All-New Ford Ranger Raises The Bar On Safety

27th October 2011
ES Admin
The all-new global Ford Ranger is setting new standards in safety with a comprehensive suite of class-leading features, such as the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and side curtain airbags.
Ranger’s advanced safety protection begins with a reinforced passenger compartment that utilises high-strength steel throughout. Using multiple load paths in the front, side, and rear of the vehicle, crash forces are directed away from occupants, providing high levels of protection in the event of a collision. This structure, along with Ranger's all-new ladder frame, was optimised to manage the crash energy in a variety of impacts and provide protection for all passengers.

Using sophisticated computer modelling, engineers assessed more than 9,000 virtual crash tests before any physical prototype vehicle was built. These virtual simulations allowed the engineers to optimise the vehicle structure and safety systems to provide the maximum levels of protection possible in a wide-range of real-world collisions. This technique enabled significantly more crash scenarios to be designed than could ever be tested physically.

“Safety has become increasingly important in the commercial vehicle segment as more people use their vehicle to carry not just goods but also people,”said Dr Mark Fountain, manager of Digital Innovation Attributes, Product Development, Ford Australia. “The all-new Ford Ranger is packed with the latest safety features and technologies aimed at giving customers peace of mind as they drive.”

Active driver control

New to Ranger is the ESP active safety system, that improves driver control under all conditions and maximises vehicle traction and stability both on- and off-road. It uses advanced sensors to continuously monitor the path the vehicle is travelling on and compares it to the path the driver want to follow, as indicated by the steering wheel.

Ranger’s ESP system has been calibrated for both on- and off-road driving. When the driver selects 4WD high-range, the ESP control of the engine and brakes is adjusted to provide improved stability without any unnecessary interventions triggered by rough or bumpy road surfaces. The ESP system is disabled when 4WD low-range is engaged to provide the driver with full command of the engine torque.

While the ESP system is by default fully active when the vehicle is started, the driver can choose to leave it on, partially on, or off depending on the road conditions.

In 4WD high-range mode, the Stability Control can be deactivated while maintaining the brake intervention traction control. This setting is most suitable when driving in deep sand or on muddy surfaces where engine torque reductions from the ESP can limit mobility. In 4x2 vehicles, the driver can select the all-off mode when wheel spin in needed to power through deep snow, sand or mud.

Integrated safety technologies

Ranger comes with a complete suite of control features that are integrated in the ESP system to further improve vehicle stability and control.

Available on 4x4 models and activated via a switch on the instrument panel, the Hill Descent Control feature regulates the speed of the pickup when descending steep gradients. It automatically applies the brakes to slow the vehicle down to a set speed without the driver applying the brakes and without locking the brakes. Unlike some competitors where the set speed cannot be adjusted, the Ranger driver can increase or decrease the speed using the accelerator, brake, or cruise control buttons on the steering wheel.

When moving off up a slope either in forward or reverse gear, the Hill Launch Assist feature holds the brake pressure temporarily for two seconds, ensuring the pickup does not roll downhill. As the driver accelerates, the feature gradually reduces the brake pressure. It releases the brakes once the driving torque is enough to overcome the gradient, enabling the pickup to move up the slope smoothly. With this feature, a fully-loaded Ranger, which weighs about 3,200kg, is able to stop and then pull away on a 60% gradient – not a feat easily achieved by all trucks.

For those who need to tow a trailer, Ranger offers a Trailer Sway Control feature that mitigates the problem of snaking, which can be caused by side winds, track ruts, sudden steering movements, or incorrectly laden trailer. When trailer sway occurs, the system detects the effect on the towing vehicle and operates to reduce the train speed by reducing engine torque and gradually increasing brake pressure on all wheels until the trailer sway stops.

Ranger also comes equipped with an Adaptive Load Control feature that adjusts the stability control depending on the load. It can tell whether the pickup is laden or not based on the speed of acceleration and will adjust the ESP control settings accordingly. This will prevent interventions from happening too early where they are unwanted or too late where there would be too much oversteer or understeer.

Ranger also offers a Roll-Over Mitigation safety feature that closely monitors the pickup’s speed, lateral acceleration, yaw motion and steering angle, and will identify potentially dangerous driving conditions that would lead to an untripped roll-over situation. Well before the situation becomes critical, the feature will cause the ESP system to intervene and control the vehicle speed to restore stability.

To further maximise traction at each driven wheel, Ranger comes with the Traction Control System which can prevent wheel spin proactively by precisely controlling engine torque to each wheel and by braking a spinning wheel completely.

Stopping quickly and effectively

Ranger’s ESP system also includes various braking technologies to ensure the shortest possible stopping distance under all circumstances. When the driver applies the brakes quickly in an emergency situation, the Emergency Brake Assist will provide additional pressure to the brake system to increase the braking force and reduce the distance required for the vehicle to stop. At the same time, the Emergency Brake Light feature will flash the indicator lights to warn other drivers during emergency braking.

Ranger’s Anti-Lock Brake System provides additional safety, especially with a Gravel Road Logic that further improves stopping distances on loose surfaces. The electronic brakeforce distribution maximises brake force used on the rear wheels as payload changes while maintaining optimal stability.

Ranger’s brakes – vented discs up front and drums at the rear – are among the largest in its class and are designed to provide maximum braking performance regardless of load conditions.To help reduce the possibility of pad contamination and rotor wear from pebbles that may become embedded between the rotor and pad, front brakes include a brake dust shield as standard equipment.

Keeping passengers and pedestrians safe

Ranger offers new passive safety technologies, with the availability and array of airbags dependent on the model and the market. Side curtain airbags are available on all cab styles for the first time. These airbags deploy from the headliner to provide a protective cushion for the head of outboard occupants in the event of a side impact and the curtain is designed to protect both rows of occupants by covering the upper side structure and glass from the A-pillar to the C-pillar.

Also standard are newly designed side thorax airbags, building on the protection offered by the high-strength passenger cell in side impacts. Thorax airbags deploy from the driver and front passenger seat, further cushioning the impact and reducing the crash forces experienced by occupants in the front seats.

All new frontal impact airbags are standard for the driver and passenger, along with seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters. Together these form the key parts of a frontal impact restraint system that has been designed to minimise the force applied to the wearer in a crash. The pretensioner ensures the restraint system starts absorbing energy as early as possible in a crash, while the load limiters and airbags reduce loads on the occupant as the vehicle rapidly comes to a stop.

There are three-point safety belts for all seating positions, while the Ford BeltMinder technology helps remind front-seat occupants to wear their belts. The seat belt reminder warning lamp illuminates and an audible warning will sound if the driver’s seat belt has not been fastened after the vehicle has moved off.

For the first time, a Thatcham Category 1 alarm system is standard on Ranger, depending on the market. The high-level system provides additional security with an audible alarm triggered by forced entry or a change in cabin pressure. The sensors act as a deterrent against unauthorised intrusion by picking up any movement within the vehicle.

On top of safety technologies, Ranger has been engineered to include Ford proprietary pedestrian protection features. This includes a “hexageneous” under-bonnet structure to reduce the potential for pedestrian head injuries and a front bumper design that incorporates energy-absorbing materials.

The all-new Ranger combines the safety and security systems of passenger cars with the ruggedness and dependability of a pickup,” said Fountain. “It creates a combination of features and performance that is unmatched in the market today.

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