Automotive

Ford reenters the midsize pickup segment with new Ranger

Ford reenters the midsize pick...
2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
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Ford debuts the all-new 2019 Ranger at the 2018 Detroit auto show
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Ford debuts the all-new 2019 Ranger at the 2018 Detroit auto show
The Ranger on show here features the FX4 Off-Road Package, which includes a variety of upgrades, like skid plates and off-road driver assistance systems
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The Ranger on show here features the FX4 Off-Road Package, which includes a variety of upgrades, like skid plates and off-road driver assistance systems
The new Ranger is powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine
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The new Ranger is powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine
2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
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2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
The new Ranger is built atop a high-strength steel frame
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The new Ranger is built atop a high-strength steel frame
A peek in the Ranger's bed
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A peek in the Ranger's bed
Inside the 2019 Ford Ranger
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Inside the 2019 Ford Ranger
The Ranger comes with an 8-in touchscreen and available Sync 3 infotainment
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The Ranger comes with an 8-in touchscreen and available Sync 3 infotainment
2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
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2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
Ford says the raked grille and windshield design cuts noise and improves aerodynamics
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Ford says the raked grille and windshield design cuts noise and improves aerodynamics
2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
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2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
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2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
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2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
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2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
The Ranger-badged tailgate is designed to support both people and cargo
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The Ranger-badged tailgate is designed to support both people and cargo
The new Ranger includes steel bumpers mounted directly to the frame
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The new Ranger includes steel bumpers mounted directly to the frame
Ford is clearly pushing the off-road-readiness of the new Ranger, hoping it will appeal to the young and adventurous
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Ford is clearly pushing the off-road-readiness of the new Ranger, hoping it will appeal to the young and adventurous
After more than half a decade off the US market, the Ford Ranger is back
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After more than half a decade off the US market, the Ford Ranger is back
The Ford Ranger includes a 10-speed auto transmission mated to its 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine
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The Ford Ranger includes a 10-speed auto transmission mated to its 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine
Ford will begin Ranger production late this year
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Ford will begin Ranger production late this year
The 2019 Ford Ranger
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The 2019 Ford Ranger
2019 Ford Ranger
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2019 Ford Ranger
Ford is pushing the FX4 package, which makes the Ranger more of an off-roader
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Ford is pushing the FX4 package, which makes the Ranger more of an off-roader
2019 Ford Ranger
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2019 Ford Ranger
The FX4 package includes all-terrain tires
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The FX4 package includes all-terrain tires
Inside the new Ford Ranger
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Inside the new Ford Ranger
Inside the new Ford Ranger
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Inside the new Ford Ranger
Inside the new Ford Ranger
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Inside the new Ford Ranger
The Ford Ranger will launch with the single powertrain, a 2.3-liter turbo four and 10-speed auto transmission
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The Ford Ranger will launch with the single powertrain, a 2.3-liter turbo four and 10-speed auto transmission
A Bang & Olufsen Play audio system tuned specially for the Ranger is an option
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A Bang & Olufsen Play audio system tuned specially for the Ranger is an option
4WD Ranger models include 2 high, 4 high and 4 low modes
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4WD Ranger models include 2 high, 4 high and 4 low modes
The Ranger Lariat sits at the top of the three-trim line-up
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The Ranger Lariat sits at the top of the three-trim line-up
View gallery - 32 images

Ford has long sat at the top of the American auto market with the F-Series pickup truck. But while it continues bringing in the dough with its larger pickups, it hasn't had a US-market midsize pickup since it discontinued the Ranger back in 2011. Six years and change later, that drought comes to an end with the new 2019 Ranger, which is preparing to rumble with midsize leaders like the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado.

Weakening numbers across the US midsize truck segment and cannibalization of F-Series sales prompted Ford to get out of the American midsize pickup business back in 2011. The Ranger, however, lived on in other markets around the world.

Since that time, Ford has watched the midsize market bounce back. In 2016, the fast-growing midsize segment grew by over 25 percent, doing its part in making the year a US record-breaker with total auto sales of 17.55 million vehicles. More specifically, Ford cites an 83 percent growth in midsize pickup sales since 2014 as a key reason for its decision to bring the Ranger back. It's no longer interested in watching from the sidelines as Toyota, GM, Nissan and Honda divvy up that pie.

2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018
2019 Ford Ranger on show at NAIAS 2018

While it does have roots in the global Ranger, the 2019 Ranger currently on show at the North American International Auto Show has been reworked specifically for the North American market, carrying its own distinct styling cues, chassis design and powertrain. Unsurprisingly, Ford is eager to link the new Ranger to the best-selling F-Series, stressing that the new truck goes through the same torture testing as the bigger F-150.

It all starts with a high-strength steel frame with direct-mounted steel bumpers, front and rear, while Dana AdvanTek independent front and solid rear axles hold that frame off the ground and keep the wheels spinning. The Ranger will come in both 2- and 4-wheel drive flavors, and an electronic-locking rear axle will be available.

At launch, the Ranger will be offered with Ford's 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder turbo under its twin-power dome hood. That engine will work with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

"Ranger's proven 2.3-liter EcoBoost provides a torque target on par with competing V6 engines, but with the efficiency of a four-cylinder," Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's executive vice president for product development and purchasing, said when introducing the new truck. "When you pair that with its 10-speed transmission, you've got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment."

Ford is clearly pushing the off-road-readiness of the new Ranger, hoping it will appeal to the young and adventurous
Ford is clearly pushing the off-road-readiness of the new Ranger, hoping it will appeal to the young and adventurous

The Ranger has moved with the times and includes a suite of driver-assistance technologies. Both the XLT and Lariat trim levels come standard with features like lane keeping assist, auto emergency braking, reverse sensing system, and blind spot information system with trailer coverage. The Lariat also includes adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection as standard.

The Ranger has a modern interior complete with an 8-in touchscreen, available Sync 3 infotainment system, and dual LCD productivity screens in the instrument cluster for display of vehicle, audio and navigation information. The available FordPass Connect 4G LTE modem delivers Wi-Fi to up to 10 devices, and an available Bang & Olufsen Play audio system fills the interior with custom-tuned audio.

Inside the new Ford Ranger
Inside the new Ford Ranger

Outside, the Ranger's styling comes in fairly vanilla "pickup truck." Ford has done some raking on the front-end and windshield, differentiating the midsize truck from the sturdier, more squared-off looks of its larger pickups. This raking is also designed to improve aerodynamics and cut wind noise. The "Ranger"-stamped tailgate is built to support both cargo and people, and short overhangs help in off-road obstacle clearance.

The Ranger will launch in three trims, the base XL, mid-level XLT and top-end Lariat, along with SuperCab and SuperCrew cab options. The available FX4 Off-Road Package brings a host of off-road-specific upgrades, including the locking rear axle, skid plates, off-road-tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, and a four-mode Terrain Management System similar to the one on the F-150 Raptor. The FX4 package also includes a new Trail Control feature that operates like a low-speed, off-road cruise control, taking over acceleration and braking at each wheel while the driver focuses on steering.

Ford will begin Ranger production in late 2018 at its Michigan Assembly Plant before rolling the truck out in early 2019.

Source: Ford

View gallery - 32 images
4 comments
JasonH
Why do they enter an already crowded mid-sized field rather than creating their own new market buy making a compact truck and have a monopoly for a bit.
Bruce H. Anderson
The big question is.....Can it haul plywood or sheetrock?
petersonmi
Damn. Too bad it looks like a truck version of the Taurus!
Craig Jennings
Ford releases the "ute" the rest of the world loves in USA... (3 years running best selling vehicle in NZ) Comes with the 2.3 ecoboost (which I think would go down well here, or road tax thing is odd) Complaining ensues. Well hopefully you'll not like them and they'll sell the 2.3 here instead to get rid of them :D