Ford Ranger finally reintroduced with production set to start in 2018

Ceria Alfonso
Enero 14, 2018

After an eight-year absence from the US market, Ford decided last year that it could no longer ignore a mid-size pickup segment that was attracting a half million buyers annually.

This is it: one of the most iconic nameplates in trucks has returned to the U.S., with the covers taken off the 2019 Ford Ranger at the Detroit Auto Show today.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas, said at the 2017 auto show that both vehicles will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne.

Since then, Toyota has done fine with its smaller Tacoma truck. Designed originally in Australia, it's now become a truly global vehicle with its arrival in North America.

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.

Since GM's models arrived in 2014, sales of mid-size pickups in the USA have surged about 85 percent, as gas prices fell and trucks mounted a comeback. SuperCab Rangers will have the longer of the two beds, while SuperCrew (full two door) Rangers will only get the shorter bed.

Steel bumpers are standard and the tailgate is strong enough to sit on.

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The new Ranger is Ford's entry into the revived mid-size pickup market.

"This isn't necessarily for an F-Series customer", said Todd Eckert, Ford's truck marketing manager. Metal trim pieces over the wheel wells can be color matched or accented with a handsome magnetic grey color.

The Ranger will be available in three different trim levels- XL, XLT, and Lariat- in ascending order of price and included features. That package provides part-time four-wheel drive, a steel skid plate up front, other steel underbody skid plates, off-road shocks and tires, and Magnetic Grey trim accents.

Under the hood, Ford removed the diesel engine it sells internationally, replacing it with a 2.3-liter turbo-charged V-6 also found in the Mustang sports auto. If you think this combination sounds familiar, it is. While Ford made no mention of a diesel engine, the rest of the world enjoys their Rangers with a turbo-diesel 3.2-liter five-cylinder engine, which wasn't rated by the EPA until the new Ford Transit van showed up sporting one. The 4WD Ranger will have 2-high, 4-high, and 4-low as standard. An electronic locking rear differential is optional, standard on FX2 and FX4 models. Sand activates 4-Hi, tells the transmission to grab the lowest gear possible, and relaxes the traction control to allow some wheel slip. Where it differs from a cruise control is that pressing the brake while it's activated doesn't deactivate it but rather, brings the cruise speed down to whatever the driver slows to.

In addition, the FX4 also gets Ford's brand-new Trail Control system, which allows the driver to set a speed between 1 and 20 miles per hour that the truck will automatically maintain on the trail, taking care of the throttle and braking on its own. It's meant to enable the driver to concentrate on the terrain instead of varying the throttle over terrain like a two-track dirt trail through the woods. A locking rear differential and a new fully boxed frame will be unique to the North American model.

"When you pair that with its 10-speed transmission, you've got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment". Keeping the crew comfortable during the journey is a live rear axle and electric steering while entertainment responsibilities are doled out to the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system loaded with SYNC 3 software, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

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