Ford has been touting the 2011 F-150 with a hodgepodge of new engines, but what of the Ranger? Here in America, Ranger production is slated to end in 2011 while the rest of the world gets a train-towing bad boy.
Under the hood of the global Ranger (codename T6) is a 3.2 liter inline-five cylinder turbo diesel engine with 190 horsepower and a whooping 346 ft-lbs of torque. This vehicle is designed for markets like Australia, Asia, and other places where full-size pickups are not used or needed. The irony for me is that Ford is big into this whole “One Ford” global platform gig where vehicles sold in different countries will have similar parts. So selling the global Ranger in America is a matter of swapping out a few parts. And while Ford’s own EcoBoost V6 makes substantially more power and torque, this is the light-duty diesel engine so many Americans have been clamoring for in their small trucks. So what the hell is it doing in a truck that will never see American shores? Why, just pulling a 160-ton locomotive engine. Yes, 160 tons. Gee, why would Americans ever want that?
The Blue Oval has stated that, since the new global Ranger is so close in size to the F-150, it would be ending Ranger production in America. Indeed, many Ford Ranger owners bought the Ranger because it was (at the time) one of Ford’s cheapest vehicular offerings. In recent years though, as automakers trended first towards oversized SUV’s, and then towards fuel efficiency, the Ranger hasn’t really found a place to fit. Indeed, Ford and other automakers are working to improve fuel efficiency and trim down the weight of their full-size trucks while all but ignoring the small-truck market. The current Ranger is neither big, nor fuel efficient, nor particularly powerful due to its selection of ancient engines. I get that.
What I don’t get is why they think Americans don’t want a smaller truck? Indian truck maker Mahindra thinks there is a market for small trucks with light duty diesel engines, and I do too. For me, an F-150 is too much truck (though I love them), and the current Ranger is too little truck. Plus its ugly, old, and gets remarkably crappy gas mileage in 4×4 configuration. But the new, global-except-for-America Ranger is a damn good looking truck with a diesel engine. Yes, I know, Ford is hot on the EcoBoost engines, but does that mean we should get denied diesels too? Hell, I’ll take the old Ranger with the new diesel engine if that’s what it takes. Maybe Ford will reconsider, but I won’t hold my breath.
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.