• The Blue Oval is back in the midsize truck business
  • 2.3-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine, 10-speed auto transmission
  • SuperCab or SuperCrew (no standard cab), 5- or 6-foot bed
  • Four trims: STX, XL, XLT and Lariat, plus FX4 off-road package
  • Available tech includes built-in Wi-Fi, Ford+Alexa personal assistant
  • Expect a starting price closer to Tacoma ($25,200) than Colorado ($20,200)
  • Scheduled to go on sale early 2019


Ford signaled the end of its midsize pickup waiting game at Detroit’s North American Automobile Show, unveiling the long-anticipated Ranger revival. A new Ranger, yes. But how new? The previous one may have disappeared from U.S. showrooms six years ago, but an international version of the truck continued to be produced outside North America, and the chassis of that truck was adapted to support the new North American edition.

Without getting into detail—or furnishing specifications—Ford characterizes the boxed frame as “tooled for North America,” amply composed of high-strength steel.

Absence of specifications notwithstanding, the new Ranger is visibly bigger than its predecessor. It will be offered in two body styles—SuperCab, with rear demi-doors for rear seat access; and the four-door SuperCrew. No standard cab.

There are two cargo bed lengths—5 and 6 feet—and Ford predicts best-in-class payload, again without citing a specific number. The current max payload champ among competing midsize trucks is 1,580 pounds, held by the Honda Ridgeline, edging the Chevy Colorado’s max of 1,574. Ford made no mention of towing capability.

Ecoboost 2.3-liter

Unlike most of its midsize competitors, the Ranger will have just one engine and one transmission, a 10-speed automatic that’s a midsize pickup exclusive. The engine is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder, a powerplant that sees service in high-performance passenger cars such as the Focus RS and Mustang GT.

In the Mustang, output is rated at 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque, and a sizzling 350 hp and 350 lb-ft in the much lighter Focus RS. Ford’s Detroit presentation did not include ratings for the 2.3 in Ranger service, although the development team admits that the engine “shares architecture” with the Focus and Mustang versions, but includes a number of modifications for truck use. Example: forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods. EPA fuel economy ratings will also wait until the Ranger is ready to appear in showrooms.

Like all pickups, great and midsize, the Ranger will offer a 4-wheel drive option, as well as Dana Trac-Loc differentials and an available electronically locking rear differential. Anticipating a high percentage of use on unpaved surfaces, Ford will offer an FX4 off-road option. The package augments the Ranger’s standard ground clearance (as yet unspecified), and adds frame-mounted skid plates, off-road tires, and shock absorbers tuned for bashing about in the rough.

FX4 also includes a Terrain Management System, adapted from the F-150 Raptor. The system uses four driver-select operating modes: normal; grass, gravel, and snow; mud and ruts; and sand. An intriguing element of FX4 is its Trail Control feature, essentially a low-speed cruise control for off-road use, allowing the driver to concentrate on steering.

Built Ford Tough

During the lifespan of the original Ranger, Ford’s marketing mantra was “built fun tough.” That doesn’t carry into the revival. The next Ranger shares the familiar F-series theme—"Built Ford Tough.” That theme is reinforced by the new Ranger’s styling. Like the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, the revival Ranger has a much more macho presence than its predecessor, appearing midsize only in contrast to the full-size F-150.

The rugged look is reinforced by the steel bumpers and tow hooks, anchored directly to the frame. Ford will also offer two cosmetic options, a Chrome Appearance Package and Sport Appearance Package.

Like all new vehicles, the Ranger offers a comprehensive menu of infotainment and connectivity, as well as driver assist and safety features including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and Blind Spot Information (BLIS) that covers a trailer on the top two trims, XLT and Lariat. Available Lariat assist features include adaptive cruise control and pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection.

Infotainment options include Ford’s Sync 3 system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility; the Ford+Alexa personal assistant feature that allows management of home systems and includes navigation; 4G LTE Wi-Fi capable of supporting up to 10 devices; plus AC laptop and smartphone charging.

The Ranger will be offered in four trims: STX, XL, XLT, and Lariat, and is due to go on sale in the first quarter of 2019 as a 2019 model.

2019 Ford Ranger Exterior and Interior Pics

 

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