US Ranger differs in detail and engine from versions sold elsewhere since 2011

US Ranger differs in detail and engine from versions sold elsewhere since 2011

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Ford is reviving the Ranger truck nameplate in the US with variants of a model line on sale in the rest of the world (including Mexico) since 2011. The Ford Australia designed Asian Ranger is, in fact, a direct descendent of the late 1970s Courier sold in North America, a rebadged Mazda B-Series originally supplied on an OEM basis by the Japanese automaker.

Ford North America later developed its own compact Ranger truck but the 2019 model, unveiled in Detroit, is a larger medium size model which appears to have Toyota's strong selling Tacoma in its sights.

Unlike the Asian variants which are built for global markets mainly in Thailand, Argentina and South Africa, the North American variants will be made, from late this year, at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant.

The automaker said customer demand is growing for midsize trucks with US sales up 83% since 2014 "as a new generation of midsize truck buyers seek more maneouvrable, fuel-efficient pickups".

Most Rangers sold worldwide are diesel, though there is a petrol option, but the US market models will have Ford's 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and "the only 10-speed automatic transmission in the segment".

"Ranger has always held a special place in the hearts of truck fans," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's US head of product development and purchasing. "The Ranger is designed for today's midsize truck buyer, delivering even more utility, capability and technology for those who blend city living with more off-the-grid adventures on weekends."

The truck will be sold in entry-level XL, mid-level XLT and high-level Lariat levels with optional Chrome and Sport appearance and FX Off-Road packages, and in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations.

The centre console includes an eight-inch touch screen for the optional SYNC 3 system, while the instrument cluster features dual LCD screens for real-time vehicle, navigation and audio information.

The Off-Road Package provides additional trail capability with off-road-tuned shocks, all-terrain tyres, a frame-mounted heavy-gauge steel front bash plate, frame-mounted skid plates and FX4 badging.

It also features an innovative Terrain Management System similar to the F-150 Raptor's. It includes four distinct drive modes – normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand. The system can shift on the fly to automatically change throttle responsiveness, transmission gearing and vehicle controls to tailor traction, driveability and performance to any given terrain or weather condition.     

The package also introduces Trail Control technology. Like cruise control for the highway but designed for low-speed, rugged terrain, this takes over acceleration and braking – sending power and braking to each individual wheel to allow drivers to focus on steering along the course.

Power is distributed through Dana AdvanTEK independent front and solid rear axles on both 2WD and 4WD models with an available electronic-locking rear axle (standard on FX2 and FX4) for increased all-terrain traction. Four-wheel-drive versions feature 2-high, 4-high and 4-low.

Advanced driver-assist technology includes standard Automatic Emergency Braking, while Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning, a Reverse Sensing System and class-exclusive Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage are standard on XLT and Lariat trim levels. Additional driver-assist technologies standard on Lariat include Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control.

SYNC 3 features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Ford+Alexa personal assistant functionality and optional navigation. An optional 4G LTE modem provides Wi-Fi access for up to 10 devices. Optional AC power outlets allow for charging of laptops and USB outlets provide more options for passengers to connect. Optional B&O PLAY premium audio is specially tuned for the Ranger cab.

Additional features include optional LED headlamps and tail lamps. Optional exterior lighting includes puddle lamps and lighting for the cargo bed while optional Smart Trailer Tow connector alerts drivers to faulty trailer connections.