Launched in Malaysia last month, the 2022 Ford Ranger is one of the better-looking trucks on offer right now. However, Ford’s proudest feature is neither the distinctive face with the “C-clamp” headlights, nor is it the massive 12-inch infotainment screen. Instead, it is the simple box step that sits right behind the rear wheels.
In fact, Ford even believes that the addition of the box step feature will soon be followed by rival trucks since it is so practical. And Ford has good reason to believe so, since the decision to add the box step was not just an afterthought. It was the result of hundreds of hours of work, engaging with customers to get their feedback on the Ranger, led by the chief designer of the Ford Ranger, Max Tran.
He said, “Seeing owners use their trucks, whether for work, family, or play, inspired some fantastic ideas that drove our design and development decisions. 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 added. “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.”
Who would have thought that such a simple thing could be a segment-first feature? Unfortunately, though, the box step feature is only available on the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
Led by Max Tran, the Ranger team spent hundreds of hours with customers around the world to see how they use their pickups daily. Ford conducted over 5,000 interviews and made over 1,800 pages of field notes for reference, which helped develop and guide both engineers and designers to build a pickup with the features and capabilities customers wanted.
The result is the new Ford Ranger which is built on the third-generation T6 platform. Powering the Ranger is either a 2.0-litre single turbo diesel engine (170 hp/405 Nm) or a 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine (210 hp/500 Nm). The single turbo engine is paired to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto while the bi-turbo engine is paired to a 10-speed auto gearbox.
Sime Darby Auto ConneXion (SDAC), the sole distributor for Ford in Malaysia, will be previewing the next-generation Ranger in Kuching on 7-11 September at Vivacity Megamall, and at Suria Sabah Shopping Centre, Kota Kinabalu on 5-9 October.