Mustang versus Camaro is a classic Ford versus Chevy matchup, but the two automakers once battled one another in the U.S. in the compact/midsize truck segment, too. Once the 2019 Ranger arrives, the award-winning Chevrolet Colorado, popular Toyota Tacoma, and others will have fresh competition from Ford, which already builds the best-selling truck in the U.S. Will they have anything to worry about? Keep reading for our best guesses on what to expect for the 2019 Ranger truck (recent European-spec Rangers are shown in this article).
Think Colorado/Tacoma, Not Ridgeline
Ford has already confirmed the 2019 Ranger will be a traditional body-on-frame truck based on the pickup’s global platform because the nameplate lived on around the world after it was discontinued in the U.S. following the 2011 model year. Years ago, an F-100 model was rumored to be a possible entry-level replacement, but the Ranger name has survived (in the U.S. and abroad) to see another generation.
A Ranger of Engines
Although Ford is preparing a diesel for the 2018 F-150 and Chevrolet offers a diesel-powered Colorado, the 2019 Ranger’s volume engines will likely include at least one EcoBoost gas-powered variant. A more powerful version of Ford’s 2.5-liter naturally aspirated I-4 could serve as the base engine (in the Fusion, it makes 175 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque).
Most will skip that engine option, instead choosing what might be a version of the automaker’s new 3.3-liter naturally aspirated V-6. In the 2018 F-150, the engine will produce 280 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque. For comparison, the 2017 Colorado’s 3.6-liter V-6 is good for 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. A third engine option could include a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo-four (good for 310 hp and 320 lb-ft with 93-octane fuel in the Mustang), the automaker’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost turbo-six, or a diesel.
No Regular-Cab Rangers
None of the 2019 Ford Ranger’s competitors currently offer a regular-cab body style, and we expect the Ranger’s lineup in the U.S. to start with the SuperCab two-door body style in the low $20,000 range, with a four-door SuperCrew model available for a few thousand more.
Ready to Tow
We’ve enjoyed watching the specs rivalries among the Detroit Three automakers’ heavy-duty trucks, and Ford will definitely want to be in the mix with the 2019 Ranger. The 2017 Colorado with a V-6 can tow as much as 7,000 pounds, and the Colorado diesel ups that rating to 7,700 pounds. The 2017 Tacoma with its V-6 is rated to tow up to 6,800 pounds. Considering the gas-powered Colorado’s ratings, count on the 2019 Ranger to tow at least 7,100 pounds in the right configuration.
The Loaded Ranger
Higher trim levels will likely be offered with an 8.0-inch touchscreen that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A rearview camera will be standard, and the highest trim could offer heated/ventilated seats, trailer sway control, LED headlights, and LED lighting in the truck bed. Ford has found success with higher trim levels on other vehicles including the F-150 and Fusion, and we expect one on the Ranger, too.
Capability has always been more of a focus than safety when it comes to trucks, but Ford has an opportunity here. The European-spec Ranger already offers a full suite of active safety tech, which includes emergency braking assist and lane keeping assist systems. The 2017 Tacoma and 2017 Colorado are currently rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at four stars out of a possible five stars.
Ford’s popular F-150 Raptor has served as a great halo car for the automaker, and we wonder whether it will allow the Colorado ZR2 or even the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon go unchallenged. Should we expect a lifted Ranger with beefy tires and upgraded off-road equipment to match that of the Colorado ZR2? If not in the first model year, it’s a possibility after the Ranger relaunches in the U.S., along with the Bronco SUV about a year later.