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

should be standard on all 4x4s.

----

Most 4x4s people buy in the US are already over-capable for rough conditions and off road driving.

In the snow belt, people buy 4x4 less for off road prowess and more for dealing with snow.

Posted by: papajim | Dec 31, 2018 4:53:30 PM

WTF are you on about poopajam?

What nonsense ………….. American 4x4s are overly capable! Then why do you need to sell the FX4 pack on the Ranger?

What a dooferr mate. Maybe you might be able to off road one day.

Its about traction, obviously you aren't aware of this concept in a 4x4.

Again...…….. McGoo you done it again.

Re-read what I wrote dip-sh*t

The majority of Americans who buy a 4x4 rarely go off road. This is a known fact. In the snow belt the best value proposition for 4x4 vehicles is their superior performance in the snow.

Now go home

" should be standard on all 4x4s.

----

Most 4x4s people buy in the US are already over-capable for rough conditions and off road driving.

In the snow belt, people buy 4x4 less for off road prowess and more for dealing with snow.

Posted by: papajim | Dec 31, 2018 4:53:30 PM"

Wonder why US Pickups fail here, do not have to look far.Other factors also kill them.
Still the Ranger in its "Lifestyle" US version, should compete well with the Tacoma

Wonder why US Pickups fail here...

@Robert Ryan

I'm more curious as to why your auto industry failed in Australia

papajim,
The Australian auto industry has not failed.

The US Ranger and Bronco are designed in Oz. What about Aussie aftermarket gear? Trucks, transport and logistics. The one thing I do believe Australia did correctly is to stop subsidising loss making industries and kept the profitable segments, like design and engineering etc. Why would a rich nation like Australia want to compete with developing nations? Sort of like the rich end of town wanting to compete with the poor end.

McGoo, so if you weren't poor like you are with a burger flipper education, ie, rich and educated
..... say a mechanical engineer .... would you compete for a burher flipping job? So why should Australia want to do the same? Only dumbass nations would compete with these cheap burger flipping countries.

Maybe the US industry has "failed" using your terminology. Its ONE OF The most subsidised auto industry in the OECD. 2.5 times more than the Germans.

So, let me get this straight.

Back when Australia actually HAD a viable auto industry, they were a dumb nation (after the fashion of poor nations like S. Korea, Japan, Mexico, China and Canada), but when Australia joined the likes of Zimbabwe and Guatemala (stone-broke countries who have no auto assembly operations) they became a smart nation.

As long as you're not too busy, can I have a Big Mac and large fries to go?

What papajim told his boyfriend last night.....

"So, let me get this straight."

@tailgator

dripping with irony. A comic genius!

Ford MUST fix the routine oil change to user friendly before it spell disaster for Ford!!! At current stage it is impossible to do oil change without removing front wheel and other parts to get to the oil filter... Good luck challenging Tacoma!!!

@Vincent

Lie down and take a few deep breaths.

Ford dealers will be giving free maintenance with a $40,000 pickup for at least a year or two.

I'm driving a Chevy Silverado V8 these days and the filter is removed from below, but either way it's a dirty job and you just do it maybe 3X annually.

Pulling a wheel is no big deal.

Maybe the US industry has "failed" using your terminology. Its ONE OF The most subsidised auto industry in the OECD. 2.5 times more than the Germans.

@Burger Buster

Germans are going to pay a price for this. They've outsourced their auto industry assembly operations to ... Germany. Huh? They actually imported their labor. Ask the political leaders in Germany how happy they are about that.

Looks like it will cost a lot more for an oil change, since you have to remove the tire and a panel just to get to the filter

https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/ownership/changing-your-2019-ford-rangers-oil-you-better-take-off-that-front-left-wheel-then/ar-BBRMuCe?ocid=spartanntp

Has anyone heard about the oil change process for this 2019 Ranger pickup?

To change the oil and filter one needs to remove the front wheel to get at the filter and remove a skid plate to get at the drain plug - this is insane!!!!

How can a newly redesigned truck in 2019 involve such a process???

This needs to get fixed and quickly!!!!

This needs to get fixed and quickly
Posted by: 2015er | Jan 9, 2019

@2015er

Wrong.

The people who told that story in the media last week printed a retraction a few days later. The oil filter can be removed by using the steering wheel to maneuver the wheel out of the way without removing it.

Why advertise a truck with towing capacity of 7500. Lb. and not put a brake controller on it. Should be against the law, just leave off one of the junk options and install brake controller.

Why advertise a truck with towing capacity of 7500. Lb. and not put a brake controller on it...just leave off one of the junk options and install brake controller.
Posted by: Jhgr | Jan 12, 2019

@JHgr

Do you believe that Ranger owners will be using their trucks to tow more than 4000 or 5000 lbs?



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