2023 Ford Ranger V6 prototype evaluate

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The next-generation 2023 Ford Ranger ought to be hitting showrooms in a couple of quick weeks, and Ford Australia has managed a calculated drip feed of details about the brand new vehicles for the previous 12 months.

Whereas the official launch date is in June, we bought our first probability to rise up near Ford’s new truck again in November 2021 once we got entry to a prototype car and the engineers behind them.

Becoming a member of us at Ford’s secretive You Yangs Proving Floor close to Geelong, Victoria, have been Pritika Maharaj, Ranger and Everest program supervisor, and Ian Foston, chief engineer for the T6 platform on which the Ranger, Everest and Bronco are constructed.

UPDATE, July 2022: New Ford Ranger evaluate – it is right here finally

The brand new 2023 Ford Ranger is now on sale in Australia, and the native media launch has been run. The Wheels and 4×4 Australia groups have each pushed the brand new Ranger, and yow will discover their tales on the hyperlinks under.

Story continues…

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The automobiles at hand are referred to as TT prototypes. That’s, they’re the primary automobiles to come back off the manufacturing line in Thailand versus the sooner prototypes which might be hand-built at Ford Australia’s Broadmeadows facility. In addition to the 2 factories in Thailand the place the Australian manufacturing vehicles will come from, the brand new Ranger can even be in-built North America, South America and South Africa.

The vehicles have been nonetheless closely camouflaged for this drive, as this was taking place effectively earlier than Ford unveiled the look of the automobile and earlier than we knew any specs of the drivetrains and their outputs. After all, we now know what they seem like and what shall be powering them.

Whereas nonetheless a robust suspicion right now, we have been pleasantly stunned to search out the vehicles we might be driving have been powered by the V6 diesel engine. Whereas Ford couldn’t give us the small print on the time, we now know the three.0-litre V6 places out 184kW at 3250rpm and 600Nm from 1750 to 2250rpm.

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The V6 engine is from the ‘Lion’ household of engines, which relate again to the two.7-litre model we bear in mind from the Land Rover Discovery 3 and Ford Territory, whereas the latter 3.0-litre model was utilized in different Land Rover fashions and most just lately within the Ford F-150 for a short while.

“The three.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel delivers,” stated Pritika. “Once you drive a Ranger with the V6 turbo-diesel, it appears like a a lot larger truck. And it feels sturdy within the sense that it’s bought loads of energy and torque, which is precisely what our clients informed us they wished.”

On monitor

Our first drive was on a twisting sealed street circuit designed to show the automobile’s efficiency and dynamics, however earlier than we drove the prototypes, we first did it in a present mannequin Wildtrak with the two.0 bi-turbo engine and 10-speed auto.

With Pritika driving shotgun, I used to be happy when the Ranger displayed the transmission hesitancy and uncertainty as we left the road and I commented that I hoped they have been in a position to repair that. “You’ll see,” was her figuring out reply.

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The 10R60 transmission has undergone a substantial makeover because it appeared within the Ranger behind the two.0 diesel, and additionally it is used within the Mustang, F Vehicles and different Ford World merchandise. For the next-gen Ranger, it will get a brand new torque converter and nearer gear ratios to make it extra refined and responsive behind each the TDV6 and the in-line four-cylinder diesel engines.

Within the next-gen prototype, I left the road simply as I had within the earlier mannequin and it confirmed no signal of hesitancy or indecision – a constructive first impression of the brand new automobile. The ability of the engine is instantly evident, leaving me considering that that is what 4×4 ute homeowners need. The present mannequin VW Amarok is the one automobile that will come shut in drivetrain efficiency.

With its longer and better bonnet, the brand new Ranger appears like a much bigger automobile from behind the wheel, though the general dimensions are related. This, in keeping with Pritika’s feedback concerning the drivetrain, provides the automobile an all-new feeling. It’s extra planted on the street by the bends largely as a result of its 50mm wider wheeltrack.

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An enormous revelation got here on a piece of the monitor the place high-frequency humps within the street upset the chassis within the present mannequin automobile and kicked it off line, following the camber of the street. Driving the TT prototype over the identical part and brought on the similar pace, no such instability was evident and it tracked straight throughout the bumps.

Although this was a sealed street, this part was much like corrugations you discover on outback gravel roads, so it will likely be fascinating to get one of many manufacturing Rangers out bush.

Whereas solely a brief drive, it did reveal the brand new Ranger to have a extra steady and surefooted chassis, with a powertrain that ought to meet the wants of consumers be it for efficiency, towing or off-roading.

Off-road

We took the TT prototype and present mannequin Rangers to an off-road loop throughout the proving floor that included steep climbs and descents, side-slopes, cross-axle articulation, rocks and sand.

This time we had Ian Foston driving shotgun and once more we first drove the present mannequin automobile across the course. We’re solely too acquainted with the PX Ranger and its skills and, as anticipated, the automobile did all of it comparatively simply. The Ranger’s digital traction management, rear differential lock and good articulation made comparatively mild work of such terrain.

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Within the next-gen Ranger, the very first thing you could do earlier than heading off-road is familiarise your self with the varied techniques that management all the things. It helps to have the chief engineer sitting beside you to supply recommendations on the best technique to choose the proper mode for the situations. Whereas the brand new Ranger V6 has a full-time 4×4 switch case, it’s not so simple as choosing low vary and taking off.

The automobile has six selectable drive modes, two of that are devoted to off-road use. These are Mud/Ruts and Sand modes and when you choose these by way of a dial on the console, the automobile makes all of the {hardware} choices for you, together with the switch case operation and differential locks. The on-road drive modes embrace Regular, Eco, Tow/Haul, and Slippery. The Ranger Raptor provides Baja, Sport and Rock Crawl modes however loses the Tow and Eco modes.

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It is going to take some extra time within the manufacturing car to totally familiarize yourself with this method and the way a lot management the motive force has over it, however with Mud/Ruts chosen the Ranger prototype routinely chosen low vary and was able to go. An off-road display will be chosen on the large centre stack monitor which reveals all of the settings and the view from the off-road cameras and permits you to choose them on the touchscreen.

In low vary the V6 diesel engine crawled the brand new Ranger alongside easily at low revs and climbed the primary mound with ease. You wish to use much less throttle on this automobile and let the torque of the V6 engine do the work. We didn’t know the specs on the time, however the V6 produces 600Nm in comparison with the four-cylinder bi-turbo’s 500Nm and it feels to be obtainable from decrease within the rev vary, as you’ll count on of the larger V6 engine. This V6 appears like it will likely be well-suited to towing and hauling hundreds.

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In distinction to the present mannequin, the brand new one, with its 50mm-longer wheelbase, scraped its stomach on the highest of the mound and required a bit extra pace to scrape throughout it with out getting hung up.

The following impediment was the cross-axle articulation, which the brand new prototype dealt with a lot simpler than the present mannequin because of its longer wheel journey and sharper traction-control calibration.

Climbing over the following rise gave the chance to utilize the forward-facing digicam on the large display. With a blind crest you couldn’t see which manner the monitor went as soon as excessive, however the display gave clear indication of the place to level the truck. The digicam additionally confirmed a big rock off to 1 aspect of the monitor that was greatest prevented.

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The longer and better bonnet of the brand new mannequin does block extra of the motive force’s view of the monitor forward in comparison with that within the present mannequin automobile. Ahead-facing cameras assist on this regard however are nonetheless no substitute for fixed scanning and evaluating the monitor forward of the automobile. I discover that trying down on the centre display requires you to cease the automobile whereas your eyes are off the monitor forward, to make sure you don’t hit any surprises.

The next side-angle, rocky and sandy sections have been lined with out fuss, as the brand new Ranger didn’t slip a tyre. The improved stability afforded by the brand new automobile’s wider footprint and extra compliant, longer journey suspension, provides the motive force a extra surefooted and assured feeling.

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Each the on- and off-road loops we drove on the day have been comparatively quick, however they every gave a robust perception into a few of the situations Ford Australia had been testing the next-gen Rangers below.

As we went by our workouts, numerous different camouflaged Rangers could possibly be seen and heard roaring across the high-speed loop circuit or screeching their tyres on a distant skid pan. Even at this late stage within the Ranger’s improvement, the testing went on relentlessly, right here at You Yangs and different check websites world wide.

At one level late within the afternoon as we waited for the final of the drivers to finish their loop, a black and white camouflaged Ranger flew by on the high-speed loop, emitting a distinctly totally different sound to the others earlier than it.

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“That automobile sounded totally different to the others,” I stated to Pritika Maharaj, who was standing beside me. It was extra of a query than an announcement, however the drivetrain skilled wasn’t revealing something, as a substitute asking what I believed was totally different about it. I may solely speculate on the time that it was a petroleum engine and probably the then-rumoured turbocharged V6 of the Ranger Raptor mannequin. Pritika simply smiled knowingly.

After all, we now know that the Raptor model of the brand new Ranger will characteristic a turbocharged petrol V6 engine, which together with the V6 diesel we drove right here, guarantees to make this next-gen Ranger essentially the most thrilling mid-size 4×4 ute to hit the market in a very long time.

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