North America welcomes back the Ford Ranger after it stopped producing the ute in its last generation eight years ago. The MY2019 model is also our first look at some of the styling changes expected to come when our Thai-made Ranger lands locally later this year.
America's Michigan-built ute brings the blue oval a new midsize truck competitor to a segment that’s grown by 83 per over the last three years and currently cornered by the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins.
Styling changes for the latest PX Ranger are mild and consists of new LED headlights, restyled bumper and bonnet, different grille options and capitalised ‘Ranger’ text the across the tailgate.
Some alloy and grille parts will remain unchanged while the FX4, shown here, adds new alloys and a black grille.
Most of the Ranger’s facelift is expected to feature on the Australian version but bigger changes for the US-spec model is that it will be powered exclusively by the Mustang and Focus RS’s 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission with manual override function.
Ford states fuel-consumption concerns as reason for its smaller and exclusive engine offering.
"Ranger’s proven 2.3-liter EcoBoost provides a torque target on par with competing V6 engines, but with the efficiency of a four-cylinder," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford executive vice president of product development and purchasing.
"When you pair that with its 10-speed transmission, you’ve got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment."
Our current 2.2-litre four-cylinder and 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel engines will likely remain unchanged but the new range-topping Ranger Raptor, to be unveiled in Bangkok next month, will be powered by a new 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder engine producing around 150kW and 470Nm in front of a 10-speed automatic.
The US-Ranger comes in three model variants, XL, XLT and Lariat, and also sees the return of the FX4 Off-Road pack which adds high-strength front-mounted bash plate, frame-mounted skid rails, off-road tuned suspension, all-terrain tyres, unique terrain management system adapted from the F-150 Raptor and off-road-tuned cruise control.
The models also autonomous emergency braking for the first time in its class as well as adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring and automatic high beams.
Inside appears fairly unchanged, with the same 8.0-inch Sync3 infotainment and dual-digital TFT driver instrument panel shown, but Alexa personal assistant and 4G LTE for 10-spot WiFi will make a debut.
The updated Ford Ranger for Australia will be previewed next month when the Ranger Raptor is unveiled ahead of an expected launch around September 2018.
See the new Ranger FX4 in action below:
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