A sneak peek behind the Ford Design curtain helps one learn, in 90 seconds, what it takes to go from a scribble on a sketch pad to Ford’s most powerful Ranger ever – the next-generation Ranger Raptor.
Hundreds of sketches, thousands of kilos of clay, and hundreds of litres of paint. At a time when people think that new cars are built by sophisticated machines on massive production lines, Ford says the first step in the process begins with artisans.
Pedro Simões, Marketing Director at Ford Middle East, said: “With its status as the world’s fastest mid-size pickup, off-roading and automotive fans are well aware of the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor’s blend of exhilarating desert-racing power, built on raw power, smart technology, and mechanical and technical precision. However, as our experts detail below, a lot of work has gone into ensuring the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor’s design complements its Ford Performance features – inside and out.”
Backbone of design
Like everything, the design of next-gen Ranger Raptor began with a brief. This brief forms the backbone of the design, it confirms the inspiration and must-haves in the design.
Once the creative brief is locked, the designers begin sketching and it “always starts with a pencil and paper,” said Dave Dewitt, exterior design manager, Ranger Raptor. Once the sketches are approved, “and there are hundreds of them,” according to Dewitt, the digital design team recreates them virtually as both a master reference document and to feed into the next step, clay modelling.
Using more than 4,000 kg of clay, 1/3 scale models and then full-size models are carved first by machines before the finishing touches are made by master sculptors. The design chiefs approve the clay design, and it is ‘frozen’. Clay modellers also sculpt life-sized models of steering wheels, dashboards and seats.
While the clay modellers are working, the colour and materials team start selecting the fabrics, textures and colours to help emphasise the look and feel of the next-gen Ranger Raptor while conforming with the design DNA of the vehicle. Interior design works to ensure the Raptor’s interior feels like a cockpit but is also as practical as can be.
While the various teams are working on the interior and exterior the design engineering team goes beneath the surface to ensure the good looks are more than just skin deep.
The end result, after lots of hard work, much of it hand built by a team of talented creatives and craftspeople, is the next-gen Ranger Raptor.
Performance at a glance
The next-gen Ranger Raptor wraps its performance chassis in a bold and aggressive exterior that not only takes Ranger to the next level, but screams Ford Performance and clearly links it to the rest of the Raptor family.
“Our design brief for Ranger Raptor was to really lean into ‘form following function’ and take Ranger to the next level,” said Max Tran, chief designer, Ranger Raptor.
The team was tasked with telling the story of Ranger Raptor through its design, Dewitt added.
“With just a glance you had to get a clear picture of Ranger Raptor’s power, performance and capability but also recognise it was part of the Ford Performance and Raptor families,” he said.
Pinnacle of off-road performance
Raptor vehicles are the pinnacle of off-road performance and while each model has its own personality they need to contain Raptor-family design cues. These include bold F-O-R-D lettering stretching across the blacked-out grille with Matrix LED headlights that stretch fender to fender, durable steel front and rear bumpers built for rigorous off-roading, high-strength steel bash plate, functional hood and side vents, and wide fenders.
Ranger Raptor contains all of those elements and further differentiates itself from next-gen Ranger with a pumped hood dome hinting at the power underneath, twin exhaust tips tucked up high to avoid obstacles, and precision grey accents.
“With our design we ensured the Ranger Raptor stood alone as its own vehicle, not just next to Ranger but also in the Raptor family,” said Dewitt.
“You can park them all side by side and see the things that make them different but also the elements that tie them to one another.”
According to Nick Eterovic, interior design manager, Ranger Raptor, the interior of the Ranger Raptor had to provide customer with the confidence to unlock the high-performance capability of the next-gen Raptor.
“Our design team had to deliver a commanding cabin with the function of a high-performance off-road race truck with the comfort and convenience of a modern sports car,” said Eterovic.
Ranger Raptor’s cabin is as expressive as the exterior with Ford Performance Code Orange splashes throughout. Covering the instrument panel and the top of the door panels is Terra Suede which is soft yet tough and easy to clean. It’s matte finish reduces glare and adds to the premium, performance vibe of the interior.
Ford Performance seats
Unique to next-gen Ranger Raptor, Ford Performance seats take their inspiration from the seats inside the F-22 Raptor jet fighter with grippy side bolstering designed to keep you in place no matter the terrain. The seat materials too have been developed to have both a functional and aesthetic appeal with a newly developed ‘super matte’ seat trim, accented with suede. And because next-gen Ranger Raptor allows you to transport friends and family, the rear seats of Ranger Raptor have been designed to be as grippy and supportive as those in the front.
“Jet fighter seats need to be supportive both side to side and up and down,” said Eterovic. “We spent a lot of time looking at key details of the F-22 seats and how we could incorporate them into the Ranger Raptor’s seat design. And we wanted to make sure those in the back were just as comfortable as those in the front.”
Owners get a commanding cockpit feel with a new-design premium-grade leather steering wheel with a thick rim and thumb rests set off with an orange marker on the top of the rim, and magnesium paddles for manual gear shifts. The Ranger Raptor-specific My Mode button allow owners to select Normal, Sport and Bajai modes for the steering, suspension and exhaust (you can also select Quiet to ensure you stay on the good side of your neighbours).
Bringing the whole interior together is Ford’s new-to-Raptor configurable information-on-demand 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster, which has bespoke start-up animations befitting the pickup’s performance character. Complementing the digital cluster is a 12-inch portrait-style centre touchscreen running Ford’s latest-generation SYNC 4 infotainment system.
“Next-gen Ranger Raptor is as bold and expressive on the inside as it is outside. From the digital instrument cluster, fingertip access to customisable suspension, exhaust and steering modes, to the heavily-bolstered seats, dedicated off-road screen on the touchscreen, and the Code Orange accents Ranger Raptor is designed for action out of the box,” said Eterovic.-- TradeArabia News Service