Ford Ranger debuts in Detroit

Ford Ranger debuts in Detroit

Although long available in other countries, the Ranger has been absent from North America in both sales and production since 2011. Ford pulled the Ranger from the US market seven years ago so the company could focus on its full-size F-Series pickup.

This is it: one of the most iconic nameplates in trucks has returned to the U.S., with the covers taken off the 2019 Ford Ranger at the Detroit Auto Show today.

Production of the mid-size truck, which can seat up to five people, will begin later this year, according to the automaker. That should be quite formidable enough to take the fight to the Chevrolet Colorado.

While Ford's U.S. PR declined to provide detailed specifications at an embargoed preview, the United Kingdom version of the Ranger is 211 inches long, on a 126.8-inch wheelbase, and 71-72 inches tall. Designed originally in Australia, it's now become a truly global vehicle with its arrival in North America. The the Ranger-stamped tailgate and steel front bumper both add visual strength to the truck, as do the optional LED headlights and taillamps, but aesthetic-first thinking did not prevail here. Looking at the new truck, however, it's not all that apparent what's changed to accommodate USA concerns.

Most of the exterior tweaks are minor: The grilles, head- and taillights, and hood all differ from the global version. The trucks will have SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations - which means the new Ranger will have an available four-door configuration. In a reversal of the Mulally-era One Ford touted for the '12 Focus, however, the Blue Oval truck people say the Ranger has been heavily redesigned for the US market, and has its own, unique box-frame construction.

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Seemingly targeted for the enthusiasts who now live in captivity in suburban wastelands, the Sport trim was dropped to make way for the ST model, which will feature specific styling, a sport suspension, and performance tuning. It includes off-road tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, a frame-mounted heavy-gauge bash plate, and frame-mounted skid plates. It's the inevitable 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost four cylinder engine.

The first-ever diesel engine offered for the F-150 comes as a 3.0-liter Powerstroke with a 10-speed automatic transmission. An electronically-locking rear differential will be available as an option, and offered as standard on the FX2 and FX4 off-road models. It's been programmed with four modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Rut, and Sand.

The 2019 Ranger Lariat also throws in pre-collision assistance with pedestrian detection, together with adaptive cruise control. A locking rear differential and a new fully boxed frame will be unique to the North American model. Arriving in showrooms later this summer, Ford introduced the refreshed 2019 Edge but with an all-new twist in the racing-inspired Edge ST.

"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 dash and doors are hard plastic in the XL and XLT, with the Lariat getting a padded, stitched faux-leather dash topper. SYNC 3 with its 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto is optional, while the driver gets dual-LCD info screens that show things like real-time vehicle information, navigation, and audio settings. Two interior colors are available as well: Ebony and Medium Ash. (We weren't allowed to climb inside, as the models on display are preproduction.) There's waterproof storage under the second-row seating. Additionally, as part of the FTX off-road package will be a new-to-Ford trail control system which will essentially act like low-speed cruise control on non-asphalt surfaces. MacLeod used to drive an F-150 and now he drives a GMC Yukon SUV, but he prefers Ford trucks and will buy a Ranger if he likes what he sees. Ford reports that it is capable of 11,400 pounds of towing, a 2,020 payload, and making 250 horsepower and 440-pounds of torque. This data will come closer to the truck's official launch, which is still a year away.

It looks very much like the same Ford Ranger that has been on-sale in Europe and other foreign markets in that interim.

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