DETROIT -- The Ford Ranger will return to U.S. dealerships next month as the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered pickup on the market.
The two-wheel-drive 2019 Ranger will get 21 mpg city/26 highway/23 combined, according to EPA estimates. The combined figure ties the Chevrolet Colorado diesel engine's 23 mpg, but bests all other midsize pickups with gasoline engines. The Ranger's city mpg figure also is highest among gasoline-powered midsize pickups.
A fuel-economy edge, no matter how small, may provide Ford a marketing tack in what promises to be a highly competitive battleground. Ford routinely dominated the midsize truck market until the Ranger was dropped in 2011. The segment, now led by the Toyota Tacoma and Colorado, has expanded 16 percent this year and will gain more entries from Jeep and Ram over the next several years.
The 2019 4x2 Tacoma gets 21 mpg combined, according to the EPA, while the 2019 4x2 Colorado and GMC Canyon with a gasoline engine deliver 22 mpg combined. City fuel-economy numbers for the three tops out at 20 mpg.
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator, a midsize pickup scheduled to reach showrooms in the second half of 2019, has not yet been rated.
The four-wheel-drive Ranger gets EPA estimated ratings of 20 mpg city/24 highway/22 combined. The city and combined figures also are the best of any gasoline-powered midsize pickup, Ford says.
The automaker started building Rangers at its Michigan Assembly Plant in October after a seven-year absence from the U.S. Ford says the vehicle will go on sale nationwide in January.
Ford is positioning the Ranger as a lifestyle vehicle for customers who want to take it off-road to the beach or campsite and will offer roughly 150 aftermarket parts and accessories through Yakima.
The Ranger will start at $25,395, including shipping, and top out at more than $40,000. The vehicle's turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine will be able to tow and haul more than the V-6 gasoline offerings from GM and Toyota, Ford says.