2019 Ford Ranger: F-150's Little Brother Comes Home

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Competes with: Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma

Looks like: The global Ranger, as seen everywhere else in the world since 2011

Drivetrains: Turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder, 10-speed automatic transmission, rear- or part-time four-wheel drive

Hit dealerships: Early 2019

Fans of smaller pickup trucks, rejoice — the Ford Ranger is back! After an eight-year absence from the U.S. market, Ford decided last year that it could no longer ignore a mid-size pickup segment that was attracting a half million buyers annually. So during the 2017 North American International Auto Show Ford announced it would bring the Ranger back in 2019 and the Bronco SUV a year later. Now Ford has brought the 2019 Ranger to the 2018 NAIAS, intending to sell it next year. We've had a look at what the Blue Oval brand intends to put up against the Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.

Exterior

If you've spent any time outside the U.S. or Canada in the last decade, you've likely seen a new Ranger — it's the best-selling pickup in Europe. With plants in several locations around the world, it has become something of a global workhorse. Designed originally in Australia, it's now become a truly global vehicle with its arrival in North America.

It should be noted up front that the new Ranger is most definitely a mid-size pickup, much larger than the old compact Ranger we knew, and it's nearly the same size as a mid-1990s Ford F-150. Looking at the new truck, however, it's not all that apparent what's changed to accommodate U.S. concerns. It looks mostly the same as the global truck, with some slightly different headlights, grilles, taillights and a taller hood. It comes in two cab styles, SuperCab (extended cab) and SuperCrew (four full doors), but one wheelbase, which means two bed lengths will be present depending on cab style.

What differentiates the North American Ranger from the global model is the bumpers: Ours are steel and are mounted directly to the frame for superior durability and crashworthiness. This is a class exclusive for the Ranger; all other mid-size pickups feature plastic body-mounted bumpers. Ford says this was driven by customer demand, but we suspect U.S. crash requirements also may have been a factor, though Ford denies this.

Other minor changes come through on the exterior, such as a different tailgate with a higher-mounted handle, bed lights from the F-150 and two different appearance packages. Sport features body-colored trim, while Chrome blings everything out. Three trim levels will be available as well: XL, XLT and Lariat, with the FX4 Off-Road Package available on any of them. That package provides part-time four-wheel drive, a steel skid plate up front, other steel underbody skid plates, off-road shocks and tires, and Magnetic Grey trim accents.

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Under the Hood

There will be one powertrain at launch, a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels through a standard 10-speed automatic transmission. If you think this combination sounds familiar, it is. It's the same set-up you'll find under the hood of a 2018 Mustang, with the appropriate changes to gear ratios and tuning to make it suitable for truck duty instead of track duty. While Ford made no mention of a diesel engine, the rest of the world enjoys their Rangers with a turbo-diesel 3.2-liter five-cylinder engine, which wasn't rated by the EPA until the new Ford Transit van showed up sporting one. That makes us wonder how long before it shows up in the Ranger here, too.

The standard Ranger is rear-wheel drive, but part-time shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive is optional. It comes with a two-speed transfer case, Dana electronic locking rear differential and Ford's Terrain Management System. That electronic system enables the driver to choose one of several modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts and Sand. Those last two will automatically engage 4-High, but Mud/Ruts engages maximum power to all four wheels while Sand mode allows for the most slip before engaging the traction control system.

A new low-speed off-road cruise control (similar to Toyota's Crawl Control) is also standard on four-wheel-drive models. Called Trail Control, it engages at speeds from 1 to 20 mph and can be slowed to a new speed (instead of disengaged) by applying the brake. 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.

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. A locking rear differential and a new fully boxed frame will be unique to the North American model. Steering is electrically power-assisted, but the novel Ford Pro Trailer Backup Assist is not yet available (Ford says it's under development for Ranger).

Interior

The smaller SuperCab Ranger has two small clamshell doors and two upright jump seats, while the larger SuperCrew four-door model is more reasonably sized and seats five. Despite the 10-speed transmission where a rotary control selector could be possible, the Ranger gets a sportier transmission lever in the center console. The dash and doors are hard plastic in the XL and XLT, with the Lariat getting a padded, stitched faux-leather dash topper. Two different gauge clusters are available: one with traditional gauges and one with the Ford-style central analog gauge flanked by two reconfigurable display screens.

Ford hasn't skimped on the available tech features, offering FordPass Connect Wi-Fi with 4G LTE connectivity for up to 10 devices, a B&O Play premium audio system and the Sync 3 multimedia system. Two interior colors are available as well: Ebony and Medium Ash. The second row in the SuperCrew also features underseat storage that's waterproof. If you've got muddy or wet gear, tilt the seat bottom up and drop it in the bins.

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Safety

The new Ranger will offer nearly as many electronic safety systems as the rest of the Ford lineup, including standard forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. A blind spot warning system will be offered, combined with LED taillights, that also 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. Lane keep assist and lane departure warning will be standard on the XLT and Lariat, and automatic cruise control will be standard on the Lariat.

Missing from Ford's information about the new 2019 Ranger are numbers — any of them. No mention yet of horsepower, torque towing capacity (although Ford insists it will be "best in class"), ground clearance for 4x4 models or fuel economy. No mention of price either. This data will come closer to the truck's official launch, which is still a year away. Ford says that the truck will not be in dealer showrooms until early 2019, giving competitors another year to solidify their gains in a class they currently have to themselves.

Manufacturer images

 

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Comments

Ken, I agree with you on the Silverado, but I want to see how much payload capacity is lost due to the extra weight. I do think that they will be adding at least one boosted gas engine. Did you notice that they didn't mention the 4.3 liter V-6 as an offering? I think it is going away, and they will be using a revised version of the 3.6 LGX V-6 as standard, since it already has cylinder deactivation built into it, that should make it much easier to adopt the new dynamic skip fire or whatever they are calling it. The LGX already has a turbo version of it with cylinder deactivation, and I think they will be putting that into the Silverado as well, also with dynamic skip fire.

I can probably be ok with just less than a 1/2" second row leg room than the Colorado, but without a longer 6 foot bed, that is a dealbreaker.

With numbers around 300 hp, and 350 torque, sounds great, until you realize this will be running a lot of boost to move this truck anywhere up a hill or with a trailer, 10 speed or not.

I do wonder, to get those numbers from a 2.3, must mean the recommended 91 octane is a necessity, I am sure 5 people willbtell me it will run on 87 (and I don't mean at high altitude Colorado, where 87 is the flatlands version of 89, and the lower octane is 85.

Yep, sure, it will run on 87, and maybe Mogas, but it will take boost and or timming out.

Will the payload be like it is on the low Tacoma/Frontier, 1100 is pounds, or more like the Colorado, up 1400 plus?

Or will it be some overated Australian untested number, that will work fine at 10 mph on your land, or hardly controllable at 55 to 65 mph?

@papajim
So a truck, with a 360 pound turbocharger/intercooled 4 cylinder engine, which is slightly longer than GM's naturally aspirated V6-which also weighs 360 pounds, will have a better weight distribution.
Right.
The 'weight penalty' comes from beefing up an engine to handle forced induction. The diesel in the Canyon/Colorado is heavier than the V6 by about 150 pounds.
Ford's 1.5/1.6 ecoboost is the flyweight engine. Not the 2.0/2.3 series.

I guess you can't put too much into the range, don't want to be chipping away from F150 sales... Talking about F150, Looks like I'll be getting rid of my '18 F150 5.0. Occasional transmission thump and threw a check engine light.. That's unacceptable for a brand new truck. I haven't even gotten to tow with it yet. Very disappointed.

I guess you can't put too much into the range, don't want to be chipping away from F150 sales... Talking about F150, Looks like I'll be getting rid of my '18 F150 5.0. Occasional transmission thump and threw a check engine light.. That's unacceptable for a brand new truck. I haven't even gotten to tow with it yet. Very disappointed.

I agree Robert Ryan about the 2.3EB. In Australia the 2.0EB failed.

I understand Ford wouldn't want the 2.7EB in a US Ranger. It would take too many sales from the F-150.

I would think if an US diesel version is offered the 150kw 2 litre diesel would be used. Its more FE friendly than the 3.2 Duratorq.

What I find odd is in the US you need the FX4 option to get the E Locker rearend with other 4x4 goodies. Here, even the base 4x4s come standard with this stuff. It seems, you can buy a 4x4, without the off road equipment. I suppose it makes the pickups appear cheaper.

Not the US, but Ford really need either a 5 litre Coyote Ranger or 3.5EB Ranger for the Aussie market. This is to replace the V8 Falcon utes.

@Chris
Pretty good summing up of what is available here in Australia and yes the Triton is tbe surprise package. It has outsild the Navara

poopajim,

That's not how we do it in Australia.

💩

The real bumpers are a welcomed sight. Thank you Ford!! These are trucks, not cars. The front end is very Global (Ranger/Everest). I wish Ford would have used the cut down doors and made the head lights a little more F-Series like. It's a nice looking truck, but it is what it is, an import (design) that doesn't really look like an American Ford. I'm guessing aside from cost savings, they didn't want it to resemble the F-150 too much because of it's size. Ford has stated it will have best in class payload and towing. I doubt the 2.3 EcoBoost/10 speed will provide that. The 3.3 or 2.7 EcoBoost will be an option and/or a diesel.

Everything in the powertrain discussions is about using the "available" choices.

George and Big Al want to use choices that aren't on the menu. The 2.3 Ecoboost will be an excellent motor for this application. Coupled with the 10 speed trans, it will sing!

Tr4 Tom
"will it be some overated Australian untested number, that will work fine at 10 mph on your land, or hardly controllable at 55 to 65 mph?:
No it was built for the US and the Pickup for the US is much lighter and not as durable

Handsome, but I'm betting on too big and too heavy, just like the other American mid-sizers. Oh, 300 hp is nice, don't get me wrong, but you'll be in the turbo more often than not just to get the weight moving.

If they want to avoid the Ranger taking sales from the Fs, they need to ensure the Ranger is much, MUCH smaller than the F; not just in power, but in physical size.

The reader formerly known as Vulpine is still dreaming of a micro-market in compact trucks.

I'm beginning to think that someone will produce a micro truck but I'm not confident about it coming to the US. For the micro truck design to work, it has to have a FWD layout and a four cylinder transverse engine compartment.

Configured that way I can't see it having body/frame construction and US truck guys might stand against the unibody. Evidence? Look no farther than the indifferent response to the Honda.

Great looking truck. Very amused by all the conjecture on a vehicle that is sometime away from launch. Many things yet to be revealed , changed and added. In the meantime it is great fun to hear the whine, and bravado " nothing to fear" thing, etc.

A future winner for sure. Ford is coming at right time to the party too, with the new Silverado and Ram coming. Will increase some sales for Ford too. Awesome small truck it looks to be. Good smaller truck for business and pleasure. And solid package to start with. What's all the squawking about the 4 banger turbo? It's a perfect engine for this truck to have a coming out. There will be more offerings after launch. The first time I drove the Small Ecoboost I thought of the new Ranger coming.
Stop the crying and buy a Silverado if you don't like this. Uh-huh

Hopefully they add a dieael engine and V6. Not an Ecoboost fan. Old 4.0l were great engine.

Can't wait FOR a comparison between it and GM twins.

The steel bumpers are a plus for me in a truck. I prefer the metal painted bumpers to the chrome because if the bumpers get damaged they can be painted instead of the thin chrome plating that can peel off over time and then the bumper rusts.

@papa jim--I would like to drive that 2.3 EcoBoost, it appears to be a very good engine.

@Jeff

The 2.3 base (north/south) Ford they started putting in Rangers back around 15 years ago is an excellent engine. I owned a Ranger equipped that way. The trans gave me a ton of trouble but the little motor was sweet.

The 2.3 has been available in turbo form for just about as long but this one has been extensively updated. Should be a terrific choice.



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