All-New Ford Ranger Raises the Bar on Safety
- Ranger utilizes Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), along with a suite of safety technologies such as Trailer Sway Control and Hill Descent Control, to further enhance driver control
- New side curtain, thorax, and frontal impact airbags available on Ranger for even greater protection to both the driver and the passengers
MELBOURNE, Australia, 26 September, 2011– The all-new Ford Ranger is setting new standards in safety with a comprehensive suite of safety features – such as the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and side curtain airbags – to address the growing need for occupant safety in Australia’s light commercial vehicle segment.
Ranger’s advanced safety protection begins with a reinforced passenger cell that utilizes high-strength steel throughout. Utilizing 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 the all-new ladder frame, was optimized to manage the crash energy in a variety of impacts and provide protection for all passengers.
Using sophisticated computer modeling, engineers assessed more than 9,000 virtual crash tests before any of the 110 actual vehicle crash tests or 410 system sled tests were undertaken. These virtual simulations allowed the engineers to optimize the vehicle structure and safety systems to provide the maximum levels of protection possible in a wide-range of real-world collisions. All this was achieved before any real prototype vehicle was built and subjected to crash testing.
“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 Asia Pacific and Africa (APA). “The all-new Ford Ranger is packed with the latest safety features and technologies aimed at giving customers peace of mind as they drive.”
Actively improves driver control
New to Ranger, DSC is an 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 wants to follow, as indicated by the steering wheel.
When DSC senses that the vehicle is turning more (oversteer) or less (understeer) than the driver intends, the system automatically reduces engine torque and/or applies a braking force to individual wheels to stabilize the vehicle and help it maintain the correct path. This is particularly useful in situations where the roads are slippery, when the driver has to make a sudden lane change to avoid an accident or where there is inadequate grip or vehicle speed when cornering.
According to Stephan Presser, manager of Vehicle Engineering, Product Development, Ford APA, independent studies have confirmed that a large number of single-vehicle accidents can be avoided on vehicles equipped with DSC. “It’s a great system that delivers active safety for customers regardless of their driving experience,” he said.
“The DSC monitors the vehicle’s direction against the driver’s intentions 25 times per second and can react like greased lightning when needed. Within physical limits, the car remains safely on track.”
Ranger’s DSC system has been calibrated for both on- and off-road driving. In a 4×4 model, when the driver selects 4WD high-range (4H), the DSC control of the engine and brakes is adjusted to provide improved stability without any unnecessary interventions triggered by rough or bumpy road surfaces. The DSC system is disabled when 4WD low-range (4L) is engaged to provide the driver with full command of the engine torque.
While the DSC 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 4H 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 DSC can limit mobility. In 4×2 vehicles, the driver can select the all-off mode when wheel spin is needed to power through deep snow, sand or mud.
Integrated safety technologies
Ranger comes with a comprehensive suite of control features that are integrated in the DSC system to further improve vehicle stability and control.
Available on 4×4 models and activated via a switch on the instrument panel, the Hill Descent Control feature regulates the speed of the vehicle 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 in 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-laden Ranger, which weighs about 3200 kilograms, is able to stop and then pull away on a 60 percent grade – not a feat easily achieved by all trucks.
For those who need to tow a trailer, Ranger has a Trailer Sway Control feature that mitigates the problem of ‘snaking’, which can be caused by side winds, track ruts, sudden steering movements, or an 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.
When it comes to accompanying Ranger’s exceptional payload capacity, the pickup has 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 DSC’s 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 has 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 DSC system to intervene and control the vehicle speed to restore stability.
To further maximize 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 DSC system 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 (ABS) provides additional safety, especially with Gravel Road Logic that further improves stopping distances on loose surfaces, which are common in countries with a lot of unsealed roads. The electronic brakeforce distribution maximizes brake force used on the rear wheels as payload changes while maintaining optimal stability.
Ranger’s brakes – vented disc brakes up front and drum brakes in the rear – are among the largest in its class and are designed to provide maximum braking performance under loaded 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.
“In line with our move towards greater sustainability, the brake linings on Ranger are constructed from the latest non-asbestos organic materials which not only meet global comfort requirements for noise and pad life but also fulfill pickup truck thermal and fade requirements,” added Dr. Fountain.
Passenger and pedestrian safety
Ranger offers new passive safety technologies, with the availability and array of airbags dependent on the model. 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 available on select models 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 for the driver and front passenger are standard equipment on every model, along with seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters (outboard front seats only). Together these form the key parts of a frontal impact restraint system that has been designed to minimize 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 (standard on all models except XL Single Cab Chassis where it is optionally available) 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 volumetric alarm system is available on all turbo-diesel Ranger models. 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 unauthorized 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 truck,” said Dr. Fountain. “It creates a combination of features and performance that is unmatched in the market today.”
At a glance: All-New Ford Ranger’s safety features
- Reinforced passenger cell utilizing high-strength steel
- Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
- Traction Control System
- Hill Descent Control
- Hill Launch Assist
- Trailer Sway Control
- Adaptive Load Control
- Roll-over Mitigation
- Airbags: driver and front passenger (all models)
- Airbags: side curtain airbags (all models except XL Single Cab Chassis where these are optionally available)
- Airbags: side thorax airbags (all models except XL Single Cab Chassis where these are optionally available when fitted with bucket seats)
- Three-point seatbelts for all seats with Beltminder technology
- Seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters
- ABS anti-lock brakes with gravel logic control
- Emergency Brake Assist
- Emergency Brake Light
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products in Australia, please visit www.ford.com.au