I’ve always had a soft spot for small trucks. The first truck I ever owned was a Chevrolet S10 Xtreme that I purchased as my track bike hauler. At the time, my brother had himself a little Ford Ranger and truth be told, I enjoyed driving that truck a lot more than mine. I loved how nimble it felt (as far as trucks go), I loved how good it was on gas, I loved its styling and with winter tires it was a snow storm champion.
So when Ford announced they were discontinuing the Ranger in North America almost a decade ago now, I was pretty disappointed. For my purposes, I didn’t require a full-size pickup but I certainly could have used the utility of having an open truck bed in a small package.
The Ranger continued to sell in the world market (over 180 markets) and has been doing rather well. In fact, they’ve just debuted a pretty heavily refreshed Ranger at the 2015 Bangkok Motor Show. Following Ford’s recent dieting trend, the new Ranger is lighter but far more robust than the previous model.
Changes to the front end include a new aggressive looking grille, a sculpted hood, and of course, projector headlights. The interior can now be specced with a eight-inch touchscreen display and boasts updated seats and revised styling throughout.
I can’t help but be jealous at the powertrain options on offer. You can buy the Ranger with the same 2.5L inline four with 163 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque from the previous model or you can opt for one of two diesel options. The first is a 2.2L four-cylinder now producing 158 hp and 284 lb-ft. The bigger option (this writer’s choice) would be a 3.2L inline-five serving up 197 hp and 347 lb-ft. To save at the pumps, stop/start technology is available. Ford claims a 22 percent efficiency improvement over previous years, along with a class-leading towing capability of 3,500 kg.
And as it’s not North America we’re talking about here, a six-speed automatic or manual gearbox is available. Like the older Rangers, two or four-wheel-drive is buyer’s choice.
Bring back the mini-truck!