CLEVELAND – Ford is bringing back its Ranger pickup truck next year for the first time since 2011. The automaker unveiled the midsize pickup for the first time this month, and it’s on display at the Cleveland Auto Show.
“It's a true midsize truck. It's easier to get into the parking spots at the grocery store. It's a lot more versatile than a full-size truck, especially if you're driving off-road,” said Michael Herrick, President of Liberty Auto Group.
Herrick said Ford pulled the Ranger from production when it moved the F-150 to a lighter, more fuel-efficient aluminum body.
While demand was always strong from the Ranger in Northeast Ohio, he said demand for midsize pickups is increasing nationwide, leading Ford to resurrect the vehicle.
“They're bringing it back because they really see a need for this vehicle, especially in Northeast Ohio. You have a lot of people who want the versatility and utility of a real truck but maybe have some lifestyle limitations that don't allow them to have a full-size truck,” Herrick said.
The 2019 Ford Ranger is smaller than the F-150 but shares many of the same capabilities. It features a steel bumper mounted to the frame and steel bash and skid plates underneath.
It also has new, class-exclusive technology, including terrain control.
“With a series of front-mounted cameras and sensors, it can actually take over the acceleration and braking at low speeds off-road so the driver can concentrate on steering,” Herrick said.
Craig Kohler, from Elyria, owns a 2004 Ranger and came to the Cleveland Auto Show to see the new model.
“I have an old one, and I'm looking forward to replacing it someday here soon, and I was disappointed when they dropped the line,” Kohler said. “I'm glad they're bringing it back.”
He said he’s impressed by the changes and four-door extended cab option.
“It looks very functional,” he said.
The Ranger is expected to go on sale in early 2019. Ford has not yet announced pricing, but Herrick said it’s expected to start at significantly less than the F-150.