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One in three compact-class pickups sold last year was a Ford Ranger. More than 5 million Rangers have been built since the first one rolled out in 1982. A rigid new chassis design in 1998 resulted in agile handling and a smooth ride.
This year, fresh styling, new engines and redesigned components make the 2001 Ranger stronger, more practical, more convenient and more comfortable than last year.
A 4.0-liter single-cam V6 engine built by Ford in Germany caps the power chart for the Ranger lineup. This new option quickens acceleration performance and strengthens the Ranger's trailer-towing ability. An increase of 47 horsepower over last year's most powerful Ranger. It leaps off the line and runs quickly to speed, while also producing strong torque for off-road work in four-wheel-drive.
The new V6 teams with either a heavy-duty five-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift logic through electronic controls. In effect, the automatic adds another gear between first and second gears in a four-speed automatic. This produces closer gear ratios for better throttle response when accelerating, towing a trailer or driving off road. A high-gear lockout switch on the tip of the shift lever enables a driver to kick up or down a gear with the tap of a finger.
We drove a Ranger SuperCab 4x4 with the 4.0-liter V6 and optional five-speed automatic through Nevada deserts on pavement and dirt. Offering the best power in its class, the Ranger delivered no-fear passing, even in Nevada's thin-air altitude. It could scamper up mountain grades or effortlessly pass a line of freight haulers.
The Ranger handled road bumps and curve sets with confident dexterity. Its rigid ladder-like chassis, with full box bracing of the front section to stiffen it further, combines with an independent front wishbone suspension system to produce smooth ride sensations.
At the same time, it offers aggressive performance off the pavement, as we proved on a primitive track laced with lumps and rocks and tire-sucking mud pits. A high ground clearance enables the Ranger to clear ruts and bumps easily. And when it doesn't, skid plates shield the transfer case and fuel tank from damage. A pulse vacuum hub-lock device sets front hubs quickly for push-button shifting into four-wheel-drive mode, and it engages while moving at speeds as high as 80 mph. Ford's part-time four-wheel-drive system also adds a rotary dial on the dashboard for seamless switching from rear two-wheel to four-wheel high gear or further down to four-wheel low for serious off-road maneuvers.
With fresh exterior styling and innovative add-on equipment like a cargo bed extender and the two-flap lockable tonneau lid, Ford's Ranger pickup for 2001 makes America's best-selling compact truck even more attractive and practical.
The option of a new 207-horsepower V6 engine upgrade propels Ranger to the head of its class.
The Edge brings a sporty trim variation with monochromatic exterior treatment and an easy-to-clean interior.