What It Is: The return of the less-than-gigantic Ford pickup. Ford currently sells this mid-sizer just about everywhere except here. But that is about to change in response to the strong-selling Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. The Ranger will also spawn a new Ford Bronco SUV, which will offer some competition to the Jeep Wrangler. Broncos should arrive in 2020 with a starting price of $30,000.
Why It Matters: The sales potential is significant. Toyota has been quietly selling gobs of Tacomas—just shy of 180,000 in 2015. And GM sparked new life in the class, selling more than 100,000 Coloranyons last year. In its heyday, the Ranger shamed them all, selling nearly 350,000 in 1999.
Platform: Our Ranger will use the same body-on-frame construction as the truck sold elsewhere in the world. Like GM’s mid-sizers, it’s only slightly smaller than its big brother; the crew cab is actually longer than a base F-150. But GM has proved that even big small trucks can sell without cannibalizing sales from the full-size lineup.
Powertrain: The only engine currently offered in the global Ranger that would likely come to the American market is the 3.2-liter five-cylinder diesel. It’s available in the full-size Transit van and could help the Ranger take away the title of “most efficient pickup” from the 31-highway-mpg diesel Colorado/Canyon twins. Expect an EcoBoost four-cylinder as well as a naturally aspirated gas V-6 in the U.S. lineup. A diesel Bronco sounds pretty good to us, too.
What Might Go Wrong: With the mid-size-truck market on the upswing and the Ranger nameplate’s widespread recognition, the only way this could derail is if Ford executives charge too much.
Estimated Arrival and Price: The 2019 model year, with base prices below $25,000.