Ford Ranger: Coming (Back) to America

An experimental Ford Fusion self-driving delivery car is displayed shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

An experimental Ford Fusion self-driving delivery car is displayed shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Ford Motor Co on Sunday will officially take the wraps off its long-awaited Ranger midsize pickup truck, a year ahead of its arrival in showrooms, as rivals consolidate positions in a segment Detroit automakers once gave up for dead. The Ranger also borrows some of the full-size truck's running gear.

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. The steel front and rear bumpers are mounted to its frame, while the high belt line, raked grille and windshield, and short overhangs both look suitably purposeful while helping with things like clearing obstacles. Automakers have learned how to iron out powerful engines and make them fuel efficient while teaching themselves how to wrangle daily drivability, off-road ability, and delivery truck utility into a single package and deliver it to customers, who moan "we want it allll" like undead zombies, with a bow on top. That package provides part-time four-wheel drive, a steel skid plate up front, other steel underbody skid plates, off-road shocks and tires, and Magnetic Grey trim accents.

An electronic Terrain Management System adjusts the drivetrain to any type of surface or condition. Though it's similar to the software on the F-150 Raptor, the Ranger's TMS gets four modes: Normal; Grass, Gravel and Snow; Mud and Ruts; and Sand. Each will have its own throttle and transmission mapping, together with adjusting factors like traction, drivability, and performance. And while Ford left it unsaid, the new Ranger will be better-suited than the F-150 for all the car-sharing programs we're likely to see in the '20s. Think of this as cruise-control blended with a hill-descent control system.

The Ranger retains body-on-frame construction and has standard steel bumpers, a solid rear axle and Dana differentials. Intended for low-speed and tricky terrain, it handles acceleration and braking for each wheel individually, leaving the driver to focus on steering. Curb weight ranges from 4,066 pounds for the non-North America standard cab, to as much as 4,875 pounds, which still is more than 600 pounds lighter than a Ford F-150 Platinum 4×4 Super Crew. Automatic Emergency Braking is standard, while lane keeping assistance and departure warnings, a reverse sensing system, and blind-spot warnings with trailer coverage are standard once you get to XLT and Lariat trim.

No less cosmopolitan than the front suspension design, the 2019 Ford Ranger has been fitted with an 8-inch touchscreen with Ford's latest SYNC 3 infotainment system, while both a premium audio system from B&O PLAY and an embedded 4G LTE modem will be available.

A display demonstrates the sensors and technology behind self-driving cars during a conference showcasing artificial intelligence deep learning virtual reality and autonomous machines in Washington
Detroit Auto Show: The 2019 Ford Ranger is a high tech little truck

Ford+Alexa provides a personal assistant in the truck.

Exterior options will include puddle lamps, cargo bed lighting, LED headlights and taillights, and Ford's Smart Trailer Tow connector that alerts the driver to faulty trailer connections. Three trim levels will be available as well: XL, XLT and Lariat, with the FX4 Off-Road Package available on any of them.

The 2019 Ranger Lariat also throws in pre-collision assistance with pedestrian detection, together with adaptive cruise control.

Ford will build the new '19 Ranger beginning early next year, famously, at its Michigan Assembly Plant in the City of Wayne, where it now produces the Focus and C-Max.

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