Ford launches new Ranger bakkie

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

Midsize truck fans: Ford will reveal the all-new 2019 Ford Ranger at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The last model sold here hadn't been updated in what seemed like decades, and the average Ford truck buyer could get almost the same gas mileage from a V-6 F-150 (and run it on cheap gas), with a bigger cargo box and much better towing capacity for a few bucks a month more. The Ford says the midsize-pickup market has grown by 83 percent since 2014.

It's a real truck.

To cope, the Blue Oval took the same architecture it uses for the global Ranger and reworked it, filling its new steel frame with US-specific components. Ditto the double-wishbone front suspension. Power steering will be electronically-assisted. The 2019 Ford Ranger will come in either SuperCab or the larger SuperCrew cab. This includes an aluminum hood and tailgate, aluminum front fenders, a fresh front-end design, different doors, and of course, a unique powertrain. That's an attitude American customers expect from a truck, he said.

The traditional argument against mid-size pickups is that they're not much cheaper than fullsize trucks, which offer more capability. Ford was expected to hold a press conference Sunday afternoon. Now, in the metal, we can see the results of this new, midsize truck, and it's shaping up to be something pretty special. "The Ranger will not just carry their adventure gear". While Ford made no mention of a diesel engine, the rest of the world enjoys their Rangers with a turbo-diesel 3.2-liter five-cylinder engine, which wasn't rated by the EPA until the new Ford Transit van showed up sporting one.

Powering the new vehicle will be a 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine which will be paired with a 10-speed auto transmission. The crank and rods are forged steel.

All-wheel-drive versions of the Ford Ranger outsold those for Australia's best-selling trade ute, the Toyota Hilux in 2017, 36,932 sales to 35,297, VFACTS figures show.

Ford didn't skimp on the on-road tech, either. You want the off-road packs, trust us. It comes with a two-speed transfer case, Dana electronic locking rear differential and Ford's Terrain Management System. It features four drive modes of normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand. Mud/ruts carries with it the throttle numbing, while also throwing the drivetrain into 4-Hi for truck stuff. Think of it like cruise control, but for off-road driving. An off-road drive assist technology maintains speed as low as 1 miles per hour and as high as 20 miles per hour, in any transfer-case setting. A rear camera and emergency braking are standard, and pre-collision assist, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control are available.

Sync3 is available on the vehicle, as well as available FordPass with a WiFi hotspot.

Ford's Blind Spot Information System-standard on XLT and Lariat-will cover trailers. The truck is making its first appearance back on U.S. soil since 2011 and one that is well received by a large faithful following.

Ranger will arrive early next year in three trims: XL, XLT and Lariat. Horizontal elements within the dashboard help to accentuate the width of the interior. The FX2 variant gets all of the above, but only two powered wheels.

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