But in the United States, demand for mid-sized pick-Ups is growing hugely (over 80 per cent up in the last three years), so the Ford Ranger is heading back in to the U.S. market, and is debuting at the Detroit Motor Show.
The 2018 Detroit Auto Show photo galleries are sponsored by Lexus. It will play catch-up to Chevy and GMC which have capitalized on a with their successful Colorado and Canyon models. Instead, they hope to bring back former customers who have owned Rangers in the past and, perhaps more importantly, newer, more adventurous customers.
Ranger returns! Ford has formally taken the cover off the 2019 Ranger midsize pickup truck. Aiming to take a bite out of the midsize truck market, it's a slice of F-150 ability in a more urban-friendly package.
One could be forgiven for assuming the Ranger would simply be a Euro-Ranger adjusted for North American crash and safety regulations, since it's already a best-selling nameplate in Europe and the second-best selling truck outside of North America. Ford raised President Trump's ire when it announced it was moving Focus production to a new plant, since cancelled, in Mexico.
The company said at last year's North American International Auto Show that there's huge consumer demand for the truck.
It should be noted up front that the new Ranger is most definitely a mid-size pickup, much larger than the old compact Ranger we knew, and it's almost the same size as a mid-1990s Ford F-150.
Similarities to other Ford products is carried on inside Ranger, where the dash panel design is similar to F-150 and the Edge.
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Ford won't say when the facelifted global Ranger is due in SA, but it will surely precede or coincide with the soon-to-be-revealed Raptor version, which is set to go on sale here in 2019. The 2019 Ranger model lineup will consist of XL, XLT and Lariat trims, and Ford will offer Chrome and Sport appearance packages, as well as the FX Off-Road package. Mud/ruts carries with it the throttle numbing, while also throwing the drivetrain into 4-Hi for truck stuff.
Back to the US-spec Ranger that you see here, the biggest mechanical departure from global models is the fitment of a 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbopetrol engine, inherited from the Mustang and mated to a new 10-speed automatic gearbox. There will be both two-wheel- and four-wheel-drive options.
The truck sits on a high-strength steel frame with frame-mounted steel front and rear bumpers; the rear bumper has an integrated trailer hitch receiver. The tailgate is aluminum, with the handle lifted for "usability". The truck was designed with an athletic look in mind, which truck buyers favor.
From the rear, the Ranger nameplate stamped in the tailgate conveys strength, and the tailgate itself is created to handle people and cargo. Ford also prioritized ground clearance for off-roading. 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. The FX4 Off-Road Package provides additional trail capability and includes a terrain management system that offers four distinct driving modes: normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand. There are numerous optional driver-assist features, too.
Interior changes for North America include a revised steering wheel, shifter and controls along with different trim colors and available Sync3 connectivity.
Inside, there's room for five passengers and an 8-inch touchscreen for the available Sync 3 system. One of the casualties was the Ford Ranger, and it slipped into that good night after the 2011 model year.
Ford will build the new '19 Ranger beginning early next year, famously, at its Michigan Assembly Plant in the City of Wayne, where it now produces the Focus and C-Max. To protect precious Kayaks and mini Airstreams, drivers need only go into the instrument cluster and manually input the length of their trailer (33 feet tops) the first time they hook it up.