Ford Ranger debuts in Detroit

Ford Ranger debuts in Detroit

Now Ford has brought the 2019 Ranger to the 2018 NAIAS, intending to sell it next year.

If you've spent any time outside the US or Canada in the last decade, you've likely seen a new Ranger - it's the best-selling pickup in Europe. That is not the case.

It's a real truck.

What differentiates the North American Ranger from the global model is the bumpers: Ours are steel and are mounted directly to the frame for superior durability and crashworthiness. Each version has the same wheelbase, meaning SuperCab Rangers will have a longer bed. The tailgate, front fenders, and hood are all aluminum, in keeping with one of the F-Series major brand identifiers. The 4WD Ranger will have 2-high, 4-high, and 4-low as standard.

Ford isn't expecting the new truck to steal sales from the F-Series, the franchise player that generates most company profits.

Missing from Ford's information about the new 2019 Ranger are numbers - any of them. Unlike Rangers found in, say, Australia, ours gets a more muscular body courtesy of a raised belt line that compliments a raked grille and windshield to combine strength with the logical art of aerodynamics.

Fans of smaller pickup trucks, rejoice - the Ford Ranger is back!

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Inside, the steering wheel and shifter have been redesigned from foreign-market models.

So are the drivetrains, including a 10-speed automatic transmission and 2.3L Ecoboost four-cylinder gasoline engine. The crank and rods are forged steel. The new Selectshift 10-speed automatic is standard.

Running gear will include sh8ft on the fly four-wheel drive, a locking electronic differential and Dana axles. You want the off-road packs, trust us. It will also have a computerized "Terrain Management System" with settings for different sorts of on-road and off-road surfaces. Grass/gravel/snow simply numbs throttle response. Those last two will automatically engage 4-High, but Mud/Ruts engages maximum power to all four wheels while Sand mode allows for the most slip before engaging the traction control system. Think of this as cruise-control blended with a hill-descent control system.

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. Where it differs from a cruise control is that pressing the brake while it's activated doesn't deactivate it but rather, brings the cruise speed down to whatever the driver slows to. FordPass Connect will give the Ranger Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities, ensuring that new adventurous owners can post their adventurous lifestyles to their favorite social media outlets, making the rest of our life feel uninteresting and void of Ranger-worthy adventure. 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. And while Ford left it unsaid, the new Ranger will be better-suited than the F-150 for all the car-sharing programs we're likely to see in the '20s. Horizontal elements within the dashboard help to accentuate the width of the interior. The second row in the SuperCrew also features underseat storage that's waterproof.

For those intent on reaching that goal, Ford marries the capable Ranger with its FX4 Off-Road package that adds off-road tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, a heavy-gauge steel front bash plate and skid plates-both mounted to the frame, and the Ford Truck division's Terrain Management System. The FX2 variant gets all of the above, but only two powered wheels.

Even though it's clearly related to the model that's been on sale outside the United States, Ford says that the 2019 Ranger has been designed specifically for the the United States.

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