Ford Ranger 2020 shows that pickup trucks can also be technological and fun.
Pickup trucks are not necessarily the type of vehicle that can be considered the “consumer dream” of Europeans. Although they have good sales spread across various size and motorization segments, these cars are seen more like a product for work, with journeys on hard-to-reach and freight-carrying terrain.
However, the industry is shaping according to the needs of users. It was the time when the pickup was synonymous with an obsolete vehicle, and we can verify this with the products available in various automakers. It was with this thought that Ford decided to give a technology bath in its most iconic pickup truck, the Ford Ranger.
The 2020 version, announced on Tuesday (25) for the Brazilian and South American market, brings safety and connectivity items seen only in cars of luxury segments. Comfort while riding was also improved, with changes in suspension and automatic transmission.
And all this with one great advantage: the automaker has maintained the price of the 2019 line.
With Ranger 2020, Ford hopes to at least reduce the difference in sales for Toyota Hilux, the best-selling medium-sized pickup truck. Will she succeed? Let’s count the pros- and also cons- that can make this goal come true.
The Ford Ranger 2020 is an excellent car. Score. But it is necessary that we explain what makes it different and attractive even for those who do not have an off-road routine and who want to use it as a vehicle for everyday life.
There are two engines for the Ranger 2020: a 2.2, 160hp with 36.5kgfm of torque at 2,500rpm; and at 3.2, 200cv and 47kgfm of torque at 3000rpm. And, yes, that makes a difference in everything else.
In both engines, however, the options are identical. So let’s focus on what the top-of-the-line version, called “Limited,” presented to us during the tests.
It encompasses several highly technological safety items that are seen only in premium brand models and in other high-end segment cars. This kit contains, in addition to stability control and adaptive autopilot:
Track stay system: if the vehicle perceives a strange behavior of the driver, it automatically adjusts it so that the Ranger stays in range. During our tests, the feature worked flawlessly, even over 100km / h. It, however, can be disabled.
Traffic Signal Recognition: Two cameras coupled to the upper front windshield identify the road signs on the road and replicate it on the control panel, warning the driver about speed limits, direction changes, alert to stop, between others. In the path that we made, everything was shown with precision, with accurate and immediate readings.
Standalone Brake Assist: This feature activates all of the pickup brakes electronically if the system identifies any car or pedestrian on the way, stopping the vehicle altogether if it is at a speed of up to 60km / h. If the driver is faster, the system will also work, but less effectively. It can be deactivated if the software detects that the driver is under full steering and braking control.
During the tests, we had the opportunity to see it in action and was, let’s say, interesting. The idea is not to need, of course, but that it works, it works.
Individual tire monitoring: Tire pressure is of the utmost importance so that Ranger’s operation, particularly on dirt roads, takes place most effectively and safely possible. The system alerts the driver if the tires are not correctly calibrated with a signal on the control panel.
Antifreeze system: Even though it is almost impossible to overturn a 4×4 car, the Ranger has a unique system that prevents the vehicle from making this move. It acts on the suspension and the brakes.
Adaptive load control and towing: Pickups are great for cargo and pulling, but driving a car in this situation is not the same thing. That’s why Ford has included this control in the Ranger, which makes it more stable even in heavyweight conditions. It is worth remembering that the items described above work on both the asphalt and the land.
“We used to say that Ranger is at least five years ahead of the competition in terms of technology. With the 2020 model, we are going to increase that distance even further and we intend to expand our market share with this product, “said Maurício Greco, Ford’s Latin American marketing director.
For the off-road, however much they are not new, it is worth noting the operation of some primordial items for those looking for a pickup of this size. On the way we rode the speedway Velo Città, with several obstacles and extreme situations, we could feel the operation of descent control, 4×4 traction and the balance lock for pointed reliefs.
It is worth mentioning that the Ranger is the only medium-sized truck on the market that can withstand up to 80cm of immersion in the water. Driving a heavy vehicle on land is tricky, and these features make the task much more comfortable and safer.
Even in not-so-extreme ground circuits, 4×4 traction stabilizes the pickup, so the steering is much steadier. They complement the Ranger 2020’s safety feature package with its automatic high-beam headlamp, electronically locking rear differential and seven airbags.
Ford Ranger 2020 had few visual changes but gained more items of comfort, progressive electric steering, and technology for drivers and passengers. After all, the vehicle is not just to be used in extreme situations, and Ford seems to have been a little more concerned with the users who see in the truck their car for every day.
To begin, of course, with the central multimedia Sync 3 with a 9-inch screen. Unlike the model that came in the Ford Ka 2019, the new version of the Ford Ranger has native GPS. An antenna on the rear of the pickup picks up the entire signal and transmits it simultaneously, with very little latency.
Pairing with Android Auto and Apple Car Play remains flawless, as well as all other features of the central, such as voice commands and the assistance of that calls the SAMU in case of an accident. The screen itself, at first glance, seemed to have a higher sensitivity compared to that of the Ford Ka, as well as image quality and interface.
The internal space is quite impressive, although smaller than in other competitors, but nothing uncomfortable. In the cabin, we have a finish that also falls within the category standards, with the addition of a two-zone digital air conditioning.
When we go to the off-road circuit, then who stands out is version 3.2. Not only for having an engine more capable of overcoming obstacles, but also for having a better suspension. According to Gilmar de Paula, chief engineer of the Ranger platform for South America, changes were made to make the truck less “bouncy.”
“We have redesigned the stabilizer bar and refined the coexisting elements. With this, the Ranger 2020 is more stable and soft, no matter the terrain, “comments De Paula.
Of course, in certain situations, you can not expect the car to behave as if it were in the clouds. But in the face of the obstacles we faced in testing, especially in what was called the “egg carton,” the Ranger performed very well.
Its safety systems have raised its level of reliability, and its once criticized performance may be the asset to compete with its direct rivals, such as Chevrolet S10, Volkswagen Amarok and market leader, Toyota Hilux. The Ford Ranger 2020 will be available in the market at the end of August.