Ford Ranger debuts at Detroit auto show

Pablo Tucker
January 14, 2018

Production is set to begin late this year at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant with two cab styles: SuperCab and larger SuperCrew. US sales are up 83 percent since 2014 as a new generation of midsize truck buyers seek more maneuverable, fuel-efficient pickups.

Fans of smaller pickup trucks, rejoice - the Ford Ranger is back!

No changes have been made to the Ranger's design, but it features a bespoke chassis set-up to cater to USA tasted and uses Ford's 2.3-litre Ecoboost petrol engine, as opposed to one of the diesel units offered in the UK.

Ford was expected to hold a press conference Sunday afternoon. "The new Ranger is designed for today's mid-size truck buyer, delivering even more utility, capability and technology for those who blend city living with more off-the-grid adventures on weekends".

The North American 2019 Ford Ranger also gets its own solid-steel front bumper, front-mounted tow hooks, a new double-bulge aluminum hood, and on the FX4 trim level, an "aluminum bash plate", as truck design chief and native Australian Max Wolff puts it. MacLeod used to drive an F-150 and now he drives a GMC Yukon SUV, but he prefers Ford trucks and will buy a Ranger if he likes what he sees.

Even its design is tough. But to meet US safety standards and customer expectations, the frame was reinforced with high-strength steel. There are short overhangs to further enhance performance by providing better clearance for off-roading and maneuvering around obstacles.

From the rear, the Ranger nameplate stamped in the tailgate conveys strength, and the tailgate itself is created to handle people and cargo. It will exclusively house a new version of the company's 2.3-liter EcoBoost four, though we don't know the output yet. This 16-valve, dual-overhead cam engine features direct injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger.

"Ranger's proven 2.3-liter EcoBoost provides a torquetarget on par with competing V6 engines, but with the efficiency of a four-cylinder", Thai-Tang said. "When you pair that with its 10-speed transmission, you've got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment".

Steel bumpers are standard and the tailgate is strong enough to sit on. That trim also comes with a terrain management system similar to that found in the F-150 Raptor. It includes four distinct drive modes - normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand. This system can be changed on the fly, so there's no need to stop the action to adjust to the terrain. Dubbed Trail Control, it's effectively cruise control but for off-road use. FX4 models add the new Trail Control feature that takes over the throttle and brakes, leaving the driver to steer through rugged terrain. An electronically-locking rear differential will be available as an option, and offered as standard on the FX2 and FX4 off-road models.

The cabin and dashboard will look nothing like the Ranger you drove in high school.

Available driver-assist technologies include standard automatic emergency braking, while lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, a reverse sensing system and blind spot information system with trailer coverage are standard on XLT and Lariat trim levels. The top Lariat model adds pre-collision assist, pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control. Available SYNC 3 features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Ford+Alexapersonal assistant functionality and optional navigation, Ford said. The FordPass Connect 4G LTE link will be on offer as well, and it will provide wi-fi access for up to 10 devices.

Earlier in the week, Ford introduced its best-selling F-150 truck with an optional 3.0-liter diesel Power Stroke engine that will come with an EPA-estimated 30 mpg later this year.

Ford pulled the covers off its U.S. market Ranger on Sunday, a day ahead of the Detroit Motor Show.

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