The folks as TopSpeed have put their thinking caps on to imagine what Ford has in mind for the new Ford Ranger midsize truck when it finally comes to America, probably as a 2018 model. Ford is planning to move production of its Focus and C-Max vehicles to a new factory in Mexico. That will make room for US production of the Ranger and perhaps a new Ford Bronco as well to begin.
The Ranger is already on sale in most markets around the world, but Ford couldn’t build a business case for manufacturing it in the US until it reached a comprehensive agreement with the United Auto Workers on how to shift some production to Mexico while retaining manufacturing jobs in North America. That agreement was achieved and ratified by the UAW late last year.
The Ranger is offered in three versions globally — regular cab, extended cab, and crew cab. TopSpeed theorizes that Ford will opt to make the regular cab part of its US offering. It points out that there is no midsize regular cab pickup truck currently available in that market from any other manufacturer.
It also notes that the cost of full size pickups has soared in the past few years. There is a strong market for an entry level work truck in XL trim for “contractors, pool guys, and municipal workers” who don’t need a full size, fully loaded vehicle for their daily chores.
Whether Ford will decide to offer the 4 door crew cab version is unknown at this time. It seems likely a buyer who wants the ability to carry 5 people to a job site would opt for the larger F150 over the Ranger. On the other hand, people with families may appreciate the ability to use the Ranger as a truck and a passenger vehicle.
Ford offers several diesel options in other markets, but will probably only offer the 3.2 liter 5 cylinder turbodiesel in North America. That engine is already available in the US-spec Transit van. TopSpeed thinks the 2.3 liter 4 cylinder EcoBoost engine will be standard with the 2.7 liter EcoBoost V-6 as the top choice. A 6 speed manual or 6 speed automatic will likely be offered along with two wheel and four wheel drive options.
Visually, the new Ranger should look very muck like the trucks Ford offers in other markets. The only questions are whether the roof rack and style bar options available in those other markets will make it into US production. There will probably be two or more front end treatments to distinguish entry level from up market versions of the Ranger, just as Ford does with the F150.
Interest in the new Ranger runs high. While the F150 is an excellent truck, it has grown in size over the years. Many buyers still crave a smaller, more agile truck for daily use — one that doesn’t need a three point turn to get into a parking space at Home Depot. What also has shoppers excited is the possibility the new Ranger will also be the basis of reborn Bronco based on the same chassis. Ford has a lot of brand equity wrapped up in the Ranger and Bronco nameplates. TopSpeed foresees strong interest in both when — and if — they make it into Ford showrooms soon.