Ford Ranger finally reintroduced with production set to start in 2018

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So during the 2017 North American International Auto Show Ford announced it would bring the Ranger back in 2019 and the Bronco SUV a year later. With a recent resurge in popularity for compact pickup trucks such as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the Toyota Tacoma and the Honda Ridgeline, there's at last room again for a baby Ford truck. Ford pulled the Ranger from the US market seven years ago so the company could focus on its full-size F-Series pickup.

Back then, the cheap but dependable Ranger was the best-selling truck of its size.

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

The Ford factory is still closed, but everything else has changed.

In addition, it introduces a new feature to Ford's range.

The Ford Ranger has been launched in the U.S. to satisfy burgeoning demand in the mid-size pick-up truck market.

Two and four-wheel drive versions of the returning Ranger will be available-a truck that, by the way, has been continuously sold outside of the USA since 1998-all with Ford's new ten-speed automatic transmission developed with Chevy.

The 2016 Ford Ranger Wildtrak, a double cab in a league of its own.

The company gradually realized there was still USA demand for a smaller, easy-to-maneuver pickup. Automakers have learned how to iron out powerful engines and make them fuel efficient while teaching themselves how to wrangle daily drivability, off-road ability, and delivery truck utility into a single package and deliver it to customers, who moan "we want it allll" like undead zombies, with a bow on top. Ford says this was driven by customer demand, but we suspect USA crash requirements also may have been a factor, though Ford denies this. Ranger appears to be sharing most of its exterior with the global model, but the front clip design does offer a unique twist that ties the truck to the 2018 F-150. "The Ranger will not just carry their adventure gear".

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Like the F-150 Raptor, the Ranger gets Ford's Terrain Management System featuring normal, grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand modes. Called Trail Control, it engages at speeds from 1 to 20 miles per hour and can be slowed to a new speed (instead of disengaged) by applying the brake. Although long available in other countries, the Ranger has been absent from North America in both sales and production since 2011.

The truck sits on a high-strength steel frame with frame-mounted steel front and rear bumpers; the rear bumper has an integrated trailer hitch receiver. Compared to the Ranger that's been sold outside the United States, the front of the 2019 US-spec Ranger gets a new grille, headlights and bumper.

Powering the Ranger is a twin-scroll turbocharged, 16-valve DOHC direct-injected 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

"Ranger's proven 2.3-liter EcoBoost provides a torquetarget on par with competing V6 engines, but with the efficiency of a four-cylinder", Thai-Tang said. The only available gearbox is a ten-speed automatic. Unlike the Tacoma, Ford won't offer a manual transmission.

Ford didn't reveal towing and payload numbers, but said it's targeting "best in class". Two body styles are set to be offered: the SuperCab and the larger SuperCrew. That will suit Dan MacLeod, 28, an insurance broker from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, who wants room for auto seats and a bed that will fit his hunting and fishing gear.

As the domestic automakers chased bigger profits on their full-size trucks 'round about a decade ago, they let their mid-size pickups die on the vine.

But other fans are already dismissing the new Ranger. TL;DR: today's Ranger was yesterday's F-150.

Stephanie Brinley, a senior analyst with IHS, says as long as consumer confidence remains strong - and it was at a 17-year high in November - there will be a niche market for rugged trucks like the Ranger.

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