The Ford Ranger has been the best-selling compact pickup truck in America for the past nine years. In fact, it's sixth overall on the list of top-selling vehicles in the U.S. for 1995. So, what's in store for '96? The good news is that you'll find the same features and attributes that have made Ranger the truck of choice for a broad range of light pickup owners, a range that includes increasing numbers of women buyers. And the even better news is that you'll find a few additions and upgrades well conceived to keep this vehicle in its current position on the sales charts. The Ranger may have just one name, but it isn't one truck. It's actually 19 when you count up all the choices. There are Regular Cab and SuperCab versions; shortbed (6 ft.) and longbed (7 ft.) models; the choice of 2-wheel drive or 4wd; base and uplevel trim packages (XL, XLT and STX); and the sporty Flareside Splash, with its stepside bed fabricated from composites rather than sheet steel. New this year is a Flareside pickup box option for both the Ranger XL and XLT Regular and SuperCab models, available only with 2wd 4-cyl. models. Depending on the model, Ranger pickups can accommodate anywhere from two to five passengers. It can also handle loads ranging from 1450 to 1650 lbs., and tow trailers weighing from 2000 to 6000 lbs., depending on the powertrain you choose. But in addition to this wide array of style and capability choices, this small pickup has evolved from its early history as a rough and ready mini-hauler to a more versatile and comfortable all-purpose truck with many modern safety features. For instance, the Ranger is the first compact pickup truck to offer an optional passenger airbag to complement its standard driver's airbag. And, like its F-150 big brother, it has an added safety feature. To accommodate a rear-facing child seat, the passenger airbag can be deactivated with a key-operated dashboard switch. Civilization is steadily overtaking the compact pickup class, a trend that's reflected in the Ranger's list of standard and optional features. Standard equipment includes amenities like illuminated entry, tinted glass and a floor console with dual cupholders, while options can add fog lamps, power windows/doors/locks, keyless remote keyless entry and, of course, a variety of sound systems. Obviously, Ford and other truck manufacturers are responding to all the folks who drive pickups primarily because they like the style. Driven primarily as image vehicles, they have to satisfy owners who expect passenger car features and comfort.