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. And so here we are at Cobo Hall in Detroit, where the 2019 Ford Ranger is unveiled about a year before it begins production in North America, as a "lifestyle" truck not meant to capture any would-be full-size pickup buyers who need a work tool.
No changes have been made to the Ranger's design, but it features a bespoke chassis set-up to cater to United States tasted and uses Ford's 2.3-litre Ecoboost petrol engine, as opposed to one of the diesel units offered in the UK.
"Ranger has always held a special place in the hearts of truck fans", said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's executive vice president of product development and purchasing. Ranger appears to be sharing most of its exterior with the global model, but the front clip design does offer a unique twist that ties the truck to the 2018 F-150.
Three different trim levels will be available - XL, XLT, and Lariat - and they will be joined by Chrome and Sport appearance packages.
Built Ford Tough is engineered in Ranger's DNA - from its high-strength steel frame backbone to its frame-mounted steel front and rear bumpers.
Indeed, the original Ranger built its loyal following by virtue of its rugged talents, and so that's what Ford is focusing on this time around, too.
Even its design is tough. There are short overhangs to further enhance performance by providing better clearance for off-roading and maneuvering around obstacles.
From the rear, the Ranger nameplate stamped in the tailgate conveys strength, and the tailgate itself is created to handle people and cargo.
The tailgate is designed for both cargo and people, with an optional integrated trailer hitch.
Inside, the 2019 Ranger features an 8-inch touch screen for the available SYNC 3 system, while the instrument cluster features dual LCD productivity screens for real-time vehicle, navigation and audio information. No power or towing load numbers yet - we'll have to wait a little closer to launch for those - but Ford is promising torque on a par with a V6 but with the efficiency of a four-cylinder.
"When you pair that with its 10-speed transmission, you've got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment". "The all-new Ranger is designed for today's midsize truck buyer, delivering even more utility, capability and technology for those who blend city living with more off-the-grid adventures on weekends".
To give customers a great all-terrain driving experience, Ranger's FX4 Off-Road Package features an innovative Terrain Management System similar to the F-150 Raptor's. It features four drive modes of normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand.
An electronic Terrain Management System adjusts the drivetrain to any type of surface or condition. By fine tuning the throttle, transmission, and traction control, the TMS enables drivers to milk the most out of the Dana Trac-Lok differentials and chunky off-road tires to truly enjoy the outdoors. Intended for low-speed and tricky terrain, it handles acceleration and braking for each wheel individually, leaving the driver to focus on steering.
The cabin and dashboard will look nothing like the Ranger you drove in high school. Ford's Smart Trailer Tow connector can warn about mis-connected trailer links.
On the safety front, automatic emergency braking is available, and XLT and Lariat trims come standard with lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, a reverse sensing system, and blind-spot warning with trailer coverage. An available FordPass™ Connect 4G LTE modem provides Wi-Fi access for up to 10 devices. Technophobes can opt out by selectively not using the system, but on opposite day they can play with onboard WiFi, AC power outlets and USB charging, an optional B&O sound system, and Amazon Alexa integration.
The Ranger will be available in SuperCrew (crew cab) and SuperCab (extended cab) variants.
Additional features include optional LED headlamps and taillamps. Ford hasn't shared the bed length. Truck fans have wanted that truck to come to the US for a long time and now they will get their wish, though Ford is doing them one better.
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