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2019 Ford Ranger Gets 2.3L EcoBoost Engine, 10-Speed Transmission

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It’s been more than half a decade since Ford has offered North American customers a pickup smaller than its stalwart F-150, but that changes in 2019 because the Ranger is coming back!

Officially revealed at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, this truck is new from hood to hitch. It brings fresh design, more amenities, and greater capability to market than any Ranger that’s come before.

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Unlike the previous version, which was really the last true compact pickup on the market, this reborn 2019 model is a midsize truck. Ford is responding to growing customer demand by offering this rig in America.

According to Todd Eckert, the company’s truck group marketing manager, this segment grew by about 84 percent in 2017, accounting for more than 452,000 sales. That’s a significant number, and one the blue oval is no longer content leaving to Nissan, Toyota, and General Motors.

Additionally, full-size truck pricing has gotten out of control in recent years, meaning a lot of potential buyers have been squeezed out of this segment. Ranger will be ready to answer the call when it launches early next year.

While this looks like little more than an Americanized version of the popular international Ranger, which was redesigned back in 2011, there’s more going on here than meets the eye.

“[It’s] not about bringing the global Ranger here and selling it in our dealerships,” said Eckert. Many changes have been made.

In fact, according to Max Wolff, the Ranger’s chief designer, every single body panel has been tweaked in some way, even if it was just to improve the panel-fitment gaps. “A lot of work went into refinement around the truck,” he said. Additionally, its hood and tailgate are made of aluminum and overall aerodynamics have been optimized for enhanced efficiency.

SEE ALSO: 2018 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

Wolff also said the frame-mounted steel bumpers are “unique to the North American market.” Helping it appeal to a broad swath of buyers, eight exterior colors and eight wheel designs will be offered, though curiously, no regular-cab model. It will only be available in SuperCab and SuperCrew configurations.

Proving its toughness, the new Ranger was subjected to the same rigorous durability resting as the larger F-150. It also rides atop an all-new, fully boxed, high-strength-steel frame that differs from what’s found underneath international versions. This should help the truck deliver a best-in-class payload rating, though no figures have been released.

Under hood, just one engine will be offered in North America, a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. If this sounds familiar, it should. A similar engine is used throughout Ford’s passenger-car range, though this one has been beefed up for truck duty.

“It’s a truck, it needs to be durable,” said Rick Bolt, chief program engineer of the North American Ford Ranger. And this powerplant has been strategically beefed up to meet the challenges of rigorous use. With a forged crankshaft and plenty of other enhancements, Bolt equated it to the second generation of this 2.3-liter engine.

ALSO SEE: 2018 Ford F-150 Review – First Drive

Like its big brother, the Ranger will feature Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission. In fact, it’s the only gearbox that will be offered. Unfortunately, a manual is not in the cards.

Further cribbing from the F-150’s playbook, this midsize pickup will be available with a host of innovative features including a blind-spot monitoring system that works even if you’re towing, a high-end B&O Play audio system, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and much more.

When the going gets tough, the Ranger should get going, thanks to its available terrain management system. With four discrete settings including normal, grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts and sand, it’s ready for just about any off-road situation.

Trail Control is also all new to Ford. Like cruise control for off-road driving, you pick a desired speed and it will maintain that through mud, down hills and over rocks. It can be set anywhere between 1 and 20 miles an hour.

The brand-new Ranger will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant. It’s slated to go on sale in the first quarter of 2019. At first glance, it looks like an extremely capable midsize truck, though as usual, we can’t say for certain because important details like pricing, fuel economy and engine performance figures have not been released.

Discuss this story on our Ford Forum

28 Comments

doomedby2020 says:

Go Ford! They seem to be cranking out some seriously good trucks these days……

redAvenger says:

I was certainly wishing for a great looking small truck with a v6 ecoboost and being a ford dude for 55years I thought this was the one. Nah, maybe the small Toyota crewcab long bed is it.

gregsfc says:

I was NOT hoping for the 2.7 even though I’m a fan; at least not as one of the cost-conscious offerings; maybe an FX4 or higher level for high performance wannabe’ers who don’t mind spending lots of dollars for a mid size truck. I also don’t like the idea of the 2.3, because I think it’s way over tuned for pickup truck duty; and unless it comes in with a lower hp number that would indicate detuning for truck duty versus it’s car offering, I would be scared of that engine for a work truck. I would be much more impressed with an all-new, latest and greatest, 2.7-3.0 four cylinder turbo with the GCI block. In other words, and all-new Ecoboost with many design and character elements like is seen with the 2.7 V6 TT, but less costly and more fuel economical by virtue of four cylinders and a single turbo and a made-for-truck-only engine. Horsepower just under 300, and torque peaking at 2500 RPM or so right around 330-350 just like what we’ll likely see with the 2.3, but if it were with more displacement, it would be less stressed, and so that’s what I’d have preferred. That’d make a perfect Ranger for people who are serious about truck-like performance and utility and durability and mpg. Then Ford can help make my truck choice more value-laden by making tons of money off those who would opt for a 2.7L V6 Ecoboost version in a monster truck version and another in a street rod version. They can take all the extra margin they make off that rocket ship and put it in to more value and better auto technologies for a better four cylinder turbo for sane people.

I’ve got that Ecoboost in an F150, and while it’s great, it’s an expensive offering compared to what Ford could offer; it’s got far to much horsepower than what I ever use even in a regular cab, 2WD, short bed pickup, and it’s also super sporty for a truck in that range, and that’d be okay for you muscle heads, but for serious pickup truck owners who want pickup trucks to start becoming a more rational choice, a bigger 4 cylinder turbo detuned or durability would have been the right prescription.

gregsfc says:

If Ford continues with the Ecoboost program, they need to move away from “V-type” motors. Why? Well, because the performance and efficiency advantages of V6 engines versus inline engines, although ultra smooth refinement, is minimized due to the refinement and performance enhancements provided via dual injection and turbo charging, and therefore costs (which is a major consideration for any power train program in so far as making them volume engines versus a niche engine for extra margin), could be lowered significantly with either less cylinders or cylinders inline and a single turbo, and any performance loss for the inline arrangement would be minimal and could be compensated for via slightly larger displacement, and efficiency losses would be minimal due to the way fuel is controlled via turbo charging, especially as we move in to more advanced cylinder deactivation systems which will most assuredly be part of the future of multi cylinder engines. Well, that is unless HCCI works out to be reliable and effective and cost effective, and then in the case of future HCCI engines, the entire industry produces a different type of combustion for all fleets that would set electrics back another decade of so. And if the latter occurs, then inline motors will definitely be the future as HCCI doesn’t seem to lend itself towards opposed cylinder arrangements.

badlandsnative says:

They have been talking about this outfit for several years. Always putting teasers out there. Was hoping to drive one in 2018. But the more updates I read think will forget about it. No price yet?? Right. The basic no frills rig will run over 25K. wait and see.

Dan Morrill says:

does this new 2.3L Ecoboost engine.. meet all the emission for 50 states??

Ron Soyka says:

I, too, am disappointed that they are going with the 2.3. I think it will be overstressed in the truck application. I was hoping they would do some magic with a 5 cylinder- gas or diesel. I dont see the 2.3 ecoboost producing 369 lb-fft of torque, and that seems to be the magic number in the segment. The Duramax in the Coloranyans does that, the Int’l Ranger Raptor with the 2.0 TDiesel does that. Maybe they will show us that in the US Ranger Raptor? Maybe they’ll drop the 2.7 ecoboost in that one? I was looking for an improvement over my Sport-trac, but I have the V8 and dont see this 2.3 as being a worthy replacement. Also, the 4WD systems in that era following the rollover crises were carefree for the driver: the sensors automatically engage whenever it is needed- no having to stop and change some selector wheel.