Ford Ranger Returns To Challenge Mid-Size Truck Segment

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Automotive Editor

Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia, but now calls Detroit home. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new food, wrenching on his car, and watching movies.


, Automotive Editor - January 17, 2018

Towards the end of 2011, Ford discontinued the Ranger, claiming that sales weren’t good enough to keep the nameplate going. Last year, the American automaker stated that the Ranger would make a comeback for the US market and Ford wasn’t joking. The 2019 Ford Ranger made its debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show over the weekend and is the automaker’s entry into the booming mid-size truck segment.

While the pickup truck looks identical to the Ranger that’s sold globally, Ford has made some changes to the design, interior, and powertrain to woo American drivers. From the outside, the Ranger is easily recognizable as a Ford. The grille, depending on trim, has two large horizontal bars, the automaker’s trapezoidal vents are on top of the front fenders, and the chiseled aluminum hood mimics the larger Ford F-150. The tailgate is also made out of aluminum and has the word “Ranger” stamped onto it.

The handsome design also has regular cues that pickup trucks are known for, including short overhangs on both ends, which should help the vehicle traverse rough terrain. Available body styles on the Ranger include the SuperCab – that has half-sized rear doors – and SuperCrew – full-size rear doors.

Underneath the body sits a high-strength steel frame and steel bumpers at the front and back, as well. Power comes from a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that’s paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Power output for the engine hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the same engine makes 280 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque in the Ford Explorer. Both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive drivetrains will be available for the Ranger, and both options come with Dana Trac-Lok differentials. An electronic-locking rear differential is also available.

While rumors and spy shots of a Ranger Raptor have hit the web, the pickup truck with the FX4 Off-Road Package is the most off-roading oriented model at the moment. With off-road-tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, a front skid plate that’s mounted onto the frame, and a steel front bash plate, the Ranger FX4 definitely looks like the part.

2019 Ford Ranger

Opting for the Off-Road Package, though, brings a Terrain Management System, like the one on the F-150 Raptor, to the truck. The Ranger’s system has four modes: normal, sand, mud and ruts, along with one for grass, gravel, and snow. The system alters the pickup’s throttle response, transmission gearing, and other controls to ensure the Ranger has the right amount of performance and traction to get through an obstacle.

Also included with the package is the automaker’s all-new Trail Control system, which is essentially cruise control for off-roading. The system handles braking and accelerating for each individual wheel, allowing the driver to focus on steering. While other trims can get an electronic-locking rear differential as an option, the FX4 Off-Road package adds the feature as standard.

Ford appears to have taken a utilitarian route with the interior of the model, but the American variant gets an upgraded shifter, steering wheel, and waterproof storage compartments located underneath the rear seats over its global counterpart. Ford will offer three touchscreens in 3.8-, four-, or eight-inch setups. Ford’s Sync 3 handles the infotainment duties, with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa integration coming as standard. A 4G wifi hotspot is available, as is a premium B&O Play audio system.

The Ranger has a healthy list of standard safety features, including Automatic Emergency Braking, while moving up to a XLT or Lariat trim brings Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, a Reverse Sensing System, and a Blind Spot Information system. Adaptive Cruise Control and Pedestrian Detection are available on the Lariat.

The 2019 Ford Ranger will arrive in dealerships in early 2019 in three trims: XL, XLT, and Lariat. With another year of waiting in store before the pick goes on sale, we’re sure Ford will provide all of the specs, including the truck’s price, at a later date.

Consumers not interested in waiting for the Ranger to go on sale have a lot of existing options to choose from in the mid-size pickup segment, including the Toyota Tacoma, Honda Ridgeline, Chevrolet Colorado, and GMC Canyon.

, Automotive Editor

Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia, but now calls Detroit home. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new food, wrenching on his car, and watching movies.