Visitors to the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, were treated to a procession of unveiled new models from manufacturers across the globe, and the trend was clear: Trucks are taking over the automobile industry. It was clear indisputable as each brand drew back the curtain on their newest offerings that trucks would be the star of the show this year. While there are strong choices to be had from every major truckmaker in 2019, in Detroit Ford’s star shone brightest, with the 2019 comeback of the compact Ford Ranger pickup as the leader of the pack. While the Ranger’s been off the market in America for six years, it’s continued to be available to international drivers, and Ford’s design team adapted that truck’s chassis design to American predilections, creating the streamlined, solid 2019 Ford Ranger made of high-strength Ford steel. The resurrection of Ford’s popular small-truck option of the Ranger is a rugged addition to the midsize category with plenty of options drivers can customize to tailor their truck to what its daily routine will look like.
The Ranger is built Ford tough to get the job done.
What really matters in a Ford truck is what’s under the hood, and the 2019 Ranger puts its best face forward in this area. The Ranger shares its direct-injected 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine (with twin-scroll turbocharger) with such high performers as the Mustang GT and Ford Focus RS. The transmission is a 10-speed automatic offering three overdrive gears with
No aluminum body here: The Ranger is built on a fully boxed, high-strength steel frame with six cross members, and the sturdy rear axle is flanked by traditional leaf springs and shock absorbers. It also boasts a double-A-arm front suspension and monotube front dampers. Bumpers are solid, frame-mounted steel with steel base plates and tow hooks.
The Ranger tests in durability to the same standards as the F-Series. Engineers expect the 2019 Ranger to premier with a best-in-class payload.
Some drivers are looking for options to keep the family entertained on those long, boring stretches of hypnotic highway during family road trips. Some are more interested in technology that can make their ride smoother, navigation more intuitive, and travel safer. And a select few are looking for cutting-edge integration with their personal entertainment gadgets for a seamless transition from sidewalk to street. Whichever driver you are, the Ranger has you covered. The main face of Ford’s technology is its eight-inch SYNC®3 touchscreen with voice commands, which lets you easily access some of your Ranger’s most-used features.
Ranger drivers get a full-fledged Ford Sync 3 system, which meshes flawlessly with both Apple and Android. The Ford+Alexa feature is a personal assistant that lets users check in with home systems or get on-the-spot navigation. And with FordPass Connect’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, the Ranger can accommodate up to 10 devices. That means no passenger will be left unable to access their tech on a long trip. Of course, there’s charging for smartphones and AC laptops, too, to keep your gadgets powered for the long haul.
The Ranger’s safety features won’t let you down, either, with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist and lane departure warning, and a Blind Spot Information System powerful enough to handle navigation with a trailer on the XLT and Lariat models. Whether it’s moving day or you’re pulling a kayak to the gorge, just tell the system the length of your trailer for customized feedback. (Of course, power steering is electronically assisted.) The Lariat also offers adaptive cruise control and pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection.
Drivers who choose the 2019 Ford Ranger get to select between two body styles: extended and crew. The SuperCab will have rear demidoors to let passengers into the back, or there’s the fully four-door SuperCrew. No cramped standard cabs here. Drivers of the SuperCab get the longer six-foot bed, while SuperCrew owners get the storage of a five-foot bed. There’s also the choice between four-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. Those who choose the four-wheel drive also get a two-speed transfer case that allows them to shift on a dime from 2-Hi to 4-Hi.
The Ranger comes standard with a DANA Trac-lok rear differential as well as open-front diff, but drivers get the options of an FX4 or FX2 off-road package, either of which will up the ante to a DANA electronic locking rear diff. The off-road packages add to the truck’s ground clearance as well as giving drivers the bonus options of specialty off-road tires, standard Hill Control, and frame-mounted skid plates. The FX4 package also comes along with a steel front bash plate and off-road-tuned shocks and suspension. Even if you don’t go for FX4, you can still choose a two-speed transfer case and electronic locking rear differential. FX2 gets all the above options with two fewer powered wheels.
Those who choose FX4 also take advantage of a Terrain Management System first introduced to the market in the F-150 Raptor. The system is suited for mud and ruts (numbs throttle response and puts drivetrain in 4-Hi), sand (activates 4-Hi, sends transmission to lowest gear, and lets wheels slip a bit), and grass, gravel, or snow (numbs throttle response). Off-roaders also opt in to the Ford-developed Trail Control feature, a low-speed cruising option that replaces hill control to let them focus on steering instead of speed maintenance. Cruising speed can be set as low as one mile per hour for rock-crawling expeditions, and it functions fluidly with steering-wheel controls or can be set by braking. The Ford Trail Control feature is the only one on the market that works in any mode and with any transfer setting.
While the new Ranger is based on the international offering, with every panel open to tweaking from its 2012 counterpart, it’s by no means identical to either. In fact, the 2019 Ranger is only similar when it comes to the dimensions. The Ranger has been redesigned for the American market with a tougher, more aggressive look and presence that’s in line with the F-150 family, the only truck that makes the Ranger look midsize. It uses all North American parts and will be assembled in the Michigan plant, though design and engineering are Australian. Welcome to America, Ranger; this truck should get a warm welcome, as it’s already the second-best-selling truck outside the U.S, and midsize trucks are up 83% in sales since 2014.
The customization options don’t end when it comes to driver safety and handling accessories or technology features. There are plenty of ways to tailor your truck until it looks just like you want. There are four trim options: STL, XL, XLT, and Lariat, and the Ranger offers varying grilles along with the XL, XLT, and Lariat options. Buyers also get to choose between the Chrome Appearance Package and Sport Appearance Package. There are eight new wheel choices, some of which share a family resemblance with the F-150, and eight colors to choose from. Interiors come in either ebony or medium ash.