Ford makes a startling claim for the next-gen Ranger: as the smartest Ranger yet, it has an enhanced user experience that means owners can transition seamlessly from home or work to their vehicle.
Does that mean remote working has come to a car? Not quite, but the new-generation Sync 4A infotainment system, large-format screens, and digital instrument displays replacing analogue clusters, mean the cars behave more like smartphones. For this reason, says the company, the next-gen Ranger pushes the boundaries of what a smart truck should be, with its customer-focused technology.
“Customers had an overwhelming response to the next-gen Ranger’s new interior design and the technologies our teams had integrated on the inside,” says Graham Pearson, Ranger vehicle program director. “Ranger will re-define the segment with a premium interior that clearly shows people don’t have to sacrifice interior comfort or technologies just because they desire a truck.”
An 8-inch colour, reconfigurable, digital instrument panel allows more information to be presented to the driver than an analogue system. The large-format, 10.1- or 12-inch infotainment screens, featuring Sync 4A, have helped declutter the dashboard.
Ranger’s electric parking brake and first-in class e-shifter bring a more tech feel to the interior and allow greater accessibility and space to drivers.
The FordPass app enables owners to use their smartphone to organise things like service scheduling, remote start, vehicle location, vehicle health alerts, remote locking or unlocking, and activating the heating or cooling to the previously set temperature.
Ford provided the following information on key Ranger technology features:
Next-gen Ranger has done away with a physical instrument cluster for things like the speedometer, replacing them with an 8-inch digital instrument panel that can be customised. These displays boast a start-up and farewell animation and a digital speedometer and tachometer. The graphics also feature realistic body-style avatars.
Depending on the variant, owners can toggle between layouts showing information such as driver-assist technologies, tachometer on or off, and extra gauges. There’s also a ‘calm view’, which removes information on demand from the display.
Because next-gen Ranger features on- and off-road driving modes, the instrument panel displays a different theme for each selected drive mode, with animated mode changes when the driver scrolls from one to the other.
Smarter, Intuitive Connectivity with Sync 4A
At the heart of next-gen Ranger’s technology story is the Sync 4A communications and entertainment system. This system offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity and displays the latest features used to make the Sync 4A system easier to navigate. If the customer has cellular coverage, Sync 4A can provide real-time information like fuel pricing, traffic alerts and more.
Whether the next-gen Ranger is equipped with a 10.1- or a best-in-class 12-inch infotainment screen, there’s a customisable split-screen setup with an information-on-demand panel always available at the bottom of the screen. This displays key information, like navigation, the user’s connected smartphone and more.
The team chose a large-format tablet screen because it allowed for a good depiction of navigation while still leaving room at the bottom of the screen for things such as climate and entertainment controls.
Ford Power-Up Updates
The next-gen Ranger also will be fitted with an embedded factory-fitted modem allowing connectivity on the go when linked with the FordPass App, so customers can stay connected to their truck. Ranger also is designed to evolve over time. In the future, customers will be able to secure Ford Power-Up updates, which offer enhancements from updating the Sync 4A software, to upgrades that improve the vehicle’s quality, capability and convenience without the need to schedule a service.
Digital Owner’s Manual
No more searching through hundreds of pages. Next-gen Ranger drivers will be able to access a digital owner’s manual, useful how-to videos, plus in-depth information on vehicle features and a whole lot more – all available through the Sync 4A touchscreen.
Fewer Buttons, More Capability
Many of the traditional driving mode controls have been moved from the dash and centre console to their own dedicated display on the Sync screen.
For example, with one button press, drivers can go to Ranger’s dedicated off-road screen where they can monitor the driveline, steering angle, vehicle pitch, roll angles and other controls. The cabin climate and entertainment can be controlled via the Sync screen, with additional physical controls mounted just below the screen for quick and easy adjustments.
Look All Around
The screen is linked to a 360-degree camera to make parking a breeze in tight urban spaces or to assist when negotiating particularly tricky terrain while out exploring. The system allows the driver to see what’s in front of or behind the vehicle as well as a top-down view of the area around the vehicle, including blind spots, for added confidence.
The team fitted the higher variants of next-gen Ranger with a first-in-class, short-throw e-shifter and electric parking brake for a more high-tech feel. This change not only allows for greater accessibility for drivers, but also provides the opportunity for increased advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), like fully automated parking assist.
Keep It Charged
Next-gen Ranger now allows customers to keep their smartphone wirelessly charged and connected to Sync 4A via a charging pad at the base of the centre console. Smartphones also can be charged via a cable to a USB port or with the available 12V/240V sockets and the 400W inverter that brings power to the box.
Let There Be Light
Another segment-first feature for Ranger is the new exterior zone lighting system, which can be controlled via the Sync 4A screen or the FordPass app on smartphones. This zone lighting consists of headlights, puddle lamps, number plate lights and cargo box lights. These lights can be controlled as a ‘zone’ or altogether, which means owners don’t have to work, camp, or do anything in the dark.
In the Palm of Your Hand
The FordPass app helps connect Ranger owners with their new truck more than ever before. It allows them to remotely check all sorts of things on their next-gen Ranger like the fuel level, odometer, vehicle location and more. It can also be used to activate the zone lighting, remotely lock or unlock the vehicle, and even remote start to pre-condition the vehicle’s cabin on a hot day or warm it up and defrost the windscreen on a cold winter’s day, activating the heating or cooling to previously set temperatures. For peace of mind, during a remote start, the Ranger remains locked and cannot be driven away without a valid key being detected.
The B&O sound system in the next-gen Ranger went through rigorous static and dynamic acoustic testing. The size and placement of the 10-speakers was purpose-designed and specifically placed to fill the cabin with rich, emotional audio and maintain both power and clarity even over the roughest terrain. The speaker grilles boast the iconic B&O radiating hole design blending beautifully with the rest of the Ranger’s interior. The 660-watt amplifier and the enveloping soundstage, created by 10 speakers, are balanced by intelligent digital signal processing for a total sound experience, ensuring you never hear just a single speaker.
Keep Your Cool
Next-gen Ranger also features a new climate control system with a compressor featuring variable-stroke technology. This technology improves refinement through reduced compressor cycling and reduced engine load resulting in fuel efficiency gains. Owners will be able to access the climate controls via Sync 4A or hard buttons at the base of the screen. A new sensor is able to measure cabin temperature and humidity to quickly adjust modes and blower speeds to maintain a comfortable cabin in all weather conditions. For the first time on Ranger, rear console-mounted registers are available, improving cabin comfort for those in the back seats.