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Love or loathe? The 2023 Ford Ranger's little extras, hidden details and Easter eggs you either never knew you always wanted or never want to ever see again

Ford is proud of the level of detail it has designed and engineered into the T6.2 Ranger; some are frivolous, others are useful.

By now you probably think you're across everything you need to know about the new Ford Ranger.

Yet there is a list of items lurking behind the main headline features fitted to some of the latest versions that aim to improve your everyday interaction with the vehicle – be it functional, aesthetic or – in the case of one of the so-called Easter Eggs – intellectual.

So, whether you're a potential purchaser still on the fence as to whether to take the plunge, a school kid writing a project on the sales phenomenon that is the medium-sized pick-up market, or a future historian searching archives on what may be the last-ever Australian-designed and engineered mainstream vehicle... you're welcome.

60s muscle car door handles

These handles aren't just for aesthetics. (image: Byron Mathioudakis) These handles aren't just for aesthetics. (image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Owners of the XR-XY Falcon and ZA-ZD Fairlane might notice that the Ranger's interior door handles look and function exactly the same as their classic steeds. It's a nice retro touch, though in fact they're pinched from the current, North American F-Series truck.

They're not just for aesthetics, however. The design encourages one-hand opening, in that the user squeezes the handle and simultaneously elbows the door open in one movement, instead of using one hand to pull a lever and the other arm to push, as in the previous set-up.

Retro Ranger badge

A nice reminder of the past for many North Americans. (image: Byron Mathioudakis) A nice reminder of the past for many North Americans. (image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Behind the rear-seat on the bulkhead and usually hidden by the backrest is the word ‘Ranger' stylised in the original, 1980s script.

It even says “Since 1983”. Meaningless for most Australians, but a nice reminder of the past for many North Americans.

Nine airbags

One upon a time, utes featured precisely nein airbags, as somehow car and law makers alike figured that workplace safety need not extend to behind the wheel. Crazy.

Thankfully times change. After the Isuzu D-Max upped the ante with eight airbags in 2020, the T6.2 Ranger steps up to nine – including a front side-centre unit to help keep people from colliding into each other in a lateral impact, as well a front knee airbag apiece for both occupants.

Box step

Ford's research shows that many people climb on to the rear wheel to reach over the ever-deeper walls, only to either soil their shoes and clothes or slip and injure themselves. Sometimes seriously.

If that's you, consider that the T6.2 Ranger now comes with an integrated box step – not your nanna's favourite dance move, but a safe and clean way for shorter-statured folk to access items in their pick-ups.

Fries with that?

If the sight of a higher-spec Ranger's gear lever creepily shifting itself into Park if left in Drive after the engine-off button is pushed leaves you feeling haunted yet peckish, then reach for a chip in the conveniently located ‘French Fries' holder – a narrow slit just wide enough for said snack.

Helpfully, Ford even places a symbol inside it, though you'd think after the ghostly gear lever experience that pressing down on it might conjure up some heavenly fries, room-service style, but no.

Zone lighting

No more fumbling for your keys in the dark. (image: Byron Mathioudakis) No more fumbling for your keys in the dark. (image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Within the vast portrait touchscreen are simple-to-access menus to control exterior zone lighting – a boon for working in dark areas or providing some reassuring exterior illumination around the vehicle when entering or exiting, since it's also controlled via the FordPass app.

Front camera wash

Clear views all round, no matter the terrain. (image: Byron Mathioudakis) Clear views all round, no matter the terrain. (image: Byron Mathioudakis)

When whatever situation results in the front camera operating, the driver can clean the lens with a rapid squirt of water by pulling the windscreen wiper washer stalk.

Great for spotting then deterring grille badge thieves, since the stream will hit you in the eye if you're close enough.

Tow bar camera view

Neighbouring cars will be grateful for this one. (image: Byron Mathioudakis) Neighbouring cars will be grateful for this one. (image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Within the touchscreen's camera menu is a setting for a unique tow bar view, meaning the vision takes in the length of protrusion, so you'll know how far back to reverse with the tow bar sticking out. Thoughtful.

If you park on a busy street, your neighbours will be very grateful.

Remote heating and cooling

The Ford Pass app can remotely control engine start-up for rapid cabin heating or cooling as needed.

No big deal in temperate climes, it's actually a boon in icy conditions or if your Ranger is parked outside under the hot baking sun.

Second battery not included

Another win for Ranger fans. (image: Byron Mathioudakis) Another win for Ranger fans. (image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Thanks to the T6.2 Ranger's advanced new hydroformed front end, there's now an area in the engine bay expressly for the fitment of a second battery.

A first for Ranger, it addresses one of the biggest criticisms of the previous generation.

Not just junk in the trunk

Lighting underneath better illuminates the tub in the dark. (image: Byron Mathioudakis) Lighting underneath better illuminates the tub in the dark. (image: Byron Mathioudakis)

The Ranger's pick-up tub used to be three walls and a hernia-inducing tailgate. Most rivals still are, but the latest version carries over with its brilliant lift-assist mechanism to make light work of raising the door.

The area opens up to a now-Euro palette-rated load space, so it's larger than before; the floor is covered with a bedliner featuring raised ridges to help keep loads in place; there's a new side-wall box cap to protect the sheetmetal, lighting underneath that better illuminates the tub in the dark; a 12-volt outlet for electrical accessories; load-bearing side bar for the first time, to secure items to (on Wildtrak); latching slots on the box caps for options like canopies and cross bars, and external tie-down rails with sliding cleats for odd-shaped items.

Even the tailgate is a workbench, with two clamp pockets to secure project materials and a built-in ruler for measuring.

Overhead switches for accessories

They're nice to use, particularly if you're a nervous fidgeter. (image: Byron Mathioudakis) They're nice to use, particularly if you're a nervous fidgeter. (image: Byron Mathioudakis)

Hot on the heels of the 1985 Alfa Romeo 90 comes a bank of roof-mounted switches in upper-spec Rangers.

Called up-fitter switches, they are ready-made and wired up for accessories, meaning owners need not drill holes in the dashboard for the inevitable winches, spot lights, CB radio and Cars That Ate Paris-inspired wheel-hub spears.

Additionally, they're nice to use, particularly if you're a nervous fidgeter.

It's behind you!

A welcome addition to the safety tech. (image: Byron Mathioudakis) A welcome addition to the safety tech. (image: Byron Mathioudakis)

The blind-spot monitoring system now comes with trailer coverage – a segment-first safety tech that means the driver can program the length of the trailer or caravan being towed, to stop the vehicle side-swiping other road users when changing lanes. Awesome!

FordPass trailer light check

Another FordPass app feature, the driver can check whether a hitched-up trailer's lights are all working as required, by pressing a button to launch a light show sequence while standing outside the vehicle. Indicators, brakes, reverse lights, hazard flashers – the works.

Downside? Now you'll have no excuse if pulled up by the police for driving with a light bulb out.

THE MISSES...

Flimsy outboard cupholders

Their execution in the Ranger leaves something to be desired. (image: Byron Mathioudakis) Their execution in the Ranger leaves something to be desired. (image: Byron Mathioudakis)

The idea is sound, fitting a set of retractable cupholders right below the outboard air vents to keep beverages cool or warm as required.

But their execution in the Ranger leaves something to be desired. They're too small for some larger cups, require two hands to get broader vessels in, and feel flimsy enough to break over time.

Worse still, they're Wildtrak-only items, meaning that in lesser grades, you're left with a small cavity that's just a useless reminder that you didn't study hard enough at school to earn the sort of job with pay that would stretch to a high-series Ranger. Boo.

No rear sliding window portion

OK, there are very sound economic and engineering reasons as to why Ford didn't bother matching the Nissan Navara in having a cool opening back hatch.

It would add unnecessary expense, weight and complexity; it would compromise the Ranger's excellent noise/vibration/harshness properties; it would compromise aerodynamic efficiency due to the air vortices created at speed; and it provides no actual functionality benefit beyond being more audible if you're trying to communicate with someone in the tub area.

Ford says it conducted research in the early development phase, but found that no consumers asked for or requested an opening rear glass portion. So it was never pursued.

Still, it's really cool.

No auto power-down/up rear windows

C'mon, Ford.

At the time of publication, the Ranger Wildtrak starts from $67,190 before on-road costs, and yet the rear-seat passengers still have to hold up or down their power window switches, instead of relying on the convenience and stress-free ease of a one-touch action?

Oh, the humanity!