[Photos] Here’s The Next-Gen Ford Ranger in All Its Glory
Here we sit on the cusp of the most gluttonous of holidays, mentally and perhaps spiritually preparing for the harrowing experience we’re about to put ourselves through. Without even so much as a hint of an explosive conversation about mandates, Ford dropped a feast on our plates this morning with the smoking hot next-gen Ford Ranger. Dig in, y’all.
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Ranger’s new look closer to Maverick, F-150
The 2023 Ranger looks to be a substantial upgrade from the current truck all around. For starters, it’s got a brassy new face that takes cues from the all-new Maverick and F-150, aligning Ford’s truck range more closely. That includes C-clamp headlights with first-for-Ranger matrix LED options, all of which make the Ranger feel a bit less like an outlier in the brood.
Your new-look Ranger is also wider and longer thanks to an updated version of the T6 chassis. And it’s just generally more aggressive all-around — a fact Ford says is owed to more than 5,000 interviews with past and current Ranger owners.
“Customers told us the Ranger needs to look tough and needs to inspire confidence,” said Ford Ranger Chief Engineer Max Tran. “They were very clear in what Ranger should be, both in the way it looks, and the way it makes them feel.”
Tran and his team spend thousands of hours interviewing customers everywhere from Australia to China to North America. The resulting 1,800 pages of notes helped inform the bold new look of the next-gen Ranger as well as features like a wider cargo area, a box step integrated into the rear bumper, and 20-inch wheel options.
New tech-focused cabin design leans luxury
For as different as the 2023 Ranger looks on the outside, Ford might have stepped it up even more on the inside. The cabin of the Ranger is completely overhauled, and the new design looks especially sharp with the soft-touch materials that come standard on the base XLT trim.
The truck’s dashboard is a “coast-to-coast” design that uses horizontal lines to pull in the doors and create a nice sense of synthesis. The large center console adds a modern, clean look that elevates the Ranger well past spartan and should help it appeal to premium-minded drivers.
Oh, and of course it’s tech-laden. Your focal point is a standard 10.2-inch or available 12-inch high-resolution touch screen, both of which are portrait-oriented. Ford says it’s opting for portrait style because of customer feedback that shows it to be more functional. The updated Ranger also sports a digital instrument panel. The next-gen Ranger gets SYNC 4 infotainment, which includes Ford Power-Up over-the-air updates, enhanced voice control, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Ford also used feedback in opting for a short-throw e-shifter over the rotary dial style that has become more of the norm. This and an e-parking brake add to the high-tech sensibilities of the new Ranger. And it’s plenty functional for families with features like additional storage space in the door pockets, second-row under-seat storage, and, yes, more storage space behind the second row.
Ford future-proofs the new Ranger for hybrid, EV options
When the next-gen Ford Ranger launches in global markets like the United Kingdom and Australia around early 2023, it’ll hit with a trio of turbodiesels. The newest to join the Ranger lineup is the 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbo V6, which program manager Pritika Maharaj says makes the Ranger feel “like a much bigger truck.”
Ford will also offer the new Ranger with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder in single-turbo and bi-turbo configurations.
The rumor making the rounds has been that the 2023 Ford Ranger will be available with a plug-in hybrid somewhere down the line. Ford didn’t come right out and say as much, but it did note that the reworked engine bay “helps future-proof the Ranger for other propulsion technologies.” An all-electric Ranger eventually? Well, hey, why the hell not?
Also notably absent is any mention of the Ranger Raptor, but you can bet that bird’s still gonna fly sometime. The question is whether it’ll flap its wings across the Atlantic when the next-gen Raptor flies stateside. Caw caw.
But the next-gen Ranger will be pretty game for off-roading as it is with a new full-time four-wheel-drive system with a set-and-forget mode. Because Ford moved the front wheels up and outward, the Ranger will also have an improved approach angle and off-road articulation. This should also give the Ranger a generally smoother ride on roads.
Ford will serve up more details on the next-gen Ranger as it closes in on the kickoff of production next year. Expect assembly of the U.S.-spec Ranger to begin at Michigan Assembly Plant sometime around spring or summer 2023.