Ford’s new Ranger bakkie was engineered to be the ultimate off-roader, as evidenced by the years of planning, designing, and testing that it underwent to finally become the car you can now see on the roads today.
There are now 24 entries to choose from, ranging from single and super cab workhorses to the flagship Raptor double cab with its rally-inspired modifications, and each body shape and drivetrain was subjected to thousands of hours of pain-staking research by the global Ford team.
The next-generation Ranger was put through rigorous testing to see how it would hold up in all manner of environments.
The first stage of trials involved running hundreds of computer simulations with a focus on the structure of the vehicle, its aerodynamics, crash survivability, and its noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) attributes to assess occupant comfort.
These simulations racked up the equivalent of 1.25 million km of driving – 625,000km of which was for “rugged off-road durability testing.”
The tests weren’t just limited to the computers, however, as the bakkie was put through physical trials in no less than 10 different countries where it endured over 10,000km of desert driving and water wading through maximum depths of up to 800mm.
It also involved assessment runs at high altitudes of more than 5,000 metres, and extreme temperature experiments ranging from -50 to 50 degrees Celsius.
Furthermore, the body was put through several wind tunnel tests in both Australia and North America, before being subjected to additional inspections for squeaks and rattles.
Crash testing of the car involved scenarios for full-frontal collisions, as well as frontal offsets, pole tests, rear offset crashes, pedestrian impacts, roof crush tests, and more, according to the automaker.
Beyond the various body tests, the powertrains were given trials of their own, with the 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel units undergoing a combined 5.5 million kilometres to assess their durability.
The new 10-speed automatic gearbox accumulated its own 6 million km in distance tests, too, and the six-speed manual has been in development for over four years spanning four different continents to ensure it can handle the demanding duties of regular use.
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