Tech is new definer of automobiles for car buyers with power, torque and performance having largely given way to the kit inside the cabin and Ford is following this trend by making the next-gen Ranger the smartest Ranger yet.
From the new-generation SYNCi 4A infotainment system to large-format screens that behave more like smartphones and digital instrument displays replacing analog clusters, 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. “Once again, 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.”
Inside is an 8-inch colour, reconfigurable, digital instrument panel that allows more information to be presented to the driver than an analogue system. Additionally, the large-format, 10,1-inch or 12-inch infotainment screens, featuring Ford’s SYNC 4A communication and entertainment system, 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.
It also takes lighting to the next level with full LED lighting for both front and rear, as well as zone lighting.
The FordPass app enables owners to use their smartphone to organise things such as service scheduling, remote start, vehicle location, vehicle health alerts, remote locking or unlocking, and activating the heating or cooling to the previously set temperature.
The new Ranger has done away with a physical instrument cluster for things such as 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 it 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.
SYNC4A offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity and displays the latest features used to make the SYNC4A system easier to navigate. If the customer has cellular coverage, SYNC4A can provide real-time information – traffic alerts and more.
The Ranger 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 bakkie. 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.
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.
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.
Another feature for Ranger is the new exterior zone lighting system, which can be controlled via the SYNC4Ascreen or the FordPass app on smartphones. This zone lighting consists of headlights, puddle lamps, numberplate 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.
“We’ve not only made the next-gen Ranger smarter, but we’ve enhanced the user experience. Whether it’s being able to control certain vehicle features from your smartphone via the FordPass app, or the inclusion of new-generation infotainment, we’ve improved the interface between driver and vehicle,” says Chris Clarke, connectivity applications supervisor.