Removed from the U.S. market nearly seven years ago, Ford Motor Co. is bringing back its Ranger midsize pickup for the 2019 model year – a light truck no-doubt geared to compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
Revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, the 2019 will go into production at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant later this year.
One reason Ford originally discontinued Ranger production and sales in the U.S. because the OEM believed the lightweight aluminum structure of its F-150 – completely redesigned for the 2015 model year – would make that full-size model more attractive to midsize pickup buyers.
Yet Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s executive vice president for product development and purchasing, said in a statement that “customer demand is growing” for midsize pickup trucks, pointing out that U.S. sales of midsize pickups are up 83% since 2014.
Thus Ford is bringing back the Ranger – and with a lot of options, too.
The OEM said the Ranger will come in entry-level XL, mid-level XLT and high-level Lariat trim series with available Chrome and Sport appearance and FX Off-Road packages, and in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations.
The truck will also feature a 16-valve designed 2.3-liter gasoline-fired EcoBoost engine equipped with twin-scroll turbocharger, a forged-steel crankshaft and connecting rods, plus chain-driven dual overhead cams.
“The proven 2.3-liter EcoBoost provides a torque target on par with competing V6 engines, but with the efficiency of a four-cylinder,” said Thai-Tang. “When you pair that with our 10-speed transmission, you’ve got one of the most versatile, powerful, and efficient powertrains in the segment.”
The OEM noted that the Ranger will incorporate a range of driver-assist, passenger convenience, and connectivity technologies.
Ford said Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning, a Reverse Sensing System and Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage will be standard features on Ranger XLT and Lariat trim levels.
Additional driver-assist technologies standard on Ranger pickups spec’d with the Lariat trim level include Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Ford also noted additional optional features include LED [light emitting diode] head lamps and tail lamps, plus “puddle lamps” and related lighting for the cargo bed.
Inside, the Ranger will offer room for up to five people, their gear, and accessories, while featuring a “center stack” includes an 8-in. touch screen for the available SYNC 3 system. The instrument cluster will also feature dual liquid crystal display (LCD) productivity screens for real-time vehicle, navigation and audio information, the OEM noted.
The optional SYNC 3 system will also sport Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Ford+Alexa personal assistant functionality and optional navigation. An available FordPass Connect 4G LTE modem provides Wi-Fi access for up to 10 devices, while the OEM said available AC power outlets on the Ranger will allow for charging of laptops and USB outlets provide more options for passengers to connect.