that should appeal to a wide variety of buyers, though. As usual, certain trims like the Wildtrak come with special wheels and more rugged cladding to set them apart.
Ford hasn't yet provided numbers for the bed's dimensions, but the truck is wider than before and, therefore, more practical. There's also a useful cargo management system, more tie-down points, and load box lighting.
The current Ranger's interior is dated so the new truck's improvements are most welcome. Again, it's worth mentioning that not all of the specifications here will necessarily apply to the local model. Highlighting the cabin is either a 10.1- or 12-inch touchscreen interface running the latest Ford Sync4 software. The larger screen has enabled Ford to move many of the conventional driving mode controls to the screen itself.
Wireless charging, an available 360-degree camera system, the ability to receive software updates, and remote start are some of the advanced technologies on offer. There's also a fully digital instrument panel ahead of the driver. Ford has also focused on storage and promises more practical door bins, an upper glovebox, and storage space behind the rear seats.
While the cabin's design won't blow you away, it all seems to be simple, functional, and practical, and those are the factors that are important in a truck.
In Australia, engine choices include a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel and a 2.0-liter inline-four turbodiesel in both single- and bi-turbo configurations. However, the US will likely skip the diesels altogether and stick with the 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that is one of the highlights of the current model. This unit produces 270 horsepower and enables a towing capacity of up to 7,500 pounds. A V6-powered Ranger Raptor will come to America too. The global Ranger will be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox but expect only a 10-speed automatic stateside. Ford also noted that the new truck has a hydro-formed front-end structure that frees up space for the V6 and that will "future-proof the Ranger for other propulsion technologies," hinting at electrified versions.
Both two- and four-wheel-drive versions of the Ranger should be on offer. Ford says that the front wheels are now positioned nealy 2 inches further forward to improve the approach angle. The ride is also claimed to be better than before, whether or not the truck is loaded with heavy cargo. A full-time 4x4 system or an electronic shift-on-the-fly system will be available.
As usual, the new Ranger will go up against the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado. These rivals better the current Ranger in some areas like towing capacity and by offering a more diverse range. We expect the new Ranger to turn the tables, though, especially since it was designed with the North American market in mind from the very beginning.
At this early stage, it's no surprise that Ford hasn't said anything about pricing. We don't expect there to be a huge difference between the existing model and the new one, so expect the 2023 Ranger to start at around $27,000.
The new Ranger's production will get underway in Thailand and South Africa in 2022, and the US-spec models shouldn't be too far behind.
The most popular competitors of 2024 Ford Ranger: