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Ford Ranger finally reintroduced with production set to start in 2018

14 January 2018, 03:16 | Winston Chapman

Ford Ranger finally reintroduced with production set to start in 2018

2019 Ford Ranger EMBARGOED DO NOT USE

Ford Motor Co on Sunday will officially take the wraps off its long-awaited Ranger midsize pickup truck, a year ahead of its arrival in showrooms, as rivals consolidate positions in a segment Detroit automakers once gave up for dead.

The company is leaning on its reputation for trucks for the North American relaunch of a truck it once sold hundreds of thousands of.

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

"This is for people living in the city who want to get off the grid", said Todd Eckert, truck group marketing manager for Ford.

Body panels are tooled for tight fits to meet North American requirements and consumer expectations, says Max Wolff, chief designer. Per Ford Engineers, the North American Ranger is only similar in its dimensions.

Analysts have said Ford might cut into F-150 sales by releasing the Ranger in the USA, but Ford executives have said F-150 shoppers are typically completely different from those who'd look to buy a Ranger. With a recent resurge in popularity for compact pickup trucks such as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the Toyota Tacoma and the Honda Ridgeline, there's at last room again for a baby Ford truck. SuperCab Rangers will have the longer of the two beds, while SuperCrew (full two door) Rangers will only get the shorter bed.

When it comes time to take the Ranger off-road, the FX4 Off-Road Package offers multiple enhancements to make this truck more capable where the pavement ends.

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Fully reengineered for the United States, Ranger will be built in MI with a 2.3-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic transmission.

EPA fuel economy numbers for the 2019 Ford Ranger won't be published until shortly before it goes on sale early next year. That has four drive modes - normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand - that can be flipped between while the Ranger is in motion.

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. The truck has a steel frame and steel bumpers. This includes an aluminum hood and tailgate, aluminum front fenders, a fresh front-end design, different doors, and of course, a unique powertrain. The truck was designed with an athletic look in mind, which truck buyers favor. Ford also prioritized ground clearance for off-roading.

It should be noted up front that the new Ranger is most definitely a mid-size pickup, much larger than the old compact Ranger we knew, and it's almost the same size as a mid-1990s Ford F-150. 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. There are numerous optional driver-assist features, too. In the instrument cluster, it will be available with a pair of LCD productivity screens that can show real-time vehicle, navigation, and audio information.

The revived Ranger includes a center stack with an eight-inch touchscreen that features Ford's SYNC 3 system.

While Ford's U.S. PR declined to provide detailed specifications at an embargoed preview, the United Kingdom version of the Ranger is 211 inches long, on a 126.8-inch wheelbase, and 71-72 inches tall. One of the casualties was the Ford Ranger, and it slipped into that good night after the 2011 model year. First, this is a pure Ford product and not a combined effort with Mazda.

We've seen spy photos of various versions of the Ranger over the past year, but this is our first chance to see it without any sort of camouflage hiding the details of the design.



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