Ford reveals the all-new Ranger today at the North American International Auto Show, a year ahead of putting the pickup on sale in early 2019 alongside America's best-selling vehicle, the F-Series pickup.
Production of the mid-size truck, which can seat up to five people, will begin later this year, according to the automaker.
The company is leaning on its reputation for trucks for the North American relaunch of a truck it once sold hundreds of thousands of. That is not the case. There's no word yet on a Raptor version of the Ranger for North America.
It's a real truck. Around back, the Ranger nameplate is stamped boldly into the tailgate, and there's a steel bumper with an available integrated trailer hitch. Power steering will be electronically-assisted. That's proven by the fact that both the front and rear bumpers are bolted directly to the frame. Two cab and bed options are available, but only one wheelbase is offered. It will include FX Off-Road packages, and in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations, the automaker has said. Ford sold almost 900,000 F-Series trucks a year ago.
The traditional argument against mid-size pickups is that they're not much cheaper than fullsize trucks, which offer more capability. It will play catch-up to Chevy and GMC which have capitalized on a with their successful Colorado and Canyon models. "The Ranger will not just carry their adventure gear".
From a feature perspective, Ford is throwing most of its latest gear on the Ranger. The lack of a stripper model with plastic wheel well trim pieces leads us to believe that higher-volume, lower-profit fleet sales/work truck sales aren't as high of a priority. It will be paired with the company's new 10-speed automatic transmission, and Ford claims that will help it deliver 4-cylinder fuel economy. The crank and rods are forged steel. Four-wheel-drive models will come with low-range gearing. 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.
Ford didn't skimp on the on-road tech, either. You want the off-road packs, trust us.
In addition, the FX4 also gets Ford's brand-new Trail Control system, which allows the driver to set a speed between 1 and 20 miles per hour that the truck will automatically maintain on the trail, taking care of the throttle and braking on its own. Think of this as cruise-control blended with a hill-descent control system. An off-road drive assist technology maintains speed as low as 1 miles per hour and as high as 20 miles per hour, in any transfer-case setting. Where it differs from a cruise control is that pressing the brake while it's activated doesn't deactivate it but rather, brings the cruise speed down to whatever the driver slows to.
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.
Ford's Blind Spot Information System-standard on XLT and Lariat-will cover trailers. Horizontal elements within the dashboard help to accentuate the width of the interior. The FX2 variant gets all of the above, but only two powered wheels. While the new truck is similar to the Ranger Ford already sells overseas, the company says this one has been designed specifically for North America, down to an EcoBoost engine.