Ford Ranger Production to Begin in Late 2018

2019 Ford Ranger Off Road

Detroit Auto Show: The 2019 Ford Ranger is a high tech little truck

The 2019 Ford Ranger will come standard with the same 10-speed automatic transmission available in the F-150 but be a segment-first feature for midsize trucks. Pricing will be announced closer to the truck's release early in 2019, with production kicking off at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant later this year.

In addition to the suburban Detroit plant that builds Rangers for USA sales, Ford produces the truck in Thailand Argentina and South Africa. We've had a look at what the Blue Oval brand intends to put up against the Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Designed originally in Australia, it's now become a truly global vehicle with its arrival in North America. Ford stopped making the midsize Ranger pickup in North America in 2011.

Most of the exterior tweaks are minor: The grilles, head- and taillights, and hood all differ from the global version. It will include FX Off-Road packages, and in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations, the automaker has said. The the Ranger-stamped tailgate and steel front bumper both add visual strength to the truck, as do the optional LED headlights and taillamps, but aesthetic-first thinking did not prevail here.

Detroit Auto Show: The 2019 Ford Ranger is a high tech little truck

The design of the Ranger is styling and aggressive: a big-looking pickup in smaller package. Ford says this was driven by customer demand, but we suspect USA crash requirements also may have been a factor, though Ford denies this.

As gasoline prices stabilized, more customers turned to the new, smaller pickups. 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.

The only engine offered for the North American Ranger will be a 2.3-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder with a twin-scroll turbocharger.

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Check out the photo gallery above, head over to PickupTrucks.com for all the details on the new Ford Ranger and stay tuned for more coverage directly from the show floor in Detroit. That makes us wonder how long before it shows up in the Ranger here, too. It comes with a two-speed transfer case, Dana electronic locking rear differential and Ford's Terrain Management System. It has four modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, and Sand. The Lariat model will also come with adaptive cruise control and a pre-collision assist system with pedestrian detection. 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. 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). "When you pair that with its 10-speed transmission, you've got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment". The dash and doors are hard plastic in the XL and XLT, with the Lariat getting a padded, stitched faux-leather dash topper.

The latest version of Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system is optional, and comes with built-in WiFi and Ford+Alexa personal assistant, which can take notes, play music and interact with Google Home-compatible appliances. (We weren't allowed to climb inside, as the models on display are preproduction.) There's waterproof storage under the second-row seating. If you've got muddy or wet gear, tilt the seat bottom up and drop it in the bins. XLT and Lariat models will get active lane control, lane departure warning, rear park assist, and blind-spot monitors that also cover the trailer the Ranger might be towing.

Diehard fans may not want to think of it this way, but the return of the Ford Ranger is an echo of the same rush to fulfill consumer needs that gave rise to the crossover.

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Power will be provided by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, although no performance numbers were provided, Ford is targeting the Ranger to offer best-in-class torque.

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