Ford never saw good reason to significantly update the Ranger during the last half of its near-30-year tenure in the States, but the new global version has finally been released.
The pictured specimen is the 2012 Ranger's flagship crew cab, also known as the Double Cab, in XLT trim and painted Aurora Blue. Originally codenamed T6, overall design has moved away from the long-in-the-tooth, conservative look little changed since the 1980s and the truck's designers call its appearance "21st Century Tough." It possesses a different type of styling compared to our present F-Series, a style that was penned specifically for a new generation of truck owners from all walks of life.
"In many areas of the world, the role of Ranger has changed," said Craig Metros, the new Ranger's chief designer. "It still has to be a work vehicle with a durable interior and the ability to carry a heavy payload, but it also serves a dual role with refinement, comfort and more consumer-friendly features topping the list for many buyers."
A fresh chassis frame, suspension and steering system reside beneath the Ford truck's skin. The front suspension employs a double A-arm architecture with coils on struts and the rear utilizes the expected leaf springs. Damper valving and spring rates are individually set up per specific configuration, depending on the truck's curb weight, center of gravity, engine torque, and drive layout. Because this is a truck, cabs come in standard, extended, and crew form, along with the choice of rear- or four-wheel drive. The front brake rotors are reportedly the largest in class, measuring 302 millimeters wide and 32 millimeters thick (11.9 inches by 1.3 inches) and paired with twin-piston calipers.
Global engine selections are between two diesels and a single gasoline option. The gasser is a 164-horsepower Duratec 2.5-liter inline-four. The smaller diesel is a 2.2-liter straight-four with 148 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, while the larger 3.2-liter inline-five puts out 197 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque. Transmissions include a five- and six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. Payload and towing numbers haven't been divulged yet.
The new Ranger will be assembled in Argentina, South Africa, and Thailand, beginning in the Southeast Asian nation first next summer. Our domestic pickup truck market could indisputably use some fresh metal, but the only way this grown truck would feasibly make it to the United States is if F-Series sales fall off a cliff -- something not likely to happen anytime soon.