Before the Ford Ranger, there was the Ranchero, a car-based two-door truck in the same vein as the famed Chevy El Camino. Ford hasn’t built a new Ranchero in the U.S. since 1979, but the Blue Oval is considering a new small pickup for the American market. Since it won’t be the global Ranger we’re big fans of, perhaps the Ranchero name could make a comeback instead?
USA Today says that Ford is mulling a new compact pickup that would be even smaller than the mid-size GM twins, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. This new truck would also be smaller than the Ford Ranger sold overseas, which Ford says is about 90% of the size of the last-generation F-150. There’s too much overlap to make a business case, according to Ford. But an even smaller truck? There might be room in the Ford lineup for that, and the Ranchero name might take the place of the long-loved Ranger.
Of course there’s no saying the Ranchero name would be used over the Ranger, only that it’d be a cool nod of nostalgia to the Ford of yesteryear. That said, Ford’s truck manager David Scott told USA Today that a new vehicle would likely use a unibody construction, rather than the traditional body-on-frame truck design, which opens up the door for a car-based truck design, possibly with front-wheel drive. While this might not be great for off-road, it’d do wonders for fuel economy and allow for a much lighter curb weight as well.
David Scott says that a compact pickup that got up to 8 MPG better than the F-150, and for $5,000 or $6,000 less, would do well with Ford’s current lineup, and I have to say I agree. I often long for the utility of a truck bed, but my daily driving needs require a more fuel frugal vehicle to keep me out of the poorhouse. The F-150 is more truck than I’ll need in 99% of my daily living, and I know plenty of people who feel the same. Is it any wonder that orders for the GM mid-size truck twins are already exceeding expectations?
Yet I’d much prefer something even smaller and more efficient, like the size of the last Ranger or even smaller. I’m picturing a 35 MPG two-door with front or all-wheel drive, a five-foot bed, and EcoBoost engine options galore. This is probably an even better solution than the global Ranger if I’m being honest, and I’d sacrifice that train-pulling diesel for a fresh and efficient compact pickup.