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Described as “bold, powerful and confident” by Ford, the new Ranger will be on sale in the UK in early 2012, with the brand claiming more power, capability and features than before.

Though UK market specifics haven’t been confirmed yet, globally there will be four cab body styles, two- and four-wheel drive options, two ride heights, six-speed manual or auto transmissions and three new engines, though only the 150hp 2.2-litre and 200hp 3.0-litre diesels are likely to make it here. Ford claims increased fuel economy and decreased engine wear from the new units in a bid to cut running costs, though official economy test results haven’t yet been published.

Technology including Adaptive Load Control, Trailer Sway Control and a Rearview Camera system will all be available on the new model, while the interior is as dramatic a move forward as the exterior. As well as the plush car-like dashboard, the interior features up to 20 storage spots, including all four door pockets in the double-cab capable of taking a water bottle, a glove box big enough to hold a laptop and further storage under the rear seats. A conventional handbrake also replaces the umbrella-handle mechanism of the current model.

Ford claims the new Ranger is slotted onto an entirely new chassis that offers “car-like comfort, reduced steering effort, more precise handling and better on-road stability”. New front and rear suspension are joined by a stiffer frame that should improve off-road performance, and Ford has also fitted driveline components above the frame rail to protect them from damage when off the beaten track.

From a safety perspective, ESP anti-skid control will be available, and Ford is claiming a class first with the availability of side curtain airbags on all cab styles.

The double cab’s cargo area is now 104mm wider at 1560mm, and 1549mm long by 511mm high, both slight increases. The rest of the new Ranger bodystyles will be unveiled over the coming weeks. “The new Ranger is an exciting and dynamic vehicle that will undoubtedly raise the bar in the compacy pick-up market,” said Ford of Europe boss Stephen Odell. “We look forward to bringing new Ranger to European customers by 2012 and I am confident it will exceed their expectations.”