Ford Ranger debuts at Detroit auto show

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The Ranger has an all-new exterior design, chassis, and powertrain.

No changes have been made to the Ranger's design, but it features a bespoke chassis set-up to cater to United States tasted and uses Ford's 2.3-litre Ecoboost petrol engine, as opposed to one of the diesel units offered in the UK.

It's a sweet homecoming after a years-long absence. Designed originally in Australia, it's now become a truly global vehicle with its arrival in North America. It will play catch-up to Chevy and GMC which have capitalized on a with their successful Colorado and Canyon models.

This is it: one of the most iconic nameplates in trucks has returned to the USA, with the covers taken off the 2019 Ford Ranger at the Detroit Auto Show today. A dial bears labels for mud, ruts, sand, grass, gravel and snow. Think of this as cruise-control blended with a hill-descent control system. It monitors and assesses slippage on loose terrain.

We've seen spy photos of various versions of the Ranger over the past year, but this is our first chance to see it without any sort of camouflage hiding the details of the design. Ford says this was driven by customer demand, but we suspect USA crash requirements also may have been a factor, though Ford denies this. There are short overhangs to further enhance performance by providing better clearance for off-roading and maneuvering around obstacles.

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Steel bumpers are standard and the tailgate is strong enough to sit on. Buyers will see the Sync 3 infotainment system, LCD gauge cluster screens, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, optional navigation, AC power outlets and USB outlets.

Ford will offer the Ranger here in Super Cab and Super Crew body styles. "Last year, small trucks had their best year since 2009, and the familiarity of the Ranger nameplate will help Ford quickly attract interested shoppers".

A side view of the 2019 Ford Ranger.

The vehicle has been a bestseller in South Africa, Europe and New Zealand - where it is often used as an easy-to-maneuver work truck.

Ford gave the 2019 model year of this mid-size pickup, which disappeared from US shores after the 2011 model year, a grand debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Unlike Rangers found in, say, Australia, ours gets a more muscular body courtesy of a raised belt line that compliments a raked grille and windshield to combine strength with the logical art of aerodynamics.

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If you've spent any time outside the USA or Canada in the last decade, you've likely seen a new Ranger - it's the best-selling pickup in Europe.

When it comes time to take the Ranger off-road, the FX4 Off-Road Package offers multiple enhancements to make this truck more capable where the pavement ends. Ford was expected to hold a press conference Sunday afternoon.

"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. Despite the 10-speed transmission where a rotary control selector could be possible, the Ranger gets a sportier transmission lever in the center console.

The company noted that Ranger comes in entry-level XL, mid-level XLT and high-level Lariat trim series with available Chrome and Sport appearance and FX Off-Road packages, and in SuperCab or SuperCrewcab configurations.

As for safety, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking will be standard. Pricing will be announced closer to the truck's release early in 2019, with production kicking off at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant later this year. First, this is a pure Ford product and not a combined effort with Mazda.

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