March 3, 2011
You know it’s a different type of truck introduction when its debut takes place not in Detroit, Dallas or (even) Des Moines, but Geneva. When you remember, however, that there exists no plan by the ‘One Ford’ folks to market the new Ranger stateside, the logic becomes clear. Until, of course, you try to find the logic in not giving the USA customers a platform that constitutes a huge design and dynamic improvement over its current namesake.
Designed by Ford’s ‘down under’ subsidiary, Ranger constitutes a huge leap in the design, development and execution of what we at one time called the compact pickup. And in its marketing it promises to be anything but a one-note song, with three different cabs, both 4X2 and 4X4 drivetrains, two ride heights and up to four engine choices.
Topping the Ranger range is the new Wildtrak. According to Craig Metros, leader of the design team responsible for the new Ranger, the Wildtrak’s “aggressive look and bold new graphics are a perfect fit for those who appreciate a sporty and more expressive image… and will look fantastic transporting the latest quad or jet ski for their weekend getaways.”
Inside, what Ford terms a special “hydrographic” finish on the console recalls the high tech ambience of carbon fiber. Seats are covered in a combination of leather and cloth, and work to provide appropriate lateral support on rough terrain. Legroom for rear seat passengers has been enhanced relative to its predecessor, and three adults can (reportedly) easily fit into the Ranger’s second row.
Ford, of course, also has its technology bases covered, with Bluetooth audio streaming, USB and iPod connectivity. As in the U.S., Ford offers voice control over the radio, iPod, USB, air conditioning and phone. Navigation can be viewed via a 5-inch color screen. Mention of powertrain choices underscores the “they won’t sell it here dictum,” with two common-rail diesels, one 2.2 liter four and a new 3.2 liter five cylinder.
DAVID BOLDT began his automotive career in BMW and Saab showrooms in the 1980s, and he moved to automotive journalism in 1993. David has written for a variety of regional and national publications, and prior to joining AutoTrader, he managed media relations for a Japanese OEM.