Ford unveils new Ranger pick-up

* New Ford Ranger pick-up unveiled * Two new diesel engines available * On-sale 'by 2012'...

Ford unveils new Ranger pick-up

The new Ford Ranger pick-up was unveiled at the Australian International Motor Show yesterday.

Along with Ford's designers' description of its look as '21st Century tough', it also gets new engines, new technology and a new platform, with a new suspension layout.

The Ranger will be available in three body styles including Double Cab, which Ford says provides more room and easier access than before as well as with the choice of two- or four-wheel drive, two different ride heights, and four trims.

More efficient engine options
Buyers will be able to pick from two diesel engines: a British-built 148bhp 2.2 and a 197bhp 3.2-litre unit. Both have been designed to be more fuel-efficient than the previous engines, as well as easier and cheaper to maintain.

The six-speed manual and automatic transmissions have also been designed to improve fuel economy, while Ford says considerable effort went into making the Ranger's body as aerodynamic as possible.

On the road
Ford says that not only does the new pick-up have more off-road ability than the outgoing model, the new suspension set-up also gives it a more comfortable ride and better handing on-road, while the steering has more feel.

In four-wheel-drive models, the driver can swap between two- and four-wheel drive using a switch on the centre console, as well as having low-range gears for off-road driving or extra downhill braking.

Driver aids
The Ranger benefits from a host of new technology, including Trailer Sway Mitigation which selectively applies brakes to slow the vehicle if a trailer begins to sway and Adaptive Load Control, which automatically keeps the car stable no matter how heavy a load it is carrying.

Rear Park Assist and a new rear-view camera system are also available, while stability control is standard across the range. Plus, for the first time on a Ranger, side curtain airbags are available on all models.

Last, but not least, the new Ranger also has a wider cargo box than before, with a maximum width of 1560mm and a volume of 1.21 cubic metres on Double Cab versions.

Ford is yet to confirm exactly when the Ranger will go on sale in the UK. However, it has said that full production will start in summer next year, and that the pick-up will go on sale in Europe 'by 2012'.