In a departure from the original Ranger, the 2019 truck will have plenty of driver-assistance tech too.
Ford had sold the earlier iteration of the Ranger in the U.S.in the 1983 to 2012 model years.
M - Ford's mid-size Ranger pickup truck is returning to American dealerships for the 2019 model year - the first time a new Ranger has been sold in North America since 2011.
"Ranger has always held a special place in the hearts of truck fans", said Ford's boss of product development and purchasing, Hau Thai-Tang.
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The ability to use the truck's engineering for more than one vehicle was a major factor in the decision to bring the Ranger back to the United States. Looking at the new truck, however, it's not all that apparent what's changed to accommodate US concerns.
Most of the exterior tweaks are minor: The grilles, head- and taillights, and hood all differ from the global version. It's also outfitted the truck with a rugged steel bumper mounted to the frame.
Ford executives said the North American Ranger will share engineering and some design elements with a work-oriented pickup the company builds and sells in Southeast Asia and other markets. That's an attitude American customers expect from a truck, he said.
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The first-ever diesel engine offered for the F-150 comes as a 3.0-liter Powerstroke with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Trim levels are XL, XLT, STX, and Lariat, with FX4 4×4 and sport and trim packages available, so one can assume it would take Ford making a big dent in the midsize pickup category before it would consider adding different engines, like the F-150's new 3.0L Power Stroke diesel, or King Ranch, and Platinum trim levels. That'll include off-road-tuned shocks and all-terrain tires, together with a heavy-gauge steel front bash late and skid plates both mounted to the frame, and FX4 badging. If you think this combination sounds familiar, it is. A version of the 2.3-liter turbo that's now used in the Ford Explorer is rated at 280 hp and 310 lb-ft. We'll have to wait until we actually get to Detroit and can ask around about what metals the Ranger is made of.
The standard Ranger is rear-wheel drive, but part-time shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive is optional. An electronic locking rear differential is optional, standard on FX2 and FX4 models. It's been programmed with four modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Rut, and Sand. Intended for low-speed and tricky terrain, it handles acceleration and braking for each wheel individually, leaving the driver to focus on steering.
In addition, the FX4 also gets Ford's brand-new Trail Control system, which allows the driver to set a speed between 1 and 20 miles per hour that the truck will automatically maintain on the trail, taking care of the throttle and braking on its own. A locking rear differential and a new fully boxed frame will be unique to the North American model. Two body styles are set to be offered: the SuperCab and the larger SuperCrew. For the Ranger, it's paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission as standard. (We weren't allowed to climb inside, as the models on display are preproduction.) There's waterproof storage under the second-row seating. If you've got muddy or wet gear, tilt the seat bottom up and drop it in the bins. As on the F-150, a blind-spot information system includes trailer coverage. The owner can store three trailer profiles in the system, choosing the length of the trailer and extending the blind spot detection to that desired distance.
Ford didn't reveal towing and payload numbers, but said it's targeting "best in class". No mention of price either. Ford says that the truck will not be in dealer showrooms until early 2019, giving competitors another year to solidify their gains in a class they now have to themselves.
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