Amazon Alexa made this Ford Ranger more techie

The 2021 Ford Ranger scaling a pile of boulders.
Credit: Ford

Can the current vehicle you drive connect to a bedside lamp?

I’m guessing probably not. I was happy to discover that the 2021 Ford Ranger can do exactly that, but before I explain how it works, here’s why you might want to try it.

For the last few years, I’ve started to view Amazon Alexa as part of my household. I’m only half-joking. My wife sometimes has an entire conversation with the bot about historical topics. I’ve been known to ask Alexa to close the garage door, tell me the weather, wake me up in the morning, and remind me about a meeting all in one go. I’m pretty sure we talk to Alexa more than anyone else, usually while we are texting friends and family.

Ford really embraced this revolution a few years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I went the extra step and activated some connected light bulbs and lamps I had sitting around. (The great battle of our age is that we can do everything with technology, but we don’t have the time.) I can now dim the lights with Alexa right after I tell the bot to lock the front door.

In the Ranger, it’s a fantastic addition. I’ve tested Alexa many times in Ford vehicles, but when you drive into your town and can ask the bot to turn on your lights, then arrive at a fully illuminated house, it’s quite impressive. The “pain” of doing the setup and configuration pales in comparison to the glowing aura of my well-lit home.

And, it just branches out from there. I liked being able to talk to Alexa to play music in the Ranger just as much (even more than I like Apple CarPlay). In case you haven’t noticed, Alexa is smarter and more capable than Siri, especially when it comes to those historical facts. It’s fun to drive on a mud-soaked country road and, on a whim, ask Alexa to play Born to Be Wild without having to think through whether that will work with Siri. (In my case it won’t because I don’t pay for an Apple Music subscription and I don’t own that song.)

I even have radio stations connected as a skill with Alexa, so I can also control the radio by voice. I mean, what can’t I do? I suppose I can’t make waffles, but that might be coming soon. Ping us at if you know how to do that with a connected waffle-maker.

The fun part of this is none of us know what will come next with these bots. I feel like they have stalled a bit and don’t seem to be advancing as much lately, but the hope is they will make a jump forward soon. A connected waffle-maker is on my shortlist.