The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker announced it would bring back both the Ranger and Bronco models to the US market at last year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The interior is textbook Ford truck, with a smart looking instrument cluster and familiar center stack.
Under the hood is the same 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that powers the Ford Mustang sports auto.
Americans snapped up Rangers from 1982 to 2012.
The prototype models resembled baby F-150s and Ford was transparent regarding the inspiration for this North American-market Ranger.
However, in late 2014, GM launched new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Sierra pickups, and Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co reinvigorated their midsize pickup trucks, aiming at customers who wanted to haul bikes, surfboards and other bulky recreational gear, not sheets of plywood.
The annual North American International Auto Show, one of the largest such events in the USA, starts its engines this weekend with dozens of new production vehicles and experimental concept cars. Engineers say that the Ranger has been tested to the same durability standards as the F-Series trucks.
The terrain management system will offer four drive modes which can be switched on the fly: normal, mud/ruts, grass/gravel/snow, and sand. Trail Control is like low-speed cruise control for acceleration and braking. It monitors and assesses slippage on loose terrain.
The new Ranger will start arriving in North American dealerships in early 2019 and be assembled at its Wayne, Michigan, factory in suburban Detroit.
Thegrille and windshield design improve aerodynamics and reduce wind noise. A steel bumper with an available trailer hitch receiver can tow campers, ATVs and boats. The 4WD Ranger will have 2-high, 4-high, and 4-low as standard. Power outlets allow charging of laptops and cell phones.
It should be noted up front that the new Ranger is most definitely a mid-size pickup, much larger than the old compact Ranger we knew, and it's almost the same size as a mid-1990s Ford F-150.
An global version of the Ranger was actually born in 2009, before the previous model breathed its last breathe.
"We see more of an opportunity that didn't exist five years ago", Ford truck marketing manager Todd Eckert said.
If you've spent any time outside the US or Canada in the last decade, you've likely seen a new Ranger - it's the best-selling pickup in Europe. Ford made a decision to bring the Ford Ranger back partly due to increased customer demand in the mid-size truck market, which has seen an increase in USA sales by 83% since 2014. The vehicle also underwent the same testing as its F-150 big brother to ensure that its capability and comfort stand up to the rigors of whatever consumers had in mind, whether city cruising or country climbing. Automakers sold 448,000 midsize pickups in the U.S.in 2016; that's forecast to grow to 470,000 in 2019, according to the consulting company IHS Markit.
One in five midsize truck buyers lives California, with strong sales also in Arizona and Nevada.
"Ranger has always held a special place in the hearts of truck fans", said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's executive vice president of product development and purchasing. Ford says that will give the truck the power of a V6 engine with the fuel economy of a four-cylinder. "When you pair that with its 10-speed transmission, you've got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment".
Available in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations, the new Ranger will include the XL, XLT, and Lariat trims for those seeking a more premium experience. All vehicles come with automatic emergency braking, which can prevent rear-end collisions when warning of obstacles and initiating braking.
The retooling is part of the $850 million investment Ford announced last March to revamp the Michigan Assembly Plant to build the Ranger and all-new Ford Bronco. Ford Focus production will move from MI to China.