Ford's reincarnated Ranger midsize pickup, which returns to the market early next year after an eight-year hiatus, isn't getting any free passes. The OEM says it's testing the new pickup to "the same proven standards" of its big brother, the F-150.
That's good news for fleets that utilize pickup trucks — particularly those that can benefit from a smaller, more economical vehicle, perhaps in urban and tighter environments, but still require commercial-grade capabilities. And what fleet doesn't?
"We torture every component — from its high-strength steel frame to its EcoBoost engine to its cloth and leather-trimmed seats — to ensure Ranger is ready for any season and nearly any terrain," stated Rick Bolt, chief engineer for the Ranger.
On that note, the Ranger will have as its powerplant a 4-cyl. 2.3L EcoBoost gasoline engine featuring a twin-scroll turbocharger, four valves per cylinder and chain-driven dual overhead camshafts. Power will be transmitted to the ground via a 10-speed automatic.
Ford said its vehicle testing for the truck has included in-lab, proving ground and on-location challenges such as the "brutal" Silver Creek track at the OEM's Michigan Proving Grounds. There, a loaded Ranger is taken through the course by robot drivers so humans don't get hurt.
The company showed footage of that in the video below:
In the lab, the pickup is being tested with four-post "shakers" for days at a time to test for squeaks and anything rattling loose, according to Ford. It's also towing loads up Arizona's Davis Dam in high heat and kicking up dust in the Australian Outback.
The new Ranger was unveiled early this year in Detroit, with Ford noting midsize pickup sales have climbed more than 80% over the last four years.
It will offer seating for up to five in entry-level XL, mid-level XLT and top-shelf Lariat trims in SuperCab or SuperCrew configurations.