2019 Ford Ranger: An Old Friend Returns

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Losing the Ford Ranger in 2011 was like seeing a childhood friend leave the country with his parents after grade school. You knew that he was out there, traveling the world, having a great time without you, and you wished that he was still here to bum around with at home. We watched from afar as the global Ranger grew up, got bigger and more sophisticated, had a number of adventures from the Australian Outback to the bogs of Europe to the jungles of South America, and wondered when it was finally going to return home.

Well, the Ranger has finally returned — bowing at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit — and we're excited for it. Yes, the 2019 model looks a lot like the version that's been on sale in global markets for the better part of the last decade, but it's still new to the U.S., and as such it appears as a fresh face. It's also stylishly in keeping with the rest of the Ford lineup, but interestingly it's more like Ford's compact SUV lineup than the pickup truck family. It doesn't look like an F-150 at all, but it does resemble the Escape SUV — inside and out. That's not a bad thing, as the global Ranger always has been an attractive truck, and those good looks set it apart from foreign and domestic competitors. I do wonder, however, how U.S. truck buyers will respond to white "Hankook" lettering emblazoned across the tires.

Inside, the Ranger looks appropriate ... I hope. There's a lot of hard plastic, but that's not unusual for the mid-size pickup class. Sit in a Chevrolet Colorado, and you'll find similar materials minus the array of technology that the Ranger sports. The Ranger's optional digital display is nicer than anything in GM, Toyota or Nissan pickups. The top spec Lariat, however, isn't as nice inside as a GMC Canyon Denali. Close, but not quite. So, the mid-sizer's success will depend on how the Ranger is priced: It's got more tech than the GM trucks and a better multimedia system than Toyota or Nissan, but the interior materials aren't nice enough to justify as much of a price premium compared to its competitors.

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The powertrain is going to set the Ranger apart, however. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and 10-speed transmission is basically the powertrain from the Mustang, with some obvious modifications. The 10-speed is brilliant in the F-150 and Mustang, so we're definitely looking forward to trying it in a light truck. A lack of full-time all-wheel drive likely isn't going to be a problem, but again it will put the Ranger at a disadvantage versus the Canyon in a premium-truck head-to-head contest. There's no diesel yet, either, but we know that the 3.2-liter five-cylinder in the Transit van fits in the Ranger (it's the engine used in the global version), so now that the diesel has been federally approved for emissions in the Transit, I wouldn't be surprised to see it show up in the Ranger, too. A Ford engineer even let slip that Ford is looking at other options for powertrains, such as electrification. Interested in a plug-in hybrid Ranger? Of questionable utility is the low-speed off-road cruise control called Trail Control, but we'll reserve final judgment until we've driven it.

Overall, the return of the Ranger is exciting and long overdue. Ford finally realized that not everybody wants an F-150, regardless of how cheap or low-spec it's made, and not everybody wants to use a Transit Connect in place of a mid-size truck. With the mid-size pickup class continuing to gain momentum, the injection of the Ranger into this market segment is a welcome development.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears


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Ha, a lot of very upset and worried posters today. This has hit a nerve I didn't know existed. If you Toy boys and GM twins are this mad at Fords Ranger approach then just keep loving those mid-sizers and stay out of it. This is Fords party to have, and they have a huge fan base to send this to success. We are a Ford family and my wife just said "maybe we need to go look at that for me when it comes out". Go back to those marketing and product design classes you dropped out of...

Ford is most likely taking the version of the 2.3 Turbo engine from the Ford Explorer due to its existing LDT (Light Duty Truck) configuration that is already compliant to the EPA/CARB requirements. That means 280 BHP and 310 Ft-Lbs of Torque.

It's sad that Ford had no backbone to put their 3.2 TDI engine in the US Ranger for 2019. Oh well, cross the Ranger off the buy list!!!!

Ford won't crack the top 3 is this truck class. Need options, this truck comes with no options. Only people worried are the Ford clowns, they know this is a failure right of the gate!

Well, it’s what I thought it would be. I’m disappointed because I had dreams of a truck that was a mid size version of the F-150 with some real truck options. I need a longer bed on the crew cab, like Toyota and GM offer. I also wanted an aggressive truck look vs my Neigbor s wife’s SUV with a bed. GM still doesn’t offer a sun roof in the mid size truck and that is a deal breaker for me.amd it doesn’t look like Ford is going to offer much in the way of true luxury. I live where we get very few sunny days and I use the sun roof most every day to help bring extra light into the cab. I have a full size F-150 now and the heated and cooled seats are something I won’t do without after using them. I also was hoping that ford wouldn’t just take the foreign born 10 year old design and refresh it a little which is all they did. Ford just has never been committed to anything but a sub par Ranger and really it shows again with this new offering. Ford is about F-series and mustangs. Everything else is a exercise in cutting costs which shows in material fit and finish.

Thie US Ranger it appears is a decontented version of the Global Ranger.
It's payload will be certainly less. Variations in trim.and body styles likewise
As the Ranger was styled and engineered for the US Market in AUSTRALIA
I wonder if rhey are doing a Raptor version?

Ford won't crack the top 3 is this truck class. Need options, this truck comes with no options. Only people worried are the Ford clowns, they know this is a failure right of the gate!

Posted by: johnny doe | Jan 16, 2018 8:25:05 PM

Ranger will surpass the Colorado in 2019 if the Ranger is available at least 11 months. The Ram will surpass the Silverado and close the gap on Ford, something Chevy has failed miserably at in recent years. 2019 will be a bad year for Chevy sales. Get used to being #3 in truck sales. Ford trucks will also top GM in total sales starting in 2019.

@ 2.7 eco-bust

You can predict the future huh?? Man, come on!!!! What are the lotto numbers going to be? I'll get my tickets today!

Ford will never catch the GM twins or Toyota with this truck in its current form. for one thing one engine option is ridiculous. Someone at ford has been sipping the overconfidence juice. They need a diesel variant and a proper V6 for the traditional crowd. Another issue is the interior quality. Canyon and Colorado have this truck beat already. They need to revamp this plastic interior and make it better altho I realize this is unlikely as F-150 pretty much sports an all plastic interior. Either put out a product that can compete or don't waste your company resources. You've come 85% of the way. Invest another 15% then its cherry.

Its another little truck.

Will gradually move toward the head of the pack in sales in this now crowded segment.

The only questions are how long until its #2 in sales and then can it dethrone the Taco?

@Beebe--If Ford is smart they will keep the price of the Ranger just below the competition which will give them plenty of sales. This would be a good fleet truck as well especially with the 2.3 Ecoboost.

@papa jim--Agree if Ford can keep the price down on the Ranger to where there is enough of a difference between it and the F-150.

Scrolling down to comment on that the interior was blah...then I'm reading in the comments this truck is already a six years old design!! Sorry Ford, this vehicle is already a last gen in today's era.

@Robert Ryan,
The Ranger Raptor will be unveiled in Thailand on Feb. 7th.... Was in a press release from Ford a few weeks ago.

Look out Z2 and TRD Pro... the Ranger Raptor will be gunning for your market share.

My thought is Ford will sell more Ranger Raptors than the F-150 Raptor for two reason....
1) A lower price that more people will be able to afford.
2) A smaller wheel base and overall size that will make for a better off-roader (especially on narrow trails).

... this truck is already a six years old design!! Sorry Ford, this vehicle is already a last gen in today's era...Posted by: Wayne | Jan 17, 2018


Take a look at Nissan's Frontier sales figures for the last 3 years. Frontier buyers had plenty of more modern options and chose the Nissan because the value is there, even if it is an old truck.

@Jeff S

It's still at least a year till we see the first Rangers in the showrooms. A lot can happen between now and then.

I will be surprised if Ford knocks GM off the number 2 spot in midsize trucks. I see no sign that either Ford or GM will upset Toyota's Tacoma.

True, but it will be a year til we see the new Silverado so I think GM is in a worse position. Ford doesn't need the Ranger as bad as GM needs the new Silverado.

@papa jim--Not my comment about GM being in a worse position. I believe that GM will do well with the new Silverado, and as you said it is too early too predict how well the new Ranger will do but I believe it will be competitive. I agree that GM will do a refresh on the existing Colorado/Canyon and it is possible that GM will still retain No 2 midsize truck position. I would like to know if the Ranger will have a manual transmission. I would like to see a manual in at least the base Ranger. So far I would put the Colorado/Canyon on my list of favorite midsize trucks followed by the current Frontier but I would have to see the new Ranger before making a final judgement. I do believe the 2.3 would be an engine I am interested in but would like to at least have a 6 speed manual offered with it.

@Jeff S

I have learned to correctly observe which are your posts and which are the fake ones. Thank you for mentioning it.


I'm not at all concerned about which GM division or brand is up or down from one year to the next. GM has fully emerged from the mess its old leadership made almost 10 years ago.

Today it's one of the leading industrial corporations in the world and its outlook is very strong. I'm pleasantly surprised about the new Ranger and as you'll recall for several months I hoped for a 4 cylinder turbo.

I'm very doubtful about a manual trans in the new Ranger at this point. I almost never see Colorado's and Canyon's being offered with the stick and won't be surprised if the next Frontier is sans stick too.

Ditto for the next RAM midsize, if there is one.

Ford surely is paying attention and they well know that the take rate on the old Ranger with manuals was very small. I regret it personally because it's what I prefer but that's how the cookie crumbles, old friend.

As the current owner of a 2nd gen 4x4 V8 Sport Trac I was hoping to replace it with a 4x4 Crew Cab Ranger but I was also hoping to get one with the 2.7L EcoBoost, not a 4 banger. I will hold final judgement until I see some road tests and comparisons to the other trucks in this segment with NA V6 powertrains. I am sure the 10-speed auto will make a positive difference but will it be enough?
While I am not impressed with the eight year old T6 global Ranger styling I can live with that.
Due to their similar size I expect the Sport Trac and Ranger will also have similar curb weights which should be somewhere slightly under 5000 lbs (the ST is about 4800). The 2.3L will probably be more than adequate under normal driving conditions. However, I do some occasional towing with my current truck and even with the V8 it can be a struggle on some of the longer grades here in western PA. This is not flat terrain and I am guessing that even unladen the 2.3 in a 5000 lb truck will be in the boost on these hills a large percentage of the time which means efficiency will suffer. If I'm not going to get the sound of at least a V6 and probably not much better fuel economy than a V8 why would I want to hear a buzzing 4-banger?
I think it should be painfully obvious that by not offering many of the features available on the F-150 (no V6, no diesel, no Raptor, no single cab) that Ford has positioned the Ranger so it will have minimal impact on F-150 sales. They need to be careful with that antiquated strategy. There are other brands that do offer what the Ranger does not in this segment. When Ford said a year ago at the NAIAS that they were not worried about competing with themselves they obviously hadn't cleared that with the guy in charge of F-150 sales.

Forget this piece of junk, no manual transmission equals no sell to me. Typical ford post-2010 garbage: take something good and "Americanize" it (remove manual tranny, stuff it with electronic junk, jack up price, etc.)

Looks like my 97 ranger will keep on rolling...right past the local ford dealership.

However, I do some occasional towing with my current truck and even with the V8 it can be a struggle on some of the longer grades here in western PA. This is not flat terrain and I am guessing that even unladen the 2.3 in a 5000 lb truck will be in the boost on these hills a large percentage of the time which means efficiency will suffer. Posted by: blksn8k | Jan 18, 2018


Without a doubt the turbos will be spinning pretty hard on those grades. Have you test driven a Colorado diesel?

@papa jim--Yes I miss manual transmissions but more and more manufacturers are dropping them. There have been articles on TTAC about the death of manuals and mentioning that more and more customers are buying autos. Also vehicles equipped with manuals are considered to be "lot poison" for most dealers since they are slower to move. The dealers are the customers.

I think the new Ranger while not exciting, will still easily move into the #3 mid-size sales slot, and start to challenge the Colorado for the #2 after a year or two. Like others have said, the Colorado will be getting a refresh to help keep it competitive. I also think the Colorado will be getting revamped power trains for 2019 or 2020 at the latest as the Silverado will be getting better mpg almost across the board vs. the Colorado by then. I am thinking the 3.6 gets dynamic skip fire and upgraded power. The 2.8 diesel could get replaced by a 4 cylinder version of the new 3.0 liter I-6 diesel, otherwise the the Silverado will not only have way more power, but will be EPA rated for around 3 mpg greater than the Colorado. I guess we will see.

Robert Ryan,
I'd say (hoping) that a Ranger Raptor will come with a minimum of the 2.7 EcoThirst for the Aussie market.

The 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder diesel is reported to put out around 160kw (210hp) and a little less torque than the 3.2 Duratorq diesel.

This 2.0 litre diesel is only 13kw less than the Duratorq, but weights a lot less.

It will be interesting to see the takeup of an overly expensive 2 litre diesel in the Aussie market. This is where, if Ford only has the 2 litre diesel has got it wrong, big time.

I think all 1 ton ute manufacturers need to put out better performing utes to fill the void left by the demise of the Aussie V8 ute.

I am thinking about vacationing in China and maybe picking up a summer home.

I'm thinking about vacationing in China and picking up a summer home. I like Chinese food and trucks. In China eerything you've ever dreamed of is at your fingertips and at great prices. I think I'm going to like it here.

Cheap and ugly!

Guys the 2.3 liter Ecoboost + 10 speed combo is a good choice.

It's fairly refined and uneventful under 6k. Nothing like the 2.0 which feels like it's struggling in a 4500lb vehicle.

In fact, the 10 speed will probably slow down the 0-60 due to the number of gears. I'm expecting it to be a 7.2 second truck.

The flip side is it will handle towing more gracefully and raise the avg CAFE rating of the truck.

Expect 12 MPG if you're towing 6500+lbs. Ecoboost motors are designed for power on demand. Unloaded and properly sized they get excellent fuel economy. Load them up and they produce gobs of torque down low starting at 1600RPM, but drink fuel like a big block while doing so.

Also keep in mind that, that motor is only a computer chip away from 350HP/380lb on 93 octane.

Dropping in the 3.3 liter V6 is a lose-lose scenario with worse fuel economy, HP and torque.

Weight is expected to be in the 4200-4500lb range. Keep in mind this is only 300lbs off from the Aluminum bodied F150.

If Ford follows Chevy the Ranger will need to maintain a $8k-10K price spread between the Full size trucks.

Lastly the rumored Ranger Raptor is expected to have the 2.7 liter Eco-boost engine, so help set it apart.

Lastly those of you who are looking for a low RPM tow vehicle that has excellent fuel economy are going to spend 10k more to get that configuration (New). It doesn't matter if the truck is fullsize or midsize. The Colorado diesel starts are $34,800 and it's the cheapest configuration I know that'll haul a 5000lb trailer all day and get 26 MPG while doing so. Let me know when you find a "new" full size truck that's less expensive and does what you want.


Very well thought-out analysis!

My two cents includes pricing info (estimated). With the price of nicely equipped full size pickups in the stratosphere---and the better half ton trucks now so brilliantly engineered---GM and Ford only need to consider the large number of potential truck buyers in the $30k to $45k price range (formerly the sweet spot for half tons).

Now that a Ford XLT or Chevy Silverado easily hits the mid $50k price range without breaking a sweat, the new midsizers have a lot of wiggle room. The new Ranger will also benefit from Ford's engineering prowess.

I'm surprised that RAM hasn't been more up front about any midsize plans they have. Certainly they can't be thinking about the Jeep pickup as an option. The Jeep is strictly a niche player in my book.

Not this year.

Think I'll just keep my 2011 Ranger. 40,000 miles/7 years? My old Ford gave up the ghost at 235,000 so i figure im goin out before the grandson inherits it?
First On Race Day! Since my 65 Stang!

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