5 Fixes for the 2019 Ford Ranger


There are plenty of things to like about the returning 2019 Ford Ranger, and we've noted many of them in our most recent . From its superior interior, quick-launch throttle feel and rugged off-road capability, the new Ranger is likely to compete quite well against the top-selling Toyota Tacoma and up-and-coming Chevrolet Colorado.


But after spending a good amount of time with the new mid-size pickup truck, we think there are a few details Ford might want to take a closer look at, especially if it wants to provide the right amount of comfort and convenience to new truck buyers. Here's our short list of quick fixes that need to be addressed for the next refresh.

1. Wide-Opening Extended-Cab Hinges

Most of the pickups in this class are bought with four full-size doors (i.e., crew cabs), but there are still plenty of work-truck buyers who need a longer bed. For them, the extended cab (SuperCab in Ford lexicon) is the best choice. However, where Ford's F-150 and Super Duty extended cabs have wide-opening rear-door hinges allowing for about 170 degrees of swing, the Ranger opens just 90 degrees. We say fix that. Since Ford set the standard with its other pickups, why not this one, too?

2. Factory Integrated Trailer Brake Controller

Just as with the new , Ford is making an integrated trailer brake controller an option that buyers can choose at dealerships. Two-wheel-drive models have the trailer brake dial located next to the transmission shifter; four-wheel-drive models have the dial mounted behind the Terrain Management rotary dial. All Rangers are prewired for the trailer brake controller regardless of whether they're being equipped with a tow hitch. We think it would be better to make the trailer brake controller a factory option as part of the towing package instead of an add-on at the dealership. We've seen several dealer-installed trailer brake controllers not perform as well as those integrated into the dash during the manufacturing process.

3. Offer More Leafs

One of the most interesting suspension features on the new Ranger is a rear axle setup similar to the stout cargo-hauling Ford Transit van, which basically means a single leaf with a strong overload spring and a pair of active bump stops to help carry and distribute heavier weight. Since that's the case, why not offer an extra payload capacity package with an extra leaf or two to help buyers who will do more than carry luggage to the airport with their mid-size pickup? Just a thought.

4. Level It

Like just about every small and full-size pickup truck, the new Ford Ranger has the bed up in the air so that when you load it, it rides more level. However, as any knowledgeable pickup observer will tell you, most people don't drive their pickups around town with a load in the bed. Much of the time they drive the truck empty. Ford should consider offering an Average Sam package that lifts the front end a few inches to give the Ranger a more leveled look and provide adjustable headlights for those rare occasions when owners put a load in the bed and haul at night, so they can turn down the headlights that can shine in the eyes of oncoming drivers. Problem solved.

5. Tune Trail Control

We spent a lot of time playing with the new Trail Control feature offered on select four-wheel-drive models as part of the FX4 Off-Road Package. It's a cool system that functions like a slow-go cruise control for difficult trail challenges. Just engage Trail Control and all you have to do is steer the Ranger (while going 1 to 10 mph in low range and 1-20 mph in high range). While we like that it doesn't make the annoying braking noise and have the vibration of Toyota's Crawl Control system, we found that Ford's Trail Control can provide a bit too much roll-back on a steep hill climb, attempting to use only throttle (and not the brakes) to keep the vehicle in a single location. Either it needs a more sensitive setting or a more active brake system. photos by Evan Sears; manufacturer image



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