Familiar Ford Ranger skin hides big tech changes for 2018

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The Ranger and, later, the Bronco will both be built at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant.

The US version of the new Ford Ranger has just been revealed in Detroit ahead of the North American International Auto Show.

M - Ford's mid-size Ranger pickup truck is returning to American dealerships for the 2019 model year - the first time a new Ranger has been sold in North America since 2011.

Ford isn't revealing output numbers yet, but the new ranger will have a 2.3 liter EcoBoost engine with a ten-speed transmission. This 16-valve, dual-overhead cam engine features direct injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger.

"Ranger has always held a special place in the hearts of truck fans", said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford executive vice president, Product Development and Purchasing. "The all-new Ranger is designed for today's midsize truck buyer, delivering even more utility, capability, and technology for those who blend city living with more off-the-grid adventures on weekends".

When it goes on sale a year from now, the Ranger will be available in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations, and in entry-level XL, mid-level XLT, and high-level Lariat trim levels. Meanwhile pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control remain Lariat-only standards, ensuring all eight optional colors and available Sport or Chrome Appearance packages stay in mint condition.

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The cabin and dashboard will look nothing like the Ranger you drove in high school. There are short overhangs to further enhance performance by providing better clearance for off-roading and maneuvering around obstacles.

Turns out seven years was as long as Ford could go without trying to assert its truck leadership image in every possible sub-segment, and get the Ranger back on the USA market. This package will add off-road suspension and shocks, aggressive tires, skid plates, a Terrain Management system akin to the one in the Ford F-150 Raptor, and a new Trail Control system. Technophobes can opt out by selectively not using the system, but on opposite day they can play with onboard WiFi, AC power outlets and USB charging, an optional B&O sound system, and Amazon Alexa integration. That has four drive modes - normal; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; and sand - that can be flipped between while the Ranger is in motion. It's specifically designed for low-speed, off-road terrain and takes over acceleration and braking. It sends power and braking to each individual wheel to help the FX Off-Road Ranger crawl over surface when things get technical.

Running gear will include sh8ft on the fly four-wheel drive, a locking electronic differential and Dana axles.

Additional features include LED headlamps and tail lamps with optional puddle lamps and cargo bed lighting.

This Ranger gets frame-mounted steel bumpers with steel bash-plates and tow hooks. It's got an 8-inch touchscreen display for the available SYNC 3 infotainment system (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility), as well as LCD screens in the instrument cluster for vehicle, navigation, and audio information.

Inside the vehicle the infotainment system will be a Sync 3 system which will be up to eight-inches in size.

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