Ford Aims At Midsize Truck Throne By Unleashing 2019 Ranger At Detroit

Herbert Rhodes
January 15, 2018

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

The all-new, 2019 Ford Ranger for North America could hardly have come at a better time; according to Ford, mid-size truck sales has grown by 83% in the United States since 2014, while the automaker's had nothing to offer in the segment.

Revealed overnight, the US-market version of the Ranger - a competitor for the Chevrolet Colorado that's also sold here wearing a Holden badge - will exclusively use the turbocharged 2.3-litre Ecoboost petrol engine from the Mustang - performance details are a bit light on the ground at the moment - mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission that includes Ford's terrible gearstick-mounted shifter toggle instead of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. In addition, the engine features a forged-steel crankshaft and connecting rods, and chain-driven dual overhead cams.

"When you pair that with its 10-speed transmission, you've got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment", said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's executive vice president for product development and purchasing. "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". A lineup of SuperCab and SuperCrew models will be offered in XL, XLT and Lariat trim levels. There will also be Chrome and Sport appearance packages to tailor the look of the Ranger as well as FX off-road packages for those with serious off-road intentions.

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

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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. There's also unique FX4 badging to help the Ranger stand out from the crowd. The Terrain Management System features settings for normal; grass, gravel, snow; mud and ruts; and sand. The system can shift on the fly to automatically change throttle responsiveness, transmission gearing, and vehicle controls to tailor traction, driveability, and performance to any given terrain or weather condition. It's specifically designed for low-speed, off-road terrain and takes over acceleration and braking. This means the technology will send power or brakes to each wheel as needed so drivers can keep their eyes on steering while off-road driving.

Ford will build Rangers with two cabs and 5- or 6-foot boxes.

Rear- and four-wheel drive with low-range gearing will be offered. Optional exterior lighting includes puddle lamps and lighting for the cargo bed, while Ford's available Smart Trailer Tow connector alerts drivers to faulty trailer connection, the automaker said.

What differentiates the North American Ranger from the global model is the bumpers: Ours are steel and are mounted directly to the frame for superior durability and crashworthiness. The interior is highlighted with seating for five, an 8-inch touchscreen with Ford SYNC 3 and optional LCD display in the gauge cluster. There are multiple USB outlets and available AC power outlets to charge larger devices like laptops. XLT and Lariat models will get active lane control, lane departure warning, rear park assist, and blind-spot monitors that also cover the trailer the Ranger might be towing.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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