Ford proudly claims that the new Ranger is the most versatile ever and to help make it appeal to as many people as possible, Ford Australia has developed a new roof rack for it.
Dubbed the Flexible Rack System (FRS), it slides within a C-shaped channel positioned at the top of the load box sidewalls and can be locked in five different positions, meaning it can secure items of varying lengths.
Ford Australia says it spoke with pickup owners during the development of the latest-generation Ranger to determine how they used their trucks. The Flexible Rack System was the solution it came up with.
“We learned from our customers that they would load things like canoes into the load box and then lean them up against the sports hoop before tying them down. This was awkward and meant the load box couldn’t really be used for storing anything else a customer might want to take with them,” Ford Ranger application specialist Danny Trentin described. “We also learned of their frustrations when it came to carrying items of longer lengths. With an 80-kilogram dynamic load limit, the Flexible Rack System eliminates those frustrations.”
Forming part of the FRS is the Sliding Load Rack. It was designed to be operated quickly and easily by one person. The hoop slides into the rails and sports a system of four roller bearings angled at 37-degrees, retractable stabilizers and locks to ensure the rack won’t move when locked in position.
Ford torture-tested the system at its local testing facility, ensuring that the FRS could support 80 kg (176 lbs) regardless of whether it was being driven on the tarmac or off-road.
“Part of our durability test involves our infamous Silver Creek Road test track which is so torturous we use autonomous driving robots to complete this phase of the testing,” said Special Vehicle Engineering senior engineer Kin Tribhuvan. “The FRS was tested at full load and completed 77 runs on the track, passing with flying colors. It completed 400 runs with no load.”
While pricing details for the Flexible Rack System are not yet known, Ford has confirmed it will be available on select 2023 Ranger models.