Ford has announced that the 2024 models of its top selling Ford Ranger ute and Everest SUV will both be equipped with new tech, which it claims will make towing easier for Australian drivers.
Ford says that the inclusion of its Pro Trailer Backup Assist on Ranger and Everest will end the stress and frustration of reversing a trailer.
First seen locally on Ford’s recently launched F150 full size pickups, the Pro Trailer Back up Assist will be standard on selected Ranger models and optional on Everest in 2024.
The Ranger and Everest Pro Trailer Backup Assist will operate in a similar way to the system locally on F-150, allowing the driver to ‘steer the trailer’, making reversing more intuitive than traditional methods.
“Because reversing a trailer requires you to turn the steering wheel left to make the trailer go to the right, it can be difficult to get your head around, even if you’ve done it loads of times,” said Ford. advanced driver assist systems engineer, Zack McIntyre.
“With Pro-Trailer Back Up Assist, you can ‘steer’ your trailer down a boat ramp quickly and easily or position your camper perfectly every time,” McIntyre claims.
Ford says Pro-Trailer Backup Assist will be standard on Ranger Wildtrak, Platinum and Raptor models, and as part of the optional Touring Pack on 4X4 XLT and Sport pick-up variants.
For Everest, Ford says it will be available as a part of the Touring Pack on 4WD Trend and 4WD Sport vehicles, replacing the Zone Lighting and black Stand-Off Roof Rails features, which are standard from MY24.5.
Ford says that on Platinum series, an optional Pro Towing Pack, including both Pro Trailer Backup Assist and the contents of the Towing Pack, will be available replacing the standard Towing Pack option.
Ford adds that Ranger and Everest are already well setup for towing, with an array of tow-friendly features, and says that while features like the reversing camera with hitch view, trailer light check help owners connect and check their trailers, and systems like blind-spot monitoring with trailer coverage and an integrated brake controller help improve safety on the road. It says that Pro Trailer Backup Assist helps owners easily and intuitively reverse their trailer once they reach their destination.
“The driver ‘steers’ the trailer via the outer ring of the drive mode controller on the centre console,” said McIntyre.
“As the driver turns the dial, the steering wheel, which the driver doesn’t need to touch during the manouevre, turns to direct the trailer where it needs to go.”
To activate the system, the driver presses the trailer icon on the drive mode selector dial and then uses the outer ring to steer the trailer. A special sticker placed on the draw bar helps the system keep track of the trailer angle when it’s being reversed.
In addition to the inclusion of Pro Trailer Backup Assist, Ford Australia is announcing enhancements to key Ranger variants.
From 2024, Ranger XL will now come standard with heavy-duty suspension, which consists of thicker rear springs and new front and rear dampers with a revised tune for those who regularly carry a significant load in the rear tray.
“We know many of our customers choose to option the heavy-duty suspension on XL variants, so we made the decision to make it a standard feature for those who use their Ranger for hard work,” said Andrew Birkic, president and CEO, Ford Australia and New Zealand.
Upgrades to the Ranger XLS make it perfect for customers looking for a workhorse with plenty of creature comforts. Both the Tech and Towing Packs which had been cost options on the XLS will now be standard features on MY24.5 models. This adds a tow bar and tongue, trailer light check5, integrated trailer brake controller and extended blind-spot monitoring6 with trailer coverage, body colour door handles, keyless entry with push-button start, dual-zone climate control, rear seat air vents and upgraded SYNC® 4A7 with Voice-Activated Controls, Built-In Satellite Navigation with one year of Connected Navigation Services, and Digital Audio (DAB+).
“We’re pleased to be able to make these important features standard on Ranger XLS,” said Birkic.
“It now makes XLS a stand-out variant for those who want to get the most out of their vehicle for work, family and play,” the Ford Australia boss said.
Debuting as a standard feature on the Ford Ranger Platinum, and Wildtrak X special edition, an innovative Flexible Rack System will be available on more models for MY24.5.
Ford says that the Ford Ranger Sport and Wildtrak can now both be optioned with the Flexible Rack system, bringing new levels of versatility, it claims.
Ford says that when selected, this will replace the Sports Bar and Load Box Access Points, or Sailplane and Box Rails that are standard on the Sport and Wildtrak series respectively.
Ford Australia has also made a number of changes to both the Everest and Ranger line-ups to better reflect Australian buying habits.
A number of features that were previously optional extras will now be included from the factory, with the Everest Trend and Sport gaining Zone Lighting as standard, along with Black Stand-Off Roof Rails – previously included in the Touring Pack for 4WD and unavailable on RWD Trend and Sport vehicles.
Ford says that responding to customer preferences, a selection of Ranger and Everest variants will no longer be available as part of MY24.5. For Ranger, the XL Bi-Turbo dual-cab cab-chassis 4X2, XLS Bi-Turbo dual-cab pick-up 4X2, and XL Bi-Turbo super-cab pick-up 4X2 will no longer be available to order, while the Wildtrak X special edition will end its production run with MY24. The Everest Trend RWD will also no longer be available.
The company says that production of the updated MY24.5 Ford Ranger and Everest range will commence in March 2024.
Ford has announced manufacturers list pricing for the new range starts at $36,880 for the 4×2 XL single cab chassis 2.0L SiT ranging up to the flagship Raptor Double PU 3.0L V6 EcoBoost at $89,190, while the Everest range starts at $53,990 for the Ambiente RWD 2.0L Bi-Turbo Diesel up to the Platinum 3.0L V6 Turbo Diesel at $79,490.