Detroit, Michigan – After a seven-year hiatus, Ford’s Ranger compact pickup will return to the U.S. market early next year, part of the automaker’s push to expand its dominance in light trucks.
Ford cancelled the Ranger after the 2012 model year, despite it being popular at the time, because it was taking sales away from the more-profitable F-150 pickup. At the time, a V-6 equipped Ranger has similar capabilities to a low-end F-150 but cost less.
The new models goes into production late this year at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant, a facility now makes the Focus compact car.
The automaker hasn’t released pricing, payload, towing, power, or fuel-economy statistics on the new Ranger yet, so it won’t be clear for months how capable the new truck will be vs. the F-150.
However, there are some hints that it will be powerful but distinctly less powerful than its big brother. Ford plans to equip the Ranger with its 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine, the engine it uses in some versions of the Explorer sport utility vehicle. The engine will be mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
In the Explorer, the 2.3L engine produces 280hp, 310 lb-ft of torque, and up to 3,000 lb in tow capacity. That’s similar horsepower and torque to the V-6 version of the Chevy Colorado (308hp, 275 lb-ft), a competing truck that can tow up to 7,000 lb. The Ranger will be a steel, ladder-framed truck, so it should have a significantly higher tow rating than the unit-body Explorer.
Unlike the aluminum-skinned F-150, the Ranger will be a steel truck, so that extra weight could impact its tow and payload ratings.
Like most new vehicles, the truck will be a technology showcase. The last version of the Ranger was one of the most Spartan vehicles left in Ford’s lineup with available hand-cranked windows and no-radio options.
Available on the new model will be the automaker’s full range of safety features – automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, reverse sensing, and blind-spot Information system with trailer coverage (standard on XLT and Lariat versions. Pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control are available on some models.
Ford formally unveiled the new truck in advance of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. On Monday and Tuesday, Today’s Motor Vehicles editor Robert Schoenberger will be at the show, seeing what’s new in the auto world. Come back to www.todaysmotorvehicles.com for updates.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 17 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.