New facelifted 2018 Ford Ranger pick-up revealed

2019 Ford Ranger EMBARGOED DO NOT USE

Detroit Auto Show: The 2019 Ford Ranger is a high tech little truck

The Ford Ranger has just been revealed in Detroit ahead of the North American International Auto Show.

Eight years after discontinuing its smallest truck offering, Ford is bringing back the Ranger pick-up for the 2019 model year. Ford pulled the Ranger from the US market seven years ago so the company could focus on its full-size F-Series pickup.

Production is expected to start late this year in MI with sales starting in early 2019.

The company is leaning on its reputation for trucks for the North American relaunch of a truck it once sold hundreds of thousands of. Ranger appears to be sharing most of its exterior with the global model, but the front clip design does offer a unique twist that ties the truck to the 2018 F-150.

Close examination will reveal miniscule variances between the '19 Ranger for the USA market and the ones Ford sells globally, and those tiny differences speak volumes about the kind of quality the Dearborn automaker is building into its new midsize truck.

"Ranger has always held a special place in the hearts of truck fans", said Ford's boss of product development and purchasing, Hau Thai-Tang. The Ford says the midsize-pickup market has grown by 83 percent since 2014.

Here are notable facts about the 2019 Ranger. Power and fuel economy haven't been revealed, but Ford trucks marketing chief Todd Eckert says it's targeting a best-in-class torque rating among gasoline engines. The 2019 Ford Ranger will come in either SuperCab or the larger SuperCrew cab. Customers will also have the option of choosing from three available packages: Chrome, Sport, and FX2/FX4 Off-Road.

The truck sits on a high-strength steel frame with a double wishbone front suspension and parabolic rear leaf springs. The tailgate is aluminum, with the handle lifted for "usability". The truck was designed with an athletic look in mind, which truck buyers favor.

The Ranger nameplate stamped in the tailgate conveys strength, and the tailgate itself is created to handle people and cargo. It includes off-road tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, a frame-mounted heavy-gauge bash plate, and frame-mounted skid plates.

Furthermore, Rangers equipped with the FX4 Off-Road Package get a Terrain Management System similar to the F-150 Raptor's with four drive modes (normal; grass, gravel, and snow; mud and ruts; sand) for increased capability in all terrains. Lane keep assist and lane departure warning will be standard on the XLT and Lariat, and automatic cruise control will be standard on the Lariat. The Ranger features styling and performance both inside and outside, which means this truck should preform well both on the pavement and in the dirt. The center stack includes an 8-inch touch-screen system. Sales peaked in 1999 at around 350,000 but dropped steadily until its final year in 2011, when Ford sold 70,832.

Ford is reintroducing the Ranger to the USA market, coming in as what it would call a mid-size pickup truck. Ford raised President Trump's ire when it announced it was moving Focus production to a new plant, since cancelled, in Mexico. The C-Max will be discontinued once Michigan Assembly is retooled to make the Ranger and the 2020 Bronco.

It's going to be another a big year for utes with updates to most models, including new flagship models for the Toyota Hilux and a HSV Colorado.

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