Ford Australia uses 2012 Ranger to pull steam locomotive to prove towing power

Article by Christian A., on January 16, 2011

To draw attention to the new Ford Ranger, Ford’s Australia arm used the vehicle to tow a 160-tonne steam locomotive. A factory stock Ranger was used. It was powered by a five-cylinder diesel engine that delivers 147kW (200hp) of power and a maximum torque of 470Nm, and it had a six-speed automatic transmission.

The vehicle was engaged in low-range four-wheel drive and with a simple tug, the train just followed it.

The new Ranger has a first-rate towing capacity that exceeds 3,000 kg and it features smart technologies such as Trailer Sway Mitigation and Adaptive Load Control to make sure that it remains upright.

If a trailer starts to sway, brakes are selectively applied to slow down the truck-and-trailer combination.

Ford’s press release states that the Ranger is able to maintain a stable ride when carrying full loads of cargo because of the Adaptive Load Control that determines the payload and makes the adjustments to maintain a straight and level ride.

The locomotive used to test the Ranger was a R711, one of the 70 express passenger steam locomotives that the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow brought back. The machine was first used in 1951, and it retired 14 years later when mainline diesel-electric and electric locomotives took over.

The all-new Ford Ranger sports the so-called '21st Century Tough' look, as made possible by its fresh, modern exterior design that conveys the famous Built Ford Tough personality.

Its toned muscularity and bold stance are clear indications of its capabilities as an ultra-modern pickup truck. Nonetheless, the new Ranger conveys a more refined and more sophisticated styling that appeals to a new generation of truck owners.

Craig Metros, chief designer, remarked that the role of the Ranger has changed in several areas in the world. He noted that the Ranger remains as a work vehicle boasting of a durable interior and the ability to carry a heavy payload, while offering new levels of comfort, refinement, and user-friendly features. According to Metros, extensive research conducted among global truck customers showed similarities in taste and design expectations. He noted that while customer needs and expectations could be different in the 180 markets where the Ranger will be sold, its new Ranger Tough Truck design echoes around the world.

Metros commented that good design is long lasting and transcends all markets, adding that the new Ranger is a robust truck that gets the job done. He noted that that the new Ranger sports a very tough appearance, but not as chiseled a style as Ford's North American F-Series trucks. He added that its contemporary design will allow the Ranger to be at home wherever it may go.

Since the all-new Ford Ranger range reflects the various uses of compact pickups around the world, it will be offered in different versions like basic work trucks with hose-out interiors as well as high-series models (like the Ford Ranger Limited and Ranger Wildtrak).

Inside, the all-new Ranger also reflects Ford's design language while borrowing some styling cues from power tools like Dewalt. Likewise, the instruments were encased in a protective shell like a G-Shock watch. With these details, designers were able to marry form with function while making sure that the drivers could clearly see these instruments.

In addition, Ford designed the trim panels to be interchangeable, thanks to the fact that they are assembled off-line and simply installed in the vehicle. Metros explained that regardless of the model, Ford didn't wander off from the basic layout and design. He added that all exterior and interior shapes and panels in the Ranger are identical.

To ensure high levels of quality and craftsmanship in every Ranger model, Ford paid attention even to the smallest details like the graining on interior panels as well as the tonal color options.

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