Ford has revealed the second generation of the Australian-developed Ranger ute on the eve of the Bangkok Motor Show.
It will bring new technology to the workhorse ute market for the first time, including electric assisted steering, stop-start fuel saving, radar cruise control and a system that automatically calls 000 in the event of a major accident.
A range of fuel saving measures delivers savings of up to 22 per cent.
The Ranger will arrive in Australia this August, after the refreshed Mitsubishi Triton and new Nissan Navara but before the new Toyota HiLux, which remains the segment sales leader.
The Ranger update is significant, with an all-new interior that looks less masculine than the last generation. The Ranger shares its interior with the passenger carrying Everest wagon, which explains the change of direction.
It features clean lines and simple shapes, which emphasis the width of the vehicle.
New interior technology includes two high-resolution screens in the instrument cluster, while a large 8-inch touch screen is retained in the centre of the dashboard.
Ford has added some extra features including a convenient 240-volt plug on the dashboard, which can be used to charge a laptop.
Australian designers have overhauled the front of the Ranger, with a bold new design that makes it look tougher than before.
The design takes on the current Global Ford ute design themes with a chunky trapezoidal grille and narrow headlights.
Ford left alone the rear of the ute.
Ford is yet to release all of the technical details, but says stop-start technology will be added, although it is not specified whether all engines will use it.
Minor upgrades have been made to the engines, but they largely remain the same. Australia will continue to offer a 2.2-litre turbodiesel, a 3.2-litre turbodiesel and a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol.
The electric power steering saves fuel and reduces noise in the cabin and is a first for the class.
Ford has retained the leaf-spring rear suspension layout of the current Ranger, although small changes have been made.
The tow rating remains at 3500kg.
The Ranger will inherit a swag of technology including lane departure warning, adapting cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a rear view camera and automatic emergency braking.
It is not yet clear how much of this technology will be made available as standard.
Ford engineers also strived to reduce cabin noise, introducing new sound deadening material in key parts of the vehicle.
The Ranger is developed by Ford engineers in Australia, but is not made locally.
Australian Rangers are built in Thailand, while a plant in Argentina and South Africa also built the ute that is sold in 180 countries around the world.