5 Fixes for the 2019 Ford Ranger

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There are plenty of things to like about the returning 2019 Ford Ranger, and we've noted many of them in our most recent First Drive story. From its superior interior, quick-launch throttle feel and rugged off-road capability, the new Ranger is likely to compete quite well against the top-selling Toyota Tacoma and up-and-coming Chevrolet Colorado.

Related: 2019 Ford Ranger Driving Impressions: Video

But after spending a good amount of time with the new mid-size pickup truck, we think there are a few details Ford might want to take a closer look at, especially if it wants to provide the right amount of comfort and convenience to new truck buyers. Here's our short list of quick fixes that need to be addressed for the next refresh.

1. Wide-Opening Extended-Cab Hinges

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Most of the pickups in this class are bought with four full-size doors (i.e., crew cabs), but there are still plenty of work-truck buyers who need a longer bed. For them, the extended cab (SuperCab in Ford lexicon) is the best choice. However, where Ford's F-150 and Super Duty extended cabs have wide-opening rear-door hinges allowing for about 170 degrees of swing, the Ranger opens just 90 degrees. We say fix that. Since Ford set the standard with its other pickups, why not this one, too?

2. Factory Integrated Trailer Brake Controller

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Just as with the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator, Ford is making an integrated trailer brake controller an option that buyers can choose at dealerships. Two-wheel-drive models have the trailer brake dial located next to the transmission shifter; four-wheel-drive models have the dial mounted behind the Terrain Management rotary dial. All Rangers are prewired for the trailer brake controller regardless of whether they're being equipped with a tow hitch. We think it would be better to make the trailer brake controller a factory option as part of the towing package instead of an add-on at the dealership. We've seen several dealer-installed trailer brake controllers not perform as well as those integrated into the dash during the manufacturing process.

3. Offer More Leafs

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One of the most interesting suspension features on the new Ranger is a rear axle setup similar to the stout cargo-hauling Ford Transit van, which basically means a single leaf with a strong overload spring and a pair of active bump stops to help carry and distribute heavier weight. Since that's the case, why not offer an extra payload capacity package with an extra leaf or two to help buyers who will do more than carry luggage to the airport with their mid-size pickup? Just a thought.

4. Level It

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Like just about every small and full-size pickup truck, the new Ford Ranger has the bed up in the air so that when you load it, it rides more level. However, as any knowledgeable pickup observer will tell you, most people don't drive their pickups around town with a load in the bed. Much of the time they drive the truck empty. Ford should consider offering an Average Sam package that lifts the front end a few inches to give the Ranger a more leveled look and provide adjustable headlights for those rare occasions when owners put a load in the bed and haul at night, so they can turn down the headlights that can shine in the eyes of oncoming drivers. Problem solved.

5. Tune Trail Control

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We spent a lot of time playing with the new Trail Control feature offered on select four-wheel-drive models as part of the FX4 Off-Road Package. It's a cool system that functions like a slow-go cruise control for difficult trail challenges. Just engage Trail Control and all you have to do is steer the Ranger (while going 1 to 10 mph in low range and 1-20 mph in high range). While we like that it doesn't make the annoying braking noise and have the vibration of Toyota's Crawl Control system, we found that Ford's Trail Control can provide a bit too much roll-back on a steep hill climb, attempting to use only throttle (and not the brakes) to keep the vehicle in a single location. Either it needs a more sensitive setting or a more active brake system.

Cars.com photos by Evan Sears; manufacturer image

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Comments

As to headlihht leveling- a “leveled” truck doesn’t need adjutable headlihhts any more or less than one with normal “rake”. It just needs to have the headlihhs adjusted down correctly. That said, any vehicle that carries most of additional weight above the rear axle (every pickup, most vans) should have adjustable lights (like on the Titan XD), unless the suspension is self leveling.

How about offering more than one wheelbase? As much as I like the new Ranger, I would want something more than a 5' long bed to go with the crew cab.

I would want something more than a 5' long bed to go with the crew cab...Posted by: Texas1836 | Dec 26, 2018

It's increasingly clear that Ford marketing decided to ignore the practical elements of owning a Ranger truck.

This is why you will not see "work truck" Rangers. Dealers don't want them. Back when Ford allowed the last Ranger to die (from outright neglect) the last Rangers you saw on dealer lots were the XL fleet models. Dealers want no part of that again.

This is a key reason that every Ranger you see during 2019 will be a lifestyle truck targeting well-heeled 30-something young folks. This is not your father's Ranger.

@Texas1836, I can't agree more about the lack of of a long wheelbase!!! I my opinion, not having a SuperCrew with a 6 foot bed is the biggest option missing front the Ranger build sheet. With this basic option not available, it will definitely limit Ranger sales, especially with Toyota, Nissan and the GM twins all having a crew cab long bed options.

I sat in (front and rear seats) and drove this new Ranger at the Charlotte Auto Show back on November 17th and it's a fantastic truck! I would love to replace my '02 F-150 Lariat SuperCrew with this Ranger, but the lack of a SuperCrew with 6 foot bed is a deal breaker for me. I'll keep driving my current truck for a couple more years I guess? The full size trucks are too bloated for my liking (size and prices).

I agree on the leveling, Most all Colorado/Canyon owners I know get there truck leveled either at the dealer at time of purchase or in their own garage, Parts are 50 bucks, dealers usually charge 300 with alignment.

I also agree on the trailer brake, let it be a factory install option with tow package, like the twins.

I want to know what the door storage /cup holders look like. he ones in the twins are an after thought.

#1 is the only legitimate compliant on this very sill list.

But its a BIG one.

NOT having a compound hinge that swings the door all the way round to 170ish degrees is a crime in this day and age on a rearward opening extended cab door.

For all the work that Ford put into the Ranger this is a MASSIVE and embarrassing oversight/shortcoming.

Just a reminder for the author... almost nobody tows, or hauls with little trucks.

Let's go over this again and translate what it really should have said:

1. Wide-Opening Extended-Cab Hinges
How dare Ford save money when it comes to the budget models? The rear door should open all the way backward just in case you need to open your truck in a narrow space and then walk away from it.

2. Factory Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
The truck that will never tow anything is not being offered with additional towing gear as factory? Scandalous! And that tiny little dial will get lost among the other little dials and get lonely being never used!

3. Offer More Leafs
Never mind the fact that this midsize truck isn't even designed to haul heavy loads, we want more springs because more is better, engineering and the aftermarket be damed.

4. Level it
To totally ignore our concerns in the previous two complaints about weight on the rear end, we suddenly realize nobody will tow or haul anything with this truck Taurus. Now only appearances matter.

5. Tune Trail Control
We spent the entire paragraph telling you how much better this system is than the competition, yet Ford failed because at some point we had to use not just one pedal on the floor but both. Outrageous. God only knows what would become of us if Ford had sent us the version with a manual transmission and THREE pedals!

Let's go over this again and translate what it really should have said:

1. Wide-Opening Extended-Cab Hinges
How dare Ford save money when it comes to the budget models? The rear door should open all the way backward just in case you need to open your truck in a narrow space and then walk away from it.

2. Factory Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
The truck that will never tow anything is not being offered with additional towing gear as factory? Scandalous! And that tiny little dial will get lost among the other little dials and get lonely being never used!

3. Offer More Leafs
Never mind the fact that this midsize truck isn't even designed to haul heavy loads, we want more springs because more is better, engineering and the aftermarket, what are those?

4. Level it
To totally ignore our concerns in the previous two complaints about weight on the rear end, we suddenly realize nobody will tow or haul anything with this truck Taurus. Now only appearances matter.

5. Tune Trail Control
We spent the entire paragraph telling you how much better this system is than the competition, yet Ford failed because at some point we had to use not just one pedal on the floor but both. Outrageous. Who knows what would become of us if Ford had sent us the version with a manual transmission and THREE pedals!

A diesel motor and independent rear suspension would make the ranger relevant. Non fully opening rear doors are a joke as well as not having a longer bed.
Ford obviously does not follow RV trends. Most RV MFG's are now making smaller lighter weight travel trailers for owners of SUV's and small pickups. Spend some time on RV forums and you'll see the interest in these trucks. By not offering a better tow platform Ford is relinquishing potential buyers.

Actually, the F150 nor Super Duty didn't set the standard for 170 degrees or wide opening suicide doors, the Titan did that back when it was introduced in '04. We understand Ford may be the noisiest bird but it isn't the earliest bird to get the worm.

Leveling a truck from the factory is stupid. They are made to haul and you take away from that with a leveling kit. I'm sure MPG numbers would be hurt as well as a lower front end cuts through the air better.

By not offering a better tow platform Ford is relinquishing potential buyers....Posted by: dale milner | Dec 26, 2018

@dale

regarding the new Ranger: You can be assured, that Ford is listening carefully to what their dealers are asking for.

Dealers seem to believe that the most immediate market for Rangers will be young, active, well-off, suburban, buyers.

If they thought this was going to be a hit with construction workers or guys who tow big loads you'd be seeing a very different Ranger in showrooms next month.

@Mark Williams
You do get extra leaf springs, much thicker frames and a beefed up suspensions, wider choice of body types with the Global Ranger, but not the US version. It is intended to be more a Lifestyle vehicle,( carrying Kayaks) than even the Wildtrak a Global ones.

The global ranger is tough and rugged. The American is docile and soft. Same thing with Toyota. The Hilux is tough and rugged while the tacoma is docile and soft. What does that say about American... a bunch of chest thumping couch potato wussies.

Since it is not a gm prouct-no fix needed. The twins need fixed from the truck all the way to corporate.....

I would like to see it come with a v8 engine.

@uh huh

couch potato? I'd like you to meet the 19 year old fellow who joined our table for dinner Christmas eve. He's just out of boot camp and now going through AIT

It might change your opinion.

would like to see it come with a v8 engine.
Posted by: papajim | Dec 26, 2018

the FAKE papa

would like to see it come with a v8 engine.
Posted by: papajim | Dec 26, 2018

the FAKE papa

FAKE papa say's I'm fake. LOL

would like to see it come with a v8 engine.
Posted by: papajim | Dec 26, 2018

the FAKE papa

FAKE papa say's I'm fake. LOL

It's a Ford....should come standard with a fire extinguisher!

@ papajim,

Using the far and the few is not a good representation of the mass. My statement still stands.

The global ranger is tough and rugged. The American is docile and soft.

@uh huh

You have not even DRIVEN one yet have you? Total meat-head

It aint ever for sale yet and needs five things fixed already! LMBO!!!!! Common Ford junk!

It is just fine.

Not that I want one, but Ford isn’t marketing to me. Nor is GM.

I am the "tried to be" a Ranger buyer.
Not one of your five concerns even crossed my mind. I quit being a Ranger buyer when they told me , you will have a 4 cylinder truck like it or not.I wanted a V/6 and a baby King Ranch or Raptor. In my opinion you need to go one way or the other

1) Tough work truck with capacity to do thing's

2) Gentleman's truck to take to the golf course with upscale options & power.

Ford didn't do either one.
I'm a Ford guy so with me they won anyway , I bought a new F-150 King Ranch but not everyone will be so loyal.

The lack of long box crew cab, no trailer tow package with built in brake controller, 1 option for engine is what has me looking at the Canyon Crew cab long box with the Diesel, very impressive towing ability for a small truck.

The price of diesel is to high to justify a diesel engine in anything other than a work truck or heavy hauler.

@Buddy

I bought Chevron unleaded yesterday for 2.02 per gallon, so I can see your point about diesel, which is almost a dollar higher here. Most of the difference is taxes, which is a real shame because many people have a legitimate need for it.

I also admit to wanting a RAM 2500 Cummins, but it's not a practical thing, it's just because one of my friends has one and it's impressive. In reality for most of the driving I do a diesel is impractical.

We should start a campaign to write Congress and get the high taxes taken off diesel. No decent reason for it to be that high.

I would like to see it come with a v8 engine.

@James--Ford is not marketing to me either so no comment on my part. Not worth getting in an argument with some on this site.

"I would like to see it come with a v8 engine." ---- Posted by: papajim


--- I'd be happy with a V6 at 300 horses. I don't trust a 2.3L I-4 to handle towing a 7500# travel trailer for extended periods.

"I would like to see it come with a v8 engine." ---- Posted by: papajim


--- I'd be happy with a V6 at 300 horses. I don't trust a 2.3L I-4 to handle towing a 7500# travel trailer for extended periods.

"I would like to see it come with a v8 engine." ---- Posted by: papajim


--- I'd be happy with a V6 at 300 horses. I don't trust a 2.3L I-4 to handle towing a 7500# travel trailer for extended periods.

"I would like to see it come with a v8 engine." ---- Posted by: papajim


--- I'd be happy with a V6 at 300 horses. I don't trust a 2.3L I-4 to handle towing a 7500# travel trailer for extended periods.

Gak! I hate web pages that give you no indication that your submission is being processed!

Here's the best part, Mr Fox. The quote you chose was from the Faux Papa.

#1.) Definitely should have double hinged doors. Although I think Nissan first offered this on the Titan and it's not so much a " Since Ford set the standard with its other pickups, why not this one, too?" as you claimed.
#2.) agreed
#3.) N/A
#4.) Disagree. "Leveled" trucks become nose high and hideous looking when hauling or towing.
#5.) I'll take your word

Since it is not a gm prouct-no fix needed.

Easy, easy fix is to offer the same exact set up option that's in the Mustang. The same power train but with a six speed manual. Yeah, I know they wouldn't sell many, but if they offered this same engine but mated to a six speed manual, which they are already doing in another factory, they could offer it for $500 less, and actually increase margin; advertise a price $500 less as a starting price; can claim they've got a power train choice albeit only slight; and gain just a few more customer who actually want a manual transmission. It would be one thing if Ford had to do a lot of logistics or add to costs via a manual for this power train, but since they're already doing it in Mustang, what would it hurt!

Like others have said; a longer wheel base is needed. Not that I'd opt for one, but if there were a crew cab with a 6' bed, it would not only give them more head-to-head configuration choices with GM; but it would undoubtedly give them the max towing championship, as it is the longer wheel base that helps the Colorado/Canyon get that extra 200 pounds; not anything else about the truck including the diesel engine.

I think why Ford is offering so little choice at this point is that we should see an all-new Ranger in just a couple years. This platform is from 2012-2013 I think and is aging. If true, this explains many things like: no long wheel base and no Ranger Raptor.

they wouldn't sell many, but if they offered this same engine but mated to a six speed manual, which they are already doing in another factory, they could offer it for $500 less

@greg

you just gave all the reasons it will never happen---dealers don't want to tie up a parking space (or inventory) with a model that ...

A. sells for a penny less
B. that accounts for less than 10 percent of public interest

Ford is a very risk-averse company these days and if their dealers don't like it, it ain't gonna happen

This platform is from 2012-2013 I think and is aging. If true, this explains many things ...

@Greg

Presently the only up-to-date midsize is the Ridgeline. Honda cannot give 'em away. GM sells more midsize every month than Honda sells all year. The Ridgeline is the most advanced model in the market and nobody buys them. Old technology does not seem to bother truck customers too much---the class leading midsize is basically a 12 year old model and loyal Toyota customers pay top dollar to buy them. Ditto the Toyota half ton truck. Very loyal customers.

Ford's decisions about the Ranger dating back to the old model are all about the management's fear of risk.

I have been with my boyfriend on and off for five years. I love him very much. I often overthink things, and a constant frustration of mine is that he makes no romantic gestures at all. He drowns me in compliments and shows his love in other ways.

I always have to take the initiative and suggest he do romantic things like send me cards or flowers, take me to dinner, etc., but he only does them when I ask. It doesn’t feel like enough for me. What do you suggest I do papajim?

How about a soft touch dash across the board (xl to XLT) but without the stitching save that for Lariat. Its just that the rock hard Fisher Price dashboard looks cheezy as hell and cheap. The old Ranger had an excellent soft touch dash. To much hard plastic in the lower trim cabs. The area around the 4WD selector/gear shift needs a redo. The armrest is annoying. So lets move that 4wd selector up to the dash along with a trailer control brake and fit those cupholders properly. This way you get a proper armrest. The engineering for the rest of the truck seems sound. Other then the minor aforementioned gripes I think you've hit a home run here.

What do you suggest I do papajim?
Posted by: Chingon | Dec 29, 2018

Spend less time fretting over your relationship w/boyfriend and more time with the scriptures. Peace will come.

@papajim - I would take your advice but you look like your father would be disappointed in you if he stayed.

Peace will come anyway. You are free to make your own decisions (assuming that you aren't a minor).

I find it odd to make a 4x4 off road capable you are required to buy a 4x4 option like the FX4 pack. Most of the pack should be standard on all 4x4s.

We have a "FX4" Ranger, but its a model/trim, not a 4x4 pack. Our FX4 slots in between the XLT and Wildtrak.

Even our base model 4x4 Ranger and some 4x2 Rangers come standard with a rear diff lock in Australia.

As for the rear springs. The Ranger based BT50 and all of our Rangers have 5 leaves. 3 light and 2 heavy. My ARB suspension has 4 light and 2 heavy.

Maybe look at ARB rear springs to better enable the US Ranger to perform better on and off road when loaded. A full front and rear ARB, Old Man Emu suspension with NitroCharger shocks will cost less than $2000AUS or$1400USD.

I find it odd to make a 4x4 off road capable you are required to buy a 4x4 option like the FX4 pack. Most of the pack should be standard on all 4x4s.

We have a "FX4" Ranger, but its a model/trim, not a 4x4 pack. Our FX4 slots in between the XLT and Wildtrak.

Even our base model 4x4 Ranger and some 4x2 Rangers come standard with a rear diff lock in Australia.

As for the rear springs. The Ranger based BT50 and all of our Rangers have 5 leaves. 3 light and 2 heavy. My ARB suspension has 4 light and 2 heavy.

Maybe look at ARB rear springs to better enable the US Ranger to perform better on and off road when loaded. A full front and rear ARB, Old Man Emu suspension with NitroCharger shocks will cost less than $2000AUS or$1400USD.



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