New Ford Ranger 2020 dual-cab ute moves closer to autonomy

The Ranger will become the first ute in Australia with connected services as a FordPass Connect modem will become standard equipment from mid-2020 across the pick-up range.

Ford’s workhorse will also herald the inclusion of the FordPass Connect across the rest of the brand’s model line-up by year’s end, including the new-generation Escape mid-size SUV and Puma small crossover.

With the modem installed, remote vehicle functions can be used from a smartphone with the FordPass application installed.

Headlining the expanded functionality is remote starting/stopping of the vehicle engine, which will also turn on climate systems to the last known settings to cool/heat the cabin before driving.

The modem will also enable remote locking/unlocking, vehicle status monitoring (fuel levels, tyre pressure and mileage), live traffic updates, vehicle location data, and vehicle health alerts.

Despite the inclusion of the modem as standard across the Ranger range, prices will remain static, and opens at $28,590 before on-road costs for the XL single cab 4×2 and tops out at $76,290 for the dual-cab Raptor flagship.

Enabling remote connectivity will be a sim card installed in the modem, which can switch between Vodafone, Telstra and Optus networks depending on which has the strongest signal.

Ford will include data on the sim card for the first three years before customers will have to pay a subscription to use the service.

The FordPass Connect app would rival Hyundai’s Auto Link software, as well as BMW’s Connected Drive and Mercedes Me connect, which all allow for remote vehicle functionality and monitoring.