Ford Edge debuts fresh styling at Detroit Auto Show

Lester Mason
January 14, 2018

At the 2017 North American International Auto Show, Ford announced it would be returning to the North-American mid-size pickup segment with a Ranger. Ford pulled the truck from the North American market in 2011, and the automaker has been on the sidelines as the midsize truck segment has grown 83% since 2014 to 452,000 sales past year, he notes.

Analysts have said Ford might cut into F-150 sales by releasing the Ranger in the USA, but Ford executives have said F-150 shoppers are typically completely different from those who'd look to buy a Ranger. And while Ford left it unsaid, the new Ranger will be better-suited than the F-150 for all the car-sharing programs we're likely to see in the '20s. Ranger seems like a better platform for the Raptor pickup, however.

"It was politically correct to cast aside pickups at the time", says Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis for the market research firm AutoPacific. Ford is profitable and has the cash to invest in new vehicles. Automakers sold 448,000 midsize pickups in the 2016; that's forecast to grow to 470,000 in 2019, according to the consulting company IHS Markit.

The all-new, 2019 Ford Ranger for North America could hardly have come at a better time; according to Ford, mid-size truck sales has grown by 83% in the United States since 2014, while the automaker's had nothing to offer in the segment.

The company is making no secret of the shared DNA between Ranger and the F-Series models, a homage that is paid even in exterior design.

The company gradually realized there was still USA demand for a smaller, easy-to-maneuver pickup. So much demand, in fact, that GM shifted van production out of its Wentzville, Missouri, plant so it could make more midsize trucks. That's an attitude American customers expect from a truck, he said. By contrast, the Colorado starts at $20,200.

Those marketing the vehicle said they're hoping the Ranger hits a sweet spot between F-150 buyers, and people who were looking for a smaller Ford vehicle. It includes four distinct drive modes - normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand. Dubbed Trail Control, it's effectively cruise control but for off-road use. To protect precious Kayaks and mini Airstreams, drivers need only go into the instrument cluster and manually input the length of their trailer (33 feet tops) the first time they hook it up. The truck has a steel frame and steel bumpers.

The company is leaning on its reputation for trucks for the North American relaunch of a truck it once sold hundreds of thousands of. Under the twin-power dome hood is a 2.3-liter twin-scroll turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder that sends an undisclosed amount of power and torque to the wheels exclusively through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Ford says that will give the truck the power of a V6 engine with the fuel economy of a four-cylinder. The new Selectshift 10-speed automatic is standard. No manual will be offered. SuperCab Rangers will have the longer of the two beds, while SuperCrew (full two door) Rangers will only get the shorter bed. That will suit Dan MacLeod, 28, an insurance broker from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, who wants room for vehicle seats and a bed that will fit his hunting and fishing gear. In a departure from the original Ranger, the 2019 truck will have plenty of driver-assistance tech too.

But other fans are already dismissing the new Ranger. "The all-new Ranger is designed for today's midsize truck buyer, delivering even more utility, capability and technology for those who blend city living with more off-the-grid adventures on weekends".

"If I had the capital for a new pickup, an F-150 would be the first place I'd look", Orians said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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