Now the Ranger is back, though in fact, it never really went away and has been sold in other markets around the world continuously. Our Ranger is based on an Australian variant, but there are several major differences. The 2019 Ranger is certainly no mini-truck and its size is close to that of fullsize rigs of a few years back. Most buyers will like the Ranger because it’s got lots of towing and payload capability while being easy to park in tight spots. It also handles exceptionally well for a truck, the goal of all pickup manufacturers, but not always achieved.
Ford has established a great reputation in recent years for building great EcoBoost engines that get surprising amounts of power and response from just four cylinders. Consequently, the 2.3-litre EcoBoost 4-cyl is the only one that’s currently available for the Ranger and with gas prices the way they are right now, this will be enough for most buyers. It’d be nice to have a diesel option though and maybe that will come in time. The 2.3 unit generates a very healthy 270-horsepower and an even more impressive torque level of 310 lb.-ft. All Canadian Rangers use a 10-speed automatic driving all four wheels. There is no 2WD option available, but most Canadians would opt for 4WD anyway with a vehicle like this.
As with many pickups of any size, there are cab options and the case of the Ranger you can choose a SuperCab or a SuperCrew. The cab trim differs according to whether you choose an XL or an XLT and the layout embodies a straightforward, no nonsense approach. Everything is where it’s expected to be and the controls are set out very logically. As is common nowadays, there’s a large infotainment screen set on the dash above where the console meets the fascia. It was good to see a proper handbrake for parking and not one of those often-awkward floor mounted jobs. Buyers can order a top-of-the-line Lariat model and there’s also an off-road package for quite a reasonable price.
On the road, the first point you notice is the Ranger’s car-like driving characteristics. No pickup is a sports car, but the Ranger is impressively maneuverable and responsive and certainly approaches sports sedan handling when pushed. Don’t try anything too sporty if your truck is towing or carrying a large load though! It also boasts a much tighter turning circle than most vehicles in this class. This is a truck many owners will dress up with performance and cosmetic add-ons, either from Ford or the rapidly growing aftermarket for Ranger accessories.
This new Ranger could be a major success for Ford because it’s possible that large number of would-be buyers were just patiently waiting around for its return. Either way, it’s a welcome addition to the compact pickup segment and one that will give the competition a run for its money.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: 4/5-occupant pickup
ENGINE: 2.3-litre, 4-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: 10-speed automatic
TOWING CAPACITY: 7,500-lbs
FUEL ECONOMY: Est. City/hwy 11.8/9.8-litres/100km
PRICE: From $30,569 MSRP