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L.A. Auto Show 2018: Ford’s Ranger returns to U.S. market after seven-year absence

L.A. Auto Show 2018: Ford’s Ranger returns to U.S. market after seven-year absence
An all-new Ford Ranger midsize pickup truck returns to the U.S. market for 2019. (Ford Motor Co.)

Ford Motor Co. is bringing the Ranger midsize pickup truck back to the U.S. market in 2019 after a seven-year absence.

Built at Ford’s plant in Wayne, Mich., the Ranger is part of the automaker’s bid to tap into American consumers’ growing shift from sedans and compact cars to pickups and crossover sport utility vehicles.

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It’s also meant to appeal to consumers who want a truck but not a full-size version such as Ford’s top-selling F-150.

The midsize pickup market already includes the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Frontier, among others.

Although it had been absent from the U.S. market, Ford had continued selling versions of the Ranger overseas.

Compared with its predecessor, the new Ranger for U.S. drivers — priced starting at $25,395, including destination charges — is larger and carries more safety and high-tech features.

The Ranger is powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine that drives a 10-speed automatic transmission.

There are two body styles, the four-seater SuperCab and the five-seater SuperCrew, and they come in three trim levels — XL, XLT and Lariat. The Ranger comes in eight colors, and chrome- and sport-appearance packages are available.

Cargo capacity is 51.8 cubic feet for the SuperCab and 43.3 cubic feet for the SuperCrew.

The interior includes an 8-inch color touch screen, and standard safety features include pre-collision assist with automatic braking.

The exterior features a solid-steel front bumper, large frame-mounted hooks and a raked grille and windshield. The Ranger’s standard wheels are 16 inches, with 17- and 18-inch wheels available.

The new Ranger was described as “strikingly handsome” by Edmunds.com, which also reported that “from what we’ve learned so far, it stands a good chance of reasserting itself as a serious player in the midsize truck segment.”

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