Ford Edge debuts fresh styling at Detroit Auto Show

Detroit Auto Show: The 2019 Ford Ranger is a high tech little truck

A rival small pickup, the Dodge Dakota, was pulled off the market the same year.

In addition, it introduces a new feature to Ford's range.

It was unveiled at the Detroit motor show overnight where the Ranger is due to go into production for the first time since 2011. Ford stopped selling the vehicles in the USA after sales slowed. The midsize Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma both notched sales increases past year even though overall USA sales were down. Already a fondly-remembered nameplate in North America and the second-best-selling mid-size pickup outside of that market, the 2019 model is dramatically improved from the last Ranger sold there, and it's been torture-tested using the very same grueling regimen that the F-150 is subjected to.

The company gradually realized there was still US demand for a smaller, easy-to-maneuver pickup. Ford Focus production will move from MI to China.

"We see more of an opportunity that didn't exist five years ago", Ford truck marketing manager Todd Eckert said. By contrast, the Colorado starts at $20,200.

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The interior is textbook Ford truck, with a smart looking instrument cluster and familiar center stack. It has a terrain management system that automatically adjusts the transmission and vehicle controls for driving in snow, mud or sand. Like cruise control for the highway but designed for low-speed, rugged terrain, Trail Control takes over acceleration and braking - sending power and braking to each individual wheel to allow drivers to focus on steering along the course.

Ford executives said the North American Ranger will share engineering and some design elements with a work-oriented pickup the company builds and sells in Southeast Asia and other markets. The FX4 off road package will offer upgraded tires, a steel front bash plate, reinforced, frame-mounted skid plates underneath to protect vital drivetrain components, off road tuned shocks, and the previously mentioned E-locking DANA rear differential.

The company is leaning on its reputation for trucks for the North American relaunch of a truck it once sold hundreds of thousands of. For the Ranger, it's paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission as standard. Per the estimated EPA fuel economy rating, Ford says the final figures will be released this spring. No manual will be offered. Although the regular model's ground clearance is said to be decent - again, we'll have to wait for final numbers - there'll be a Ranger FX4 Off-Road Package that will bump up the trail potential even more. That will suit Dan MacLeod, 28, an insurance broker from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, who wants room for vehicle seats and a bed that will fit his hunting and fishing gear. The last model sold here hadn't been updated in what seemed like decades, and the average Ford truck buyer could get almost the same gas mileage from a V-6 F-150 (and run it on cheap gas), with a bigger cargo box and much better towing capacity for a few bucks a month more.

"If I had the capital for a new pickup, an F-150 would be the first place I'd look", Orians said. Truck fans have wanted that truck to come to the USA for a long time and now they will get their wish, though Ford is doing them one better.

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