And so here we are at Cobo Hall in Detroit, where the 2019 Ford Ranger is unveiled about a year before it begins production in North America, as a "lifestyle" truck not meant to capture any would-be full-size pickup buyers who need a work tool. After an eight-year absence from the USA market, Ford decided last year that it could no longer ignore a mid-size pickup segment that was attracting a half million buyers annually. Ford first officially announced the return of the Ranger - along with the Bronco SUV - at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and we'll get our first look at it in person at the 2018 show. While the meaning of that is muddy, it appears the global truck has been updated for these shores. Per the estimated EPA fuel economy rating, Ford says the final figures will be released this spring.
Revealed overnight, the US-market version of the Ranger - a competitor for the Chevrolet Colorado that's also sold here wearing a Holden badge - will exclusively use the turbocharged 2.3-litre Ecoboost petrol engine from the Mustang - performance details are a bit light on the ground at the moment - mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission that includes Ford's very bad gearstick-mounted shifter toggle instead of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Powering the truck is the same 2.3-liter turbocharged direct-injection engine that has already been used in several other Ford vehicles.
Steel bumpers are standard and the tailgate is strong enough to sit on. It has frame-mounted steel front and rear bumpers; the rear bumper has an integrated trailer hitch receiver. It will include FX Off-Road packages, and in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations, the automaker has said. No word on what the bed length is yet. It will sell in the United States in entry-level XL, mid-level XLT and high-level Lariat variants with available Chrome and Sport appearance and FX Off-Road packages, and in SuperCab or SuperCrewcab configurations.
The FX4's Terrain Management System offers four drive modes: normal, grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts, and sand. There's also some new seats and trims, and a tidied up dash layout and controls. Trail Control takes over acceleration and braking which helps send power and braking to each individual wheel to allow drivers to focus on steering along the course. An electronically-locking rear differential will be available as an option, and offered as standard on the FX2 and FX4 off-road models.
Rear- and four-wheel drive with low-range gearing will be offered. The five-seater features waterproof under-seat storage bins. Available SYNC 3 features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Ford+Alexapersonal assistant functionality and optional navigation, Ford said. Audiophiles will be able to order a Bang & Olufsen Play audio system. The Ranger XLT and Lariat trims will come standard with lane departure warning and lane-keep assist.
The new Ranger will offer almost as many electronic safety systems as the rest of the Ford lineup, including standard forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Stay tuned for more specifications.