Ford makes tough work trucks, but tradies deserve creature comforts, too. And if you're towing a boat, you want to know that your load is secure, right? Ford's new Ranger is a big, powerful truck, but it's also doing good in keeping its occupants — and everyone else on the road — safe at the same time.
The new Ranger scores a 5-star ANCAP safety rating — it's the safest Ford truck ever, too, and actually one of the safer cars on Aussie roads. I can attest only to its intelligence, not having crashed one; I've actually been in a 2015 Ranger XLT double-cab for the last week, and although it's a big brute of a truck — Giz editor Luke Hopewell put it best when he called it "a bull in a china shop" — it's actually really nice to be in the driver's seat of.
Here's what you see from the captain's chair — including that awesome heads-up LED bar, which will light up with a couple of bright red LEDs (reflecting on the windscreen) when you're travelling a little too close to the car in front, and which will then light up with a bunch of red LEDs and a very loud audible chiming alarm when that car brakes or you otherwise get even closer to it.
You can adjust the intensity and distance of that warning, as well as trailer assist and lane departure warnings — which buzz a powerful vibration motor on the steering wheel. But by far the coolest feature is the dual-screen digital dashboard, each display of which can be customised. The left is for phone/navigation/entertainment, but the right functions as a digital speedometer or tachometer, as well as being a fuel gauge and a menu system.
As a work truck goes, the 2015 Ranger is pretty damn plush. We're huge fans of Ford's SYNC2 touchscreen system, since it's one of the few cars to get voice commands right. Even the stereo is great, with solid bass and ear-splittingly loud maximum volume. Put it all together, and Ford calls it "trucktelligence":