Ford Ranger debuts at Detroit auto show

2019 Ford Ranger main

DETROIT, Michigan-It seemed perfectly reasonable seven years ago that Ford might remove the Ranger midsize pickup truck from the USA market forever.

"Ranger has always held a special place in the hearts of truck fans", said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford executive vice president, Product Development and Purchasing.

A "torture tested" 2019 Ranger offers new technology and all-terrain options created to woo outdoor adventurers.

One could be forgiven for assuming the Ranger would simply be a Euro-Ranger adjusted for North American crash and safety regulations, since it's already a best-selling nameplate in Europe and the second-best selling truck outside of North America.

The Ranger retains body-on-frame construction and has standard steel bumpers, a solid rear axle and Dana differentials.

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.

"There's a lot of shape you can see in the front from the plan view", he says. Ford designed the new model on the platform used in global production. A dial bears labels for mud, ruts, sand, grass, gravel and snow. Every four-wheel drive Ranger also includes 2-high, 4-high, and 4-low. "We're not trying to make a small F-150 pickup". Automatic Emergency Braking is standard, while lane keeping assistance and departure warnings, a reverse sensing system, and blind-spot warnings with trailer coverage are standard once you get to XLT and Lariat trim.

2019 Ford Ranger

Inside, the steering wheel and shifter have been redesigned from foreign-market models. Standard wheels are 17-inch, with 18-inchers optional.

Yes, a unique powertrain; for now, at least, the North American 2019 Ford Ranger will be available with just a single engine and transmission combination, although it's a rather promising one. The 2.3-liter will be exclusively paired to a 10-speed automatic. No manual will be offered. Super Cab will come with a five-foot box, and the Super Crew's will be six feet. Specific Sport and FX Off-Road appearance packages will be offered on some of the trim levels. Ranger seems like a better platform for the Raptor pickup, however.

Ford+Alexa provides a personal assistant in the truck. Toyota, the segment leader, sold more than 198,000 Tacoma trucks in 2017, up 3.4 percent from a year earlier and 27 percent ahead of 2014, according to figures compiled by Autodata.

The retooling is part of the $850 million investment Ford announced last March to revamp the Michigan Assembly Plant to build the Ranger and all-new Ford Bronco.

The Ford Ranger is second only to the Toyota Hilux in worldwide sales of midsize trucks outside North America, Eckert confirmed.

Ford isn't yet revealing price, fuel economy or other details.

The company is making no secret of the shared DNA between Ranger and the F-Series models, a homage that is paid even in exterior design. It also provides better maneuverability in urban areas, where parking an F-150 in a downtown public garage can be a handful, and then on weekends can haul dirt bikes or mountain bikes to the hills. Following the success of GM's reborn Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, Ford now expects that buyers of the new Ranger won't be a traditional F-Series customer.


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