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Exclusive: New-look Ford Ranger spied testing

Test time: Ford engineers put a facelifted Ranger test vehicle through its paces in Victoria.

Aussie-crafted Ford Ranger gets some Everest treatment in a new look for 2015

Ford logo10 Jun 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

FORD’S Australian-developed Ranger ute is set to get an entirely new front fascia along with an interior makeover when the mid-life facelift arrives in Australian showrooms about the same time as the related Everest SUV next year.

However, the sheetmetal from the front doors to the tailgate appears to be unchanged, as do the tail-lights of Ford’s Thai-built one-tonne workhorse which is now the brand’s biggest-selling model in Australia and has muscled its way into second place in its segment this year behind the all-conquering Toyota HiLux.

GoAuto has had a glimpse of what appears to be the upmarket Wildtrak Ranger’s new grille, which contains some design elements of the Everest’s new hexagonal chrome grille look, in which the pointed ends of the grille frame extend into the new-look headlight clusters.

Those headlights are set to be shared with the Everest, which is likely to go into production at the Thai factory about the same time as the facelifted Ranger in 2015.

As seen on the near-production Everest concept revealed at a Ford media event in Sydney last year, the headlights are more horizontal and not as deep, giving both vehicles a sleeker look. A bulge at the sides of the lights seems to indicate a small aerodynamic treatment to smooth air flow down the sides of the vehicle.

But while the Everest’s large front Ford blue oval badge straddles two bars across the middle of the grille, the Ranger’s badge sits on a single bar, reminiscent of the new Ford F-150 large pick-up in the United States.

Ranger Wildtrak’s grille extends down over the bumper, looking somewhat like a flap of metal folded over the bumper, presumably providing a mounting for the front registration plate.

27 center imageFrom top: Ford Everest concept and prototype undergoing Australian testing.

And while the Everest concept’s metallic-look undertray – a faux bash plate that possibly will not make it into production – extends sideways to surround the squared-off driving lights in the bumper, the Ranger’s round foglights are recessed in black plastic.

Utilitarian Ranger models are unlikely to get those foglights and will probably retain a more workmanlike – and cheaper – black plastic grille treatment, although in the new fascia shape.

Inside, the Ranger appears set to get a new array of more upmarket instruments and switchgear, largely out of the international parts bin. These include items such as the indicator and wiper stalks, and the central screen on Wildtrak.

Matching the metallic look of the new grille, the interior of upmarket models get satin metallic-look fixtures, even including items such as the door grabhandles. On the dash, a new insert is evident, giving the Ranger a lift.

Much of the dash and instrument layout can be expected to be shared with Everest, to save costs.

It is yet to be seen if the Ranger will get any powertrain changes along with the new look, although the amount of engineering test activity on Ranger at the company’s You Yangs proving ground could indicate changes under the skin.

GoAuto has spotted Ford engineers doing what appears to be towing calibration testing at the company’s You Yangs proving ground, which could mean power and torque improvements.

Ranger currently offers three engines – a petrol 2.5-litre four-cylinder and two diesels – 2.2-litre four-cylinder and 3.2-litre five-cylinder.

Ford has yet to say exactly when the facelifted Ranger will go into production or land in Australian showrooms in 2015, but it is likely to be fairly close to the Everest launch.

This is because both models will share a range of common parts, meaning it would be simpler to start new Ranger at the same time as its SUV brethren.

However, you can expect Ford Australia to split the launches here in the interests of marketing sensibilities.

This year, sales of Ranger in Australia are up almost 15 per cent, with Ford selling 10,229 of the one-tonners to the end of May.

This puts Ranger in second place behind Toyota’s HiLux (14,884 sales), and make it Ford’s clear sales leader, ahead of Focus (7218) and Territory (3944).

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GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

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All future models

Ranger pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.