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Sunday, November 28, 2021

First look: 2023 Ford Ranger

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When Ford closed its Twin Cities assembly plant in Minnesota and killed the old Ranger a decade ago, it was decidedly skeptical about bringing a new version of the truck to the US in 2023.

The next-generation Ford Ranger will come in three trim levels XLT, Sport and Wildtrak.

The automaker took the details away from the new Ranger, and although it was designed and manufactured in Australia, the company clearly took into account the requirements of the American market. That’s a good strategy considering that the current Ranger, which was also developed overseas, required extensive and expensive overhauls. before it could get to the United States.

Officially, Ford is not yet confirming that the new truck will replace the American model, although experts confirm that it will arrive around model year 2023. They also indicate that we will see more than a gasoline version of the next Ranger. At least one “electrified” offering is in the works, and eventually there could be hybrid and all-electric models on the line.

A joint effort

The new Ranger that just debuted in Europe is the product of a joint venture between Ford and Volkswagen. The two announced a variety of projects several years ago, including plans for Ford to use VW’s MEB electrical architecture for two battery electric vehicles to be sold in Europe.

Next Generation Ranger Widtrak, 3/4 Outer Rear
The Ford Ranger Wildtrak is expected to debut for the 2023 model year, according to sources.

In this case, the new Ranger is mounted on a version of the body-on-frame platform used for the German automaker’s Amarok pickup. But it has been done quite thoroughly, with development handled by Ford’s Australian operations.

The Detroit automaker’s next-gen pickup has a lot to deliver.

the Ford pickup taken out of production in 2011 It was the oldest product in its fleet, and like most competitors, the automaker thought the small and mid-size truck segment had been reduced to insignificance. But it finally saw the light of day, especially after General Motors scored high with its own reborn Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models.

Considering the US market this time

Since the Ranger sold in Europe and other markets was not aimed at the US, it required some extensive overhauls to meet both the government mandate and customer requirements. Ford only re-enters the US segment in 2019. But the extra work has paid off: The current-generation Ranger toppled the Toyota Tacoma last week as the queen of midsize trucks in Consumer Reports’ Automotive Reliability Study. It also ranks first in terms of operating costs, according to various studies.

The interior of the fifth-generation Ranger, shown as a European model, enjoys a large touchscreen.

So far, Ford has revealed only some basic information about the fifth-generation Ranger, while the experts have offered some additional suggestions. Look for at least two body styles to begin with, with a crew cab version mated to a short bed and a four-door crew cab model with a shorter bed.

In all trims, the new truck will be longer and will be about two inches against the current model. And, to take the attack on Toyota, it will feature better ground clearance and better off-road drivability, something the Tacoma is widely known for.

Battery power is coming

Depending on the market, the 2023 truck will debut with gasoline and diesel powertrain options. (But it seems unlikely that an oil burner will make it to the United States.) Only one gasoline engine is said to be available, and the current 2.3-liter turbo-4 remains essentially unchanged. That should mean an output of around 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. That engine will be mated to a 10-speed automatic and, in some markets, a 6-speed manual will be available.

The Ranger will almost certainly be offered here with a choice of rear or four wheel drive. Ford may have shared full-time and part-time 4WD packages with the new Bronco.

Next Gen Ranger Sport 3/4
All three trim levels will likely include a hybrid model at some point.

As with the Bronco, Ford is working on at least one electrified version of the new Ranger, Ford experts confirm. It is unclear whether it will be a hybrid or a pure electric package, possibly even both during the life of the truck.

Ford was, until recently, skeptical of the battery power market. It has radically changed its stance, CEO Jim Farley recently told TheDetroitBureau.com, due to overwhelming demand for both the Mustang Mach-E SUV and the upcoming F-150 Lightning. The automaker now plans to double the production capacity of full-size battery-powered pickup trucks. And it has announced plans to open three battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky with the capacity to produce enough cells for 1 million BEV.

Move in luxury

Ford plans to not only update the next-gen Ranger, but to take it to a higher level. You want some breathing room between the midsize model and the new Maverick compact truck. Expect to see towing ratings increase from the current 7,500 pounds, with payload going up from the current payload limit of 1,905 pounds.

Next Generation Ranger XLT Workbench
The new Ranger will borrow some of the conveniences found in the company’s other two truck models.

Many features will be removed from the F-150 line, including a more functional tailgate and cargo box mounted AC inverter. The new Maverick also appears to have influenced the Ranger’s new, more flexible approach to splitting the cargo bed.

Even bigger changes will take place inside the truck. The global ranger will compete in a wide range of markets, so a basic design will be required in places like Thailand or South Africa. But in the US, Ford expects a growing number of wealthy, lifestyle-oriented customers who are just as willing to move up the market as those who buy the full-size F-150. That should mean more luxurious materials, a larger touchscreen for infotainment, and plenty of additional onboard technologies. Few would be surprised if the new Ranger finally gets Ford’s hands-free BlueCruise system.

Ford hopes to have more to say next year, and the Ranger is likely to hit showrooms in Europe and other markets in late 2022. It is not yet ready to discuss specifics about the US market. In fact, he is not ready to officially confirm that there will be an American version. There will be, they assured us in the background. And production is expected to take place at the same suburban Detroit plant that is now assembling the Bronco.

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