DETROIT -- After an eight-year hiatus, Ford Motor Co. is re-entering the midsize pickup segment with the 2019 Ford Ranger, which offers truck buyers some of the features and benefits they could get in an F-150 but with fewer customization options, a smaller footprint and lower price tag.
The revived Ranger, which will be made in Michigan and go on sale next year, has a similar architecture to the pickup Ford sells in dozens of markets overseas, but its design and powertrain have been developed specifically for U.S. buyers. Ford, which plans to formally introduce the Ranger at the Detroit auto show on Sunday, will offer only one engine option: a 2.3-liter EcoBoost mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The latest Ranger has a mostly steel body, rugged axles from Dana Inc. and an exterior design similar to its larger F-series counterparts. During development, it went through the same torture tests as the F-150.
"This is not about bringing the global Ranger here to the U.S. and selling it in our dealerships," said Todd Eckert, Ford trucks marketing manager. "This is about designing and engineering specifically for the North American customer and the conditions the trucks will be put in here."
The Ranger will include a host of new technology, such as a standard 4G-connected Wi-Fi hot spot, FordPass Connect and pre-collision assist technology as well as a number of other optional driver-assist features.
It will come in three trim levels: XL, XLT and Lariat. Ford will sell two-door SuperCab and four-door SuperCrew configurations.
An off-road FX4 package will be offered across all trims. That will give drivers the terrain-management system first offered on the F-150 Raptor that includes four drive modes: normal, grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts and sand. The package also includes a new "trail control," which acts as an off-road cruise control by accelerating or braking to maintain a set speed while traversing gravel or mountain trails. It's an extension of the automaker's hill-descent control, which controls braking on steep grades. The FX4 package will come with standard automatic emergency braking.