All-new Ford Ranger debuts

All-new Ford Ranger debuts

All-new Ford Ranger debuts

The Ford Ranger is returning to the North American market with a 2.3L EcoBoost engine, 10-speed automatic transmission, and a suite of Ford's latest technologies.

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.

The company is leaning on its reputation for trucks for the North American relaunch of a truck it once sold hundreds of thousands of. That is not the case.

It's a real truck.

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 suspension ought to provide a competent ride, thanks to monotube dampers in all four corners and a short-long arm front suspension design. Two cab and bed options are available, but only one wheelbase is offered. Metal trim pieces over the wheel wells can be color matched or accented with a handsome magnetic grey color.

The company is making no secret of the shared DNA between Ranger and the F-Series models, a homage that is paid even in exterior design.

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Ford has some cool surprises in store this year in Detroit and opens up the show with one of the most anticipated vehicles of the year.

The traditional argument against mid-size pickups is that they're not much cheaper than fullsize trucks, which offer more capability. It will play catch-up to Chevy and GMC which have capitalized on a revived small-pickup market with their successful Colorado and Canyon models.

Expect more details on the new Ranger as it nears its market launch later this year.

Ford+Alexa provides a personal assistant in the truck.

Inside, the steering wheel and shifter have been redesigned from foreign-market models. The crank and rods are forged steel.

That's the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, a turbocharged gas engine with direct fuel injection. Four-wheel-drive models will come with low-range gearing. Power goes through Dana Trac-Lok differentials on both two- and four-wheel drive models. You want the off-road packs, trust us. That trim also comes with a terrain management system similar to that found in the F-150 Raptor. It's been programmed with four modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Rut, and Sand. The Ranger also borrows some of the full-size truck's running gear.

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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. Additionally, as part of the FTX off-road package will be a new-to-Ford trail control system which will essentially act like low-speed cruise control on non-asphalt surfaces. Trail Control will allow the driver to set and maintain a low vehicle speed (1-20 mph) while traveling through less-than flawless trails on the way to the next adventure. Think of it like cruise control, but for off-road driving.

Sync3 is available on the vehicle, as well as available FordPass with a WiFi hotspot.

This pickup will also be safer than your old truck with standard emergency braking across the lineup and standard (on XLT and above) lane keeping, lane departure warning, reverse sensing system and blind spot information.

We've seen spy photos of various versions of the Ranger over the past year, but this is our first chance to see it without any sort of camouflage hiding the details of the design.

The interior is textbook Ford truck, with a smart looking instrument cluster and familiar center stack. (We weren't allowed to climb inside, as the models on display are preproduction.) There's waterproof storage under the second-row seating. The 2019 Ford Ranger will come in XL, XLT and the Lariat trims, which will be available with chrome, sport or the FX Off-Road packages in either SuperCab or SuperCrew cab setups.

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