Published on November 29th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair0
New Ford Ranger Was Designed With Customer Feedback
The all-new Ford Ranger got its design inspiration from what Ranger owners had to say.
Without a doubt, the Ford Ranger is a pick-up truck built for enthusiasts. It sets industry trends years in advance and keeps the market segment exciting with its bold looks and high-tech. So, how is it that Ford gets ahead of the trends, and how has that worked on their first all-new Ranger in many, many years.
Well, according to Ford themselves, it’s Ford Ranger customer feedback that guides their engineers and designers. In developing the all-new Ranger, the company conducted over 5,000 interviews and made more than 1,800 pages worth of field notes for reference.
Beside querying customers, Ford engineers also observed how customers interacted with their pick-up trucks to come up with new ideas. This includes customers in Thailand, Australia, South America, Europe, China, Saudi Arabia and North America.
“Seeing owners use their trucks, whether for work, family or play, inspired some fantastic ideas that drove our design and development decisions,” said Max Tran, chief designer for the new Ford Ranger. “One great example of that is the integrated box side-step. During our clinic sessions, we noticed that many customers had trouble reaching over the side of the truck into the bed; others were standing on the rear tire or the bumper to gain access.
“So, we came up with the idea of a box step, behind the rear wheel,” he said. “We mocked one up, tested it with owners and the response was overwhelming. People told us that step would be reason enough to buy the Ford Ranger.”
Customers also wanted a wider cargo area that could accommodate a full-width pallet in the tray, which is what inspired the designers to make the necessary changes for that.
In terms of exterior design, the idea was to look at the new Ranger as the F-150‘s younger brother but to honour the Ranger’s iconic design features.
“Some of us looked to nature, some to architecture and some others to art for inspiration. We didn’t hold back. We let our designers loose to really go for it,” Tran said. “We really looked at Ranger as the F-150’s brother. Ranger has developed a strong following over the past 10 years, and we really leaned into the iconic design features that have made it such a beloved truck across the world but also push the design envelope.”
As before, the surfaces have been treated to create the impression of a strong and muscular vehicle. The C-clamp headlights and taillights are new to the Ranger and take some inspiration from the F-150, but the large, sculpted “RANGER” logo on the tailgate is a nod to its heritage. By increasing both the track and wheelbase by 50mm, the new Ranger has its wheels set wider in the vehicle for a more aggressive stance.
Inside, the designers focused on establishing a strong visual harmony with the durable exterior and made room to accommodate user-friendly technology and a premium cabin. Soft-touch materials elevate the interior ambience while some exterior design motifs, like the air vent vanes (which mirror the vents on the front grille) are reflected on the inside of the car.
Ford took customer feedback regarding the portrait orientation of the infotainment display in their design. The infotainment unit is available in 10.1″ or 12″ and makes room for climate and entertainment controls while full screen navigation is on display.
Customer input also guided Ford to use a drive-by-wire e-shifter with a short throw instead of a rotary dial gear selector. Another area where customer feedback was useful was in the placement of the door handles. They were moved lower to provide easier reach to window switches and armrests.
On the new Ford Ranger, the front seats feature new bolsters and foam inserts for better comfort and looks. The second row of seats now folds flat and has secure, under-seat storage. There are also rear air-cond vents now and added storage areas in all 4 door cards.
“The next-gen Ranger really redefines the role of the pickup as a trusted partner for work, family and play,” said Gary Boes, Enterprise Product Line Management director, Global Trucks. “With the help of all the rich insights from customers, we’ve created a Ranger we believe will inspire owners to do more of what they love to do, with features that encourage them to explore new horizons.”