Ford announced last year that it was bringing the Ford Ranger back to the US, but now at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, it’s actually showing us the truck. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t look too different from the Ranger model that is already being sold in other markets around the world, although a lot of adjustments have been made to tailor the truck to US buyers.
When themakes it return, it will be available in SuperCab and SuperCrew body styles with light styling revisions. To help toughen up the Ranger’s looks, the front receives different model-specific grilles, a new aluminum hood with dual bulges and a frame-mounted steel bumper. The sides get front quarter badges, fender well molding and bed rail trim. And at the rear, there’s an aluminum tailgate with a spoiler for better aerodynamics and the high-mounted handle borrowed from the F-150.
The Ranger’s interior receives a new steering wheel, shifter and waterproof storage compartments under the rear seats. Being a Ford, Sync 3 handles infotainment duties with either a 3.8-, 4- or 8-inch touchscreen depending on trim level. Now much improved over previous iterations, the infotainment system comes standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa integration. A 4G Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices is also standard, while audiophiles will be able to opt for a B&O Play premium sound system.
On the safety front, automatic emergency braking and a rearview camera will come on all Rangers, while adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with trailer coverage, lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning will all be offered.
With different regulations and customer demands in North America, Ford says theis basically all-new underneath, with a full-boxed frame, specific suspension tuning and Dana axles to deliver what it expects to be best-in-class payload capabilities.
The only confirmed engine at this time is a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder modified for truck duty with a forged crankshaft and connecting rods comparable to the unit available in the Mustang. Ford isn’t releasing output figures at this time, but it’s targeting best-in-class torque among gas four-cylinders. Bolting up to the engine is a 10-speed automatic transmission in two- and four-wheel-drive configurations.
To improve off-road prowess, the Ranger will be available with a four-mode Terrain Management System that adjusts throttle response, transmission gear selection and traction controls for optimal performance on normal roads, mud, sand and looser surfaces like gravel and snow. That system was first seen on the F-150 Raptor. A Trail Control feature will also be offered, which acts like a cruise control system for low-speed motoring over rough terrain.
The 2019 Fordwill arrive at dealers during the first quarter of 2019 and be available in XL, XLT and Lariat trims. That means people interested in the new Ranger are in for a bit of a wait, and will be left to ponder other midsize trucks already in showrooms like the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tacoma.