Ford Motor Co. pulled the curtain off the new 2019 Ranger, bringing the midsize pickup back to North America for the first time since 2011. Power steering will be electronically-assisted. SuperCab Rangers will have the longer of the two beds, while SuperCrew (full two door) Rangers will only get the shorter bed. That's proven by the fact that both the front and rear bumpers are bolted directly to the frame. Ford says that the truck will not be in dealer showrooms until early 2019, giving competitors another year to solidify their gains in a class they now have to themselves. It will be powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine paired to the only 10-speed automatic transmission in the segment. The lack of a stripper model with plastic wheel well trim pieces leads us to believe that higher-volume, lower-profit fleet sales/work truck sales aren't as high of a priority.
Running gear will include sh8ft on the fly four-wheel drive, a locking electronic differential and Dana axles.
Being that not every new, adventurous Ranger owner will have much off-road experience, Ford plans to offer a few pieces of tech on the FX packages to ensure that owners still have a decent chance to get where they're going, skillset be damned. That has four drive modes - normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand - that can be flipped between while the Ranger is in motion. Grass/gravel/snow simply numbs throttle response. 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.
In addition, the FX4 also gets Ford's brand-new Trail Control system, which allows the driver to set a speed between 1 and 20 miles per hour that the truck will automatically maintain on the trail, taking care of the throttle and braking on its own. Dubbed Trail Control, it's effectively cruise control but for off-road use. 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.
Automatic Emergency Braking will be standard on all models of the new truck, while Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Reverse Sensing System, and BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with trailer coverage will be standard on the XLT and Lariat. The onboard modem will give owners the power to access their Rangers remotely via the FordPass smartphone app, and at the same time, provide a mobile WiFi hotspot for up to ten devices.
The new Ranger will offer almost as many electronic safety systems as the rest of the Ford lineup, including standard forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
A side view of the 2019 Ford Ranger.
The interior is textbook Ford truck, with a smart looking instrument cluster and familiar center stack. This package will add off-road suspension and shocks, aggressive tires, skid plates, a Terrain Management system akin to the one in the Ford F-150 Raptor, and a new Trail Control system. (We weren't allowed to climb inside, as the models on display are preproduction.) There's waterproof storage under the second-row seating.
The retooling is part of the $850 million investment Ford announced last March to revamp the Michigan Assembly Plant to build the Ranger and all-new Ford Bronco.
The Ranger will be available in three different trim levels- XL, XLT, and Lariat- in ascending order of price and included features.