Ford Ranger Returns To America With A Turbocharged Four-Cylinder Engine
Jan 14 2018 by Joanne Wise
Unlike the more workaday buyer of an F-Series, Ranger owners will use the truck "to enhance their passions - to help get them off the grid", says Todd Eckert, marketing manager-Ford truck group. The latest Ranger was launched in the United Kingdom in 2012 and facelifted previous year.
The new Ranger is based on an global truck that has been available even before the old one went away, but it's been optimized for the North American market.
"Ranger has always held a special place in the hearts of truck fans", said Ford's boss of product development and purchasing, Hau Thai-Tang. That should be quite formidable enough to take the fight to the Chevrolet Colorado. With plants in several locations around the world, it has become something of a global workhorse. Steel bumpers were added in the front and rear to better resemble the F-150, which isn't a big seller outside North America. Looking at the new truck, however, it's not all that apparent what's changed to accommodate US concerns. It will include FX Off-Road packages, and in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations, the automaker has said.
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. Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager, said the exterior, chassis and powertrain were redesigned for the US market. But to meet USA safety standards and customer expectations, the frame was reinforced with high-strength steel. Sport features body-colored trim, while Chrome blings everything out. The FX4 Off-Road Package provides adds off-road-tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, a frame-mounted heavy-gauge steel front bash plate, frame-mounted skid plates and FX4 badges. There's one engine option: a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, with which Ford engineers say they're targeting best-in-class torque.
The 2019 Edge also will feature a Ford-first with the introduction of an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission. Both varieties will come with a Dana locking rear differential, and an electronic locking rear differential will be available, though it will be standard with the FX2 or FX4 Off-Road package. It's been programmed with four modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Rut, and Sand.
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Dana® Trac-Lok™ differentials distribute power to the wheels, on both 2WD and 4WD models; in the latter case, torque is sent to the front via a shift-on-the-fly transfer case with RWD, 4-High, and 4-Low settings. Other new-to-Ford and/or segment-first features include driver-assistance technologies such as post-collision braking, evasive steering assist, and adaptive cruise control with lane centering. It's meant to enable the driver to concentrate on the terrain instead of varying the throttle over terrain like a two-track dirt trail through the woods. A high-strength steel frame underpins an all-new exterior design, each "torture-tested", Ford insists, alongside the best-selling F-150.
"When you pair that with its 10-speed transmission, you've got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment". (We weren't allowed to climb inside, as the models on display are preproduction.) There's waterproof storage under the second-row seating. If you've got muddy or wet gear, tilt the seat bottom up and drop it in the bins. As on the F-150, a blind-spot information system includes trailer coverage. The owner can store three trailer profiles in the system, choosing the length of the trailer and extending the blind spot detection to that desired distance. This data will come closer to the truck's official launch, which is still a year away.
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.