2019 Ford Ranger Preview
By Christian Wardlaw, January 14, 2018
- Midsize pickup truck in extended- and crew-cab styles
- Turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine
- 10-speed automatic transmission
- 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive
- XL, XLT, and Lariat trims
- Built in Michigan
Midsize truck buyers will be happy to know that Ford is returning the Ranger to its U.S. lineup. Though the company sells this nameplate in various global markets, the new 2019 Ford Ranger that is coming to North America has unique exterior design, chassis tuning, and a powertrain specific to customer preferences in this region of the world.
When it goes on sale toward the end of 2018, the 2019 Ranger will be offered in XL, XLT, and Lariat trim applied to SuperCab or SuperCrew styles equipped with 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive. SuperCabs will have a 6-foot cargo bed, while SuperCrews get a 5-foot bed.
Though it is based on the global Ford Ranger, the one that is bound for North American shores gets new exterior sheetmetal. Think of it as “F-150 Lite.”
Ford says it will come with frame-mounted steel bumpers, with an available integrated rear trailer hitch. Also, the tailgate is designed to hold people or cargo when lowered. Options include LED headlights, LED taillights, puddle lighting, and cargo bed lighting.
Inside, the Ranger’s cabin features a no-nonsense layout rendered in conservative design.
Instrumentation looks just like what you’d find in a Ford Fusion, complete with comprehensive and configurable driver information displays. The available 8-inch Sync 3 infotainment system is paired with large power/volume and tuning knobs to make using the radio easy.
Below these, the available dual-zone automatic climate control system is operated using buttons and rocker switches. Knobs for temperature adjustment would be an improvement. Heated front seats are an option.
Ford has announced that it will offer a Chrome Appearance Package, a Sport Appearance Package, and FX2 Package, and an FX4 Package for the new 2019 Ranger.
Among them, the only package that the company defines is the FX4 Package. It includes a locking rear differential (also included with FX2), frame-mounted skid plates, a frame-mounted steel front bash plate, an off-road-tuned suspension, all-terrain tires, Terrain Management traction control, and new Trail Control, which is explained in the next section.
Under the Hood:
For the North American market, the new Ford Ranger is equipped with a direct-injected and turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. To improve durability, the engine employs forged steel for the crankshaft and connecting rods, and uses chain-driven cams.
A 10-speed automatic is standard, ensuring that the engine is both as efficient as possible and as responsive as possible. Ford is also claiming that the new Ranger will supply segment-leading towing capacity, which means it must exceed the 7,700 pounds supplied by the diesel-powered Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon.
The drivetrain is nestled within a high-strength steel frame, and Ford says it made a priority of maximizing ground clearance to facilitate off-road adventuring. The Ranger’s Terrain Management system offers driver-selectable Normal, Sand, Mud and Ruts, and Grass, Gravel and Snow mode settings. These adjust throttle response, transmission gearing, and traction systems to maximize performance on specific surfaces.
New Trail Control technology is like cruise control for low-speed travel on rugged terrain. It handles acceleration and braking while the driver focuses on steering.
Automatic emergency braking is standard equipment for the 2019 Ranger. Upgrade from XL to XLT trim, and the truck adds a reverse sensing system, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitoring with trailer coverage. Lariat trim includes adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning and pedestrian detection.
In addition to the dual LCD driver information displays within the instrumentation, the new Ranger is available with a Sync 3 infotainment system. It includes an 8-inch touchscreen display, and is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, as well as Ford+Alexa voice assistant technology. A navigation system is an additional upgrade.
Beyond Sync 3, the Ranger is available with FordPass Connect services including a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices, and a B&O Play premium sound system. A Smart Trailer Tow Connector lets the driver know when trailer connections are faulty.