Ford brings back the Ranger

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Ford Motor Co. returned to the midsize pickup truck market with the 2019 Ford Ranger, bringing back the vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit following an eight year absence from the US market.

North America welcomes back the Ford Ranger after it stopped producing the ute in its last generation eight years ago.

The revived Ranger, which will be made in MI and go on sale next year, has a similar architecture to the pickup Ford sells in dozens of markets overseas, but its design and powertrain have been developed specifically for USA buyers. The automaker anticipates the truck will capture customers coming out of cars and SUVs, as the new Ranger is more aimed at weekend warriors who live in cities and spend free time off-roading and camping. "We definitely didn't want it to look like a small F-150", he said.

"This is not about bringing the global Ranger here to the USA and selling it in our dealerships", said Todd Eckert, Ford trucks marketing manager. It is built with a high-strength steel frame backbone and is powered by a 2.3 liter EcoBoost engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The trim options available are the XL, XL Chrome, STX, LT, XLT Chrome, XLT Sport, Lariat, Lariat Chrome and Lariat Sport.

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"Ranger has always held a special place in the hearts of truck fans", added Thai-Tang. In addition, there was only so much that Ford could do when it came to outfitting the truck with enough tech to meet more stringent safety and emissions standards. “When you pair that with its 10-speedtransmission, youve got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment.”. It includes four distinct drive modes – normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand. With a turbo-4 and a 10-speed, you can bet that fuel economy will also be at or near the top of the class.

The OEM noted that the Ranger will incorporate a range of driver-assist, passenger convenience, and connectivity technologies. The Ranger XLT and Lariat trims will come standard with lane departure warning and lane-keep assist. The Trail Control feature can also be purchased and it will act as cruise control system. Interestingly, the new Ranger will be available in just a single engine/powertrain combination, which is quite odd for a pickup truck.

Inside, the cabin appears fairly unchanged, with the same 8.0-inch Sync3 infotainment and dual-digital TFT driver instrument panel shown, but Amazon's Alexa personal assistant and 4G LTE for 10-spot WiFi will be offered in USA models.

Our big question is whether, as with the "other" Ranger, there'll be a Ranger Raptor version for the US.