Ford Ranger debuts in Detroit

Ford Ranger debuts in Detroit

Ford Ranger debuts in Detroit

Ford Motor Co on Sunday will officially take the wraps off its long-awaited Ranger midsize pickup truck, a year ahead of its arrival in showrooms, as rivals consolidate positions in a segment Detroit automakers once gave up for dead. With a recent resurge in popularity for compact pickup trucks such as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the Toyota Tacoma and the Honda Ridgeline, there's at last room again for a baby Ford truck.

It's that Ranger that served as the basis for the new one coming to USA showrooms late this year.

The 2019 Ranger remains a traditional body-on-frame pickup design. In an attempt to snag some of the glory, Ford has crafted a midsize truck using a tried and true formula: F-150.

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.

"Ranger has always held a special place in the hearts of truck fans", said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford executive vice president, product development and purchasing. "The all-new Ranger is designed for today's midsize truck buyer, delivering even more utility, capability and technology for those who blend city living with more off-the-grid adventures on weekends".

The company said at last year's North American International Auto Show that there's huge consumer demand for the truck.

Ford is hoping to seize on the fact that sales of midsize trucks are up 83 percent since 2014, largely to the credit of General Motors' reentry into what was a dying market segment back in 2015.

Analysts have said Ford might cut into F-150 sales by releasing the Ranger in the US, but Ford executives have said F-150 shoppers are typically completely different from those who'd look to buy a Ranger.

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The Ranger will come in three trims - entry-level XL, mid-level XLT and premium Lariat - with optional Chrome and Sport appearance and FX Off-Road packages, and in SuperCab extended cab or SuperCrew 4-door configurations.

Fully reengineered for the United States, Ranger will be built in MI with a 2.3-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic transmission.

EPA fuel economy numbers for the 2019 Ford Ranger won't be published until shortly before it goes on sale early next year. It comes in both 2-and 4-wheel drive. The steel front and rear bumpers are mounted to its frame, while the high belt line, raked grille and windshield, and short overhangs both look suitably purposeful while helping with things like clearing obstacles. The truck was designed with an athletic look in mind, which truck buyers favor.

In addition to the Terrain Management tech, a system Ford calls Trail Control will debut on Rangers outfitted with the FX4 Off-Road package. The FX4 trim features off-road tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, a frame-mounted heavy-gauge steel front bash plate, frame-mounted skid plates and FX4 badging. Automatic Emergency Braking is standard, while lane keeping assistance and departure warnings, a reverse sensing system, and blind-spot warnings with trailer coverage are standard once you get to XLT and Lariat trim.

Ranger incorporates smart driver-assist, passenger convenience and connectivity technologies.

Interior changes for North America include a revised steering wheel, shifter and controls along with different trim colors and available Sync3 connectivity. The center stack includes an 8-inch touch-screen system. Truck fans have wanted that truck to come to the USA for a long time and now they will get their wish, though Ford is doing them one better. Sales peaked in 1999 at around 350,000 but dropped steadily until its final year in 2011, when Ford sold 70,832.

Production of the 2019 Ranger begins late this year at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant. This year, it will replace the Focus and the C-Max there. Ford Focus production will move from MI to China.

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