Ford Ranger: F-150's Little Brother Comes Home

Ford Ranger: F-150's Little Brother Comes Home

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 USA since 2014, while the automaker's had nothing to offer in the segment.

The company released some details about the truck at midnight, but more will come when the truck makes its debut at the show.

After seven years of absence, the Ranger will make a comeback to North America in early 2019 with an all-new body (not that new for European and Asian customers, though), high-strength steel frame backbone, a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and 10-speed automatic transmission. Designed for people who want some adventure, the Ranger also has an available FX4 off-road package. The FX4 Off-Road Package provides adds off-road-tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, a frame-mounted heavy-gauge steel front bash plate, frame-mounted skid plates and FX4 badges.

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. Despite the 10-speed transmission where a rotary control selector could be possible, the Ranger gets a sportier transmission lever in the center console. Ford is keen to catch the midsize truck wave; sales in the segment are up 83 percent since 2014 "as a new generation of midsize truck buyers seek more maneuverable, fuel-efficient pick-ups".

Ford gave the Ranger a high beltline with a raked grille and windshield that not only gives it a more rugged look, but also helps to improve aerodynamics and reduce wind noise.

What's interesting is that, while it clearly bears some resemblance to the Ranger sold internationally, Ford says that this is no simple US-centric massage of that truck. While no specs were revealed, the automaker claims the 2.3-liter unit offers torque comparable to V6 engines and the efficiency of a four-cylinder.

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When it goes on sale a year from now, the Ranger will be available in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations, and in entry-level XL, mid-level XLT, and high-level Lariat trim levels. Steering is electrically power-assisted, but the novel Ford Pro Trailer Backup Assist is not yet available (Ford says it's under development for Ranger). There are numerous optional driver-assist features, too.

On the safety front, Rangers (XLT and Lariat) will come standard with Auto Emergency Braking, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Waring, Reverse Sensing System and the Blind Spot Information System.

The Ford Ranger FX4 will also get a Terrain Management System not dissimilar to that found on the Ford F-150 Raptor. That electronic system enables the driver to choose one of several modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts and Sand. Buyers will be able to connect to a 4G LTE link that will provide in-vehicle wi-fi for up to 10 devices through FordPass Connect, and choose a premium Bang & Olufsen Play audio system.

Americans will be happy to know this isn't simply a transplant of the European Ranger, but has been designed specifically for USA market.

Yep, the 2019 Ranger comes with a new engine.

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