Detroit auto present: Ford debuts 2019 Ranger with all-terrain choices

Detroit auto present: Ford debuts 2019 Ranger with all-terrain choices

Expect a fresh exterior, steel front and rear bumpers mounted to the steel frame for enhanced durability, a 2.3-liter engine, a front "bash plate", a 10-speed automatic transmission unique to the segment and a power-train specifically created to satisfy rugged consumer tastes in North America.

Ford says the Ranger will initially be offered in XL, XLT and Lariat configurations.

The Ranger for North America rides on a completely re-engineered, fully boxed, high-strength-steel frame with six crossmembers to meet North American safety and stiffness requirements, says Rick Bolt, chief program engineer. The suspension ought to provide a competent ride, thanks to monotube dampers in all four corners and a short-long arm front suspension design. Marketing-speak translation: Ford wants buyers willing to splurge on the Ranger because they think it's cool, even if they in no way need a pickup truck. At the time, Ford executives said they could satisfy pickup truck demand - and make more money - by widening the price range and engine options of its larger F-150 pickup model line. "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". The crank and rods are forged steel. The new Selectshift 10-speed automatic is standard.

Power is distributed through DanaAdvanTEK independent front and solid rear axles on both 2WD and 4WD models with an available electronic-locking rear differential (standard on FX2 and FX4) for increased all-terrain traction. Every four-wheel drive Ranger also includes 2-high, 4-high, and 4-low.

Ford didn't skimp on the on-road tech, either. You want the off-road packs, trust us. The FX4 package includes Ford's Terrain Management System introduced on the F-150 Raptor. It's been programmed with four modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Rut, and Sand.

However, in late 2014, GM launched new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Sierra pickups, and Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co reinvigorated their midsize pickup trucks, aiming at customers who wanted to haul bikes, surfboards and other bulky recreational gear, not sheets of plywood. Intended for low-speed and tricky terrain, it handles acceleration and braking for each wheel individually, leaving the driver to focus on steering. Where it differs from a cruise control is that pressing the brake while it's activated doesn't deactivate it but rather, brings the cruise speed down to whatever the driver slows to.

Sync3 is available on the vehicle, as well as available FordPass with a WiFi hotspot. The Lariat will also get Adaptive Cruise Control and Pedestrian Detection.

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. Front fenders and doors carryover, while the rear quarters only undergo slight changes.

The interior is textbook Ford truck, with a smart looking instrument cluster and familiar center stack. (We weren't allowed to climb inside, as the models on display are preproduction.) There's waterproof storage under the second-row seating. The FX4 off road package will offer upgraded tires, a steel front bash plate, reinforced, frame-mounted skid plates underneath to protect vital drivetrain components, off road tuned shocks, and the previously mentioned E-locking DANA rear differential.

The new Ranger will start arriving in North American dealerships in early 2019 and be assembled at its Wayne, Michigan, factory in suburban Detroit.

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