The Ford Ranger, long beloved by fans of midsize pickups across the U.S., will reportedly make a comeback in 2019. So sayeth the scribes at Car & Driver, who are predicting that Ford will bring the global version of the Ranger marketed internationally to the U.S. in a few short years in response to a surge of interest in midsize trucks. Led by the Toyota Tacoma and the GM truck twins, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, Ford is looking to tap back into a market that it once dominated but had seemingly abandoned for good.
Between its introduction in 1983 and the end of production in 2011, the Ford Ranger sold over 7 million units, a lion’s share of those right here in the U.S. At its peak in 1999, the Ford Ranger sold almost 350,000 units in a single year, but as the market moved towards larger and thirstier vehicles, sales of the Ranger waned as Ford refused to invest or update the mid-size pickup.
In 2010, just 50,000 Rangers left Ford dealerships, and the automaker announced the end of production in mid-2011, instead steering buyers towards the more profitable F-150. But with Tacoma and GM’s midsize truck sales soaring back into the six-figures, Ford has decided the time is right to bring the Ranger back. According to C&D, the Blue Oval is targeting a starting price below $25,000. The Ford F-150 starts at $26,540, whereas the Chevy Colorado has a base price of just $20,100, and it would make sense for a new Ranger to be priced more in line with the Colorado than the F-150.
We expect Ford to fit the Ranger with a four-cylinder EcoBoost, as it would tie in well with their recent EcoBoost marketing efforts and helps them avoid the extra scrutiny that diesel engines welcome these days. The 3.2-liter diesel that powers the Ranger outside of the U.S. is already offered in the full-size Ford Transit van, and could be offered as an option on the U.S.-market Ranger to help it compete with the Colorado/Canyon. Another option would be the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, leaving Ford free to offer the F-150 with a rumored diesel V6 instead.
Oh, and a new Ford Bronco could be part of the deal too. We don’t want to get your hopes too high, but the return of the Ranger could well be worth the wait.