Some new Ford Ranger and Everest owners will need to return to the dealership for a free software update, if their vehicle is to be eligible for its maximum ANCAP safety rating.
The 2023 Ford Ranger ute and Ford Everest four-wheel-drive have earned high marks in Australasian New-Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) safety testing – provided some owners take their vehicles back to the dealership for a free software update.
The five-star ANCAP safety ratings announced today for the Ford Ranger and Everest include high scores in the Safety Assist category – which assesses the vehicle’s advanced safety systems, including a lane-keep assist that ensures vehicles don’t stray from their lane.
Close to, or full marks were awarded to the Ford Ranger and Everest for their ‘lane support systems’ – but only if a free software is installed by a Ford dealer, required for the vehicles to meet ANCAP standards related to how the lane-keep assist system is activated.
This is required for vehicles manufactured before 20 August 2022 – and will be completed by dealers “at the complimentary peace of mind service,” Ford Australia says.
Examples built after this date already have the update installed.
ANCAP protocols require the lane-keep assist system to automatically activate every time the driver starts the car – and for it to be disabled, it requires more than just a momentary click, either by holding the button down, or confirmation from the driver.
However, Ford says Ranger and Everest vehicles built before August 20 do not meet these – without the software update.
“The minor software configuration update is to ensure that if the driver chooses to switch the Lane-Keeping System (LKS) “off”, it will automatically default back to “on” when the vehicle is next started; and before switching LKS off, the driver is asked to confirm that action in the instrument cluster,” a Ford Australia spokesperson told Drive.
“The vehicles have all of the LKS functionality as standard, however require the software to default to be ‘on’ with each key cycle in order to meet ANCAP standards.”
Drive has contacted Ford Australia to confirm how many vehicles are affected. A company spokesperson told Drive Ford Australia is “working with dealers to get the software updated on affected vehicles as soon as possible.”
It’s also unclear if all new Everests – deliveries of which are expected to begin next week – will have the update installed when owners take delivery, or if the update will be made available to the Ranger Raptor, which is not covered by the five-star overall ANCAP rating.
In ANCAP testing, the Ranger received 3.5 out of four possible points for its lane-keep assist system – while the Everest earned the full four.
The ANCAP technical report suggests this is due to the lack of rear radar sensors in cab-chassis Ranger models – which are required to prevent drivers changing lanes into the path of cars in their blind spots. The Everest has these sensors as standard on all models.
To be eligible for an overall five-star safety rating from ANCAP – under the latest criteria – vehicles must score 70 per cent or above in the Safety Assist category (as the overall rating is derived from a car’s lowest-performing category).
With the lane assist software update installed, the Ranger and Everest earned 83 and 86 per cent in the Safety Assist category respectively.
However, if the software update was not planned by Ford Australia, and a score of zero was theoretically applied for the lane-keep assist systems, both vehicles would have Safety Assist scores of 61 per cent – which would only qualify them for four stars.
While the new Ford Ranger and Everest support over-the-air downloadable software updates, the safety update will be installed by Ford Australia dealers at the free ‘peace of mind’ service, which occurs a few months into ownership.
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