Close examination will reveal miniscule variances between the '19 Ranger for the USA market and the ones Ford sells globally, and those tiny differences speak volumes about the kind of quality the Dearborn automaker is building into its new midsize truck.
Earlier in the week, Ford introduced its best-selling F-150 truck with an optional 3.0-liter diesel Power Stroke engine that will come with an EPA-estimated 30 mpg later this year.
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.
Ford executives said the North American Ranger will share engineering and some design elements with a work-oriented pickup the company builds and sells in Southeast Asia and other markets.
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It's a real truck. It features a fully-boxed, high-strength steel frame with new hardware and six high-strength crossmembers.
The Ranger's suspension is a dual A-arm with coil springs in front with a solid Dana rear axle with leaf springs in back. 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. In an attempt to snag some of the glory, Ford has crafted a midsize truck using a tried and true formula: F-150. The latest Ranger was launched in the United Kingdom in 2012 and facelifted past year. There was much talk about the Ranger "not just carrying your adventure gear, but becoming a part of it".
"We see more of an opportunity that didn't exist five years ago", Ford truck marketing manager Todd Eckert said.
Inside, the steering wheel and shifter have been redesigned from foreign-market models. The crank and rods are forged steel. The new Selectshift 10-speed automatic is standard.
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The Ranger's front fascia is dominated by a relatively small grille which can be flanked by optional LED headlights. You want the off-road packs, trust us.
An electronic Terrain Management System adjusts the drivetrain to any type of surface or condition. It's been programmed with four modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Rut, and Sand. The truck will also have an FX4 Off-Road Package.
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. Think of it like cruise control, but for off-road driving. Trail Control is like low-speed cruise control for acceleration and braking. The onboard modem will give owners the power to access their Rangers remotely via the FordPass smartphone app, and at the same time, provide a mobile WiFi hotspot for up to ten devices.
On the safety front, automatic emergency braking is available, and XLT and Lariat trims come standard with lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, a reverse sensing system, and blind-spot warning with trailer coverage. 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.
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Missing from Ford's information about the new 2019 Ranger are numbers - any of them. 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. That'll include off-road-tuned shocks and all-terrain tires, together with a heavy-gauge steel front bash late and skid plates both mounted to the frame, and FX4 badging. The FX2 variant gets all of the above, but only two powered wheels.