- The new Ranger is Ford's entry into the revived mid-size pickup market.
- The former generation was dropped in 2011, and fans have been wanting it back in the US ever since.
- The new Ranger is stylish, rugged, a high-tech.
Say hello to the all-new Ford Ranger pickup.
Ford unveiled the truck on Sunday, just as the 2018 Detroit auto show was kicking off. To say that this thing was hotly anticipated is an understatement. Perhaps the only other new product that has gotten Ford fans as excited in recent years is the soon-to-arrive, all-new Bronco SUV.
The Ranger is Ford's bid to enter the revived compact pickup game, taking on the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, and Honda Ridgeline. The segment has come back strong, but Ford dropped the previous generation of the Ranger back in 2011.
The carmaker announced the new pickup at the Detroit auto show last year and on Sunday pulled the cover off the production vehicle, which will go on sale later in 2018 for the 2019 model year. Ford didn't announce pricing, but we can assume it will be directly competitive with the Colorado, which starts at about $20,000.
"Ranger has always held a special place in the hearts of truck fans," Ford vice-president Hau Thai-Tang said in a statement.
"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."
Small pickups are big
The compact segment is really a mid-size segment, as the new generation of smaller pickups aren't as downsized as their predecessors, such as the Ranger and Mazda B-Series vehicles that Ford and former partner Mazda discontinued in the US but continued to sell in other markets.
The new Ranger will be powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine (horsepower wasn't shared when the vehicle was revealed) and come with a ten-speed automatic transmission, a combination that ought to delivery appealing oomph along with good fuel economy.
The frame, according to Ford, is steel (and the all-new platform will also undergird the Bronco). Given that the carmaker has made a big switch to aluminum for its bestselling full-size F-150 and larger Super Duty pickups, there was plenty of speculation that the Ranger would be similarly engineered. We'll have to wait until we actually get to Detroit and can ask around about what metals the Ranger is made of.
Trim levels will consist of an "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," Ford said.
The FX package is particularly interesting: Ford based the offroad system on its bonkers F-150 Raptor high-performance pickup. (The pickup-truck world is already wondering if the Ranger will get the Ford Performance treatment and join the Raptor in the family as its little brother.)
Not shortchanging buyers on premium features or tech
In keeping with a trend, the Ranger won't skip on premium features or technology.
"Ranger incorporates smart driver-assist, passenger convenience and connectivity technologies," Ford said.
"Advanced driver-assist technologies include standard Automatic Emergency Braking, while Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning, a Reverse Sensing System and class-exclusive Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage are standard on XLT and Lariat trim levels."
Lariat trim trucks will "include Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control," and the Ranger will be available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through the Sync 3 infotainment system, which will also provide Amazon Alexa integration and a 4G LTE wifi hotspot supporting up to ten devices. Audiophile truckers can also opt for a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system.
The design of the Ranger is styling and aggressive: a big-looking pickup in smaller package. Coolest element? The "Ranger" names stamped in large letters on the tailgate.
The year ahead will be a big one for pickups as a true truck war breaks out. The new Chevy Silverado will take in the mighty Ford F-150, and now the Colorado will have its hands full with the new Ranger.
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