A new exterior design, big screen and a slew of new features making their way down from the F-150 highlight the big changes for the global 2022 Ford Ranger. While this model isn’t meant for the U.S. market, the next-gen U.S. Ranger will likely incorporate many of these same features.
When Ford Motor Co. killed the Ranger in 2012 for the U.S. market, it kept the global versions alive in large midsize truck markets such as Thailand and Australia as well as more than 180 other markets. This model was eventually brought into the U.S. as a 2019 model with some safety and powertrain changes.
Now with a new global Ford Ranger officially revealed, we expect a U.S. version to come soon. So, what will be carried over to the U.S. version? Let’s take a closer look.
One of the biggest changes for the Ranger has to be the new exterior design. It is boxier and projects a stronger image for the midsize pickup. However, it also shows us one more thing: the headlights.
The C-channel headlight design is becoming a staple among the Ford lineup, and you see this look in both the F-150 and Maverick. Ford is now putting its signature look on this global truck to tie it into the Ford family of vehicles.
This stronger exterior look, headlights and even the chrome bash plate should all make their way into the U.S. Ford Ranger.
Everywhere you look it seems a big screen is occupying the center stack, and the global Ford Ranger is no different.
Integrated into the center stack is a 12.1-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen with Ford’s Sync 4 system. This screen is offset by two air vents, and the HVAC controls sit just below the display. It looks like it’s actually meant to be there rather than some of the pasted iPad designs we have seen on some other vehicles — including the Ford Explorer.
This screen, without a doubt, will make its way into the U.S. and will likely be an option for XLT buyers while standard on Lariat trim levels.
Off the side of the bumper, there is a curious new slot below the bedside sheet metal. Yep, this new slot is actually an integrated bed step. A brilliant idea.
When GM finally put its bumper step onto its trucks, it was a no-brainer solution to accessing the now much taller bed height of current trucks. While, we have wondered why more manufacturers didn’t just copy this idea, Ford has gone a step further.
They have left the bumper alone and instead added a step to the side of the bed. This means you get the easier access into the bed without having to fuss with the bumper. Plus, if you damage your bumper, you don’t have to worry about losing access to the bed, and a bumper replacement should be a little cheaper.
Finally, if you decide to go with an aftermarket bumper, you don’t lose the functionality of the bed step.
One of the more easily overlooked features of the 2021 Ford F-150 is Zone Lightning. Sure, the onboard generator gets attention it deserves, but Zone Lightning is a solid second best.
As we raved about a few times with our long-term review of the F-150, and this feature is really just software. It works by selectively turning on and off all the exterior lighting found on the truck through the center infotainment screen or the MyFordPass app for your cell phone.
You can turn on one of four different zones — front, each side or rear — or you can turn them all on to really light up the night.
Another handy thing about this feature is when you approach the truck at night in say a shopping center. It will sense the remote key fob approaching and selectively turn on lights along the rear and sides. This is really handy for both making sure nobody is waiting to surprise you as well as helpful to see what you are doing while loading up your purchases.
One source of frustration for U.S. fans is limited access to diesel powertrains. Not only do newer diesels have fewer emissions, they are more fuel efficient and the torque curve is much better for off-road and towing situations. The new global Ford Ranger gets a diesel, the U.S. likely will not.
Also, you can get the global Ranger with a manual. Sigh, again. Not for the U.S.
Instead, we will keep using the 10-speed automatic as well as the current 2.3-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine. We could see a hybrid version like the powertrain used in the Maverick, and we could see a 2.7-liter V-6 in a Ranger Raptor at some point.
We expect to see the U.S. version of the Ford Ranger sometime in 2022, making it a 2023 model. While fans will fuss about not having a-built-for-the-U.S. Ranger, it is really a better business decision for Ford simply to incorporate many of the same features, parts and styling from global products for our market. Why recreate the wheel when you don’t have to?