Ford's 2016 Ford Ranger Will Not Come to U.S.


Ford recently unveiled a new 2016 Ranger at the 2015 Bangkok International Motor Show. With its more robust front end, friendlier interior, upgraded diesel powertrains and better ride comfort, it seems like it is a big step forward over the previous model. And on a side note, it also seems like it would fit right into the U.S. market. Yet, by all accounts, a U.S. Ford Ranger is unlikely.

According to Ford's press materials, the company has strengthened the truck in three key areas: styling, technology and fuel efficiency.

Styling changes are easy to see with a more robust and dominating front end. Compared to the previous version, the new trapezoidal grille and angled hood give the truck a more muscular front-end look.

The interior has also been redone as well, showcasing the new 8-inch touch-screen. This new touch-screen is lower in the center stack and is now flanked by air vents, giving the dash a more horizontal feel.

Technology improvements are found in the new Sync 2.0 connectivity system. Ford boasts that the new system is smart enough to understand voice commands like "temperature 70 degrees," "play AC/DC" or "I'm hungry."

Also, there are a host of new safety-oriented driver-assist technologies such as lane keeping alert, adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance, front and rear park assist, tire pressure monitoring, electronic stability control and a host of other features that are now commonly found in various new Ford products here in the U.S.

Engines and Fuel Efficiency

Updated diesel powertrains are a big part of the improved fuel efficiency for the new Ranger. Fords says that depending on cab and powertrain configuration, the new Ranger could see a 15 percent improved fuel-economy rating. The new Ranger will be offered in three different diesel powertrains, with a 3.2-liter TDCi inline five-cylinder being the largest. This engine is rated to produce 197 horsepower and 347 pounds-feet of torque. When properly equipped, the Ranger can tow up to 7,716 pounds. Without providing any specifics, Ford says it the Ranger will have "exceptional payload capacity." We're guessing it will have a maximum payload capacity of more than 1 metric ton, or 2,200 pounds.

There will also be two all-new 2.2-liter TDCi inline-four-cylinder diesel engines. These variants offer a choice between 128 or 157 hp, depending on customer needs. Ford has replaced both previous four-cylinder engines.

These engines will be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. No word on estimated fuel economy ratings for these engines yet. The current Ford Ranger model gets upward of 38 mpg U.K. combined in a regular-cab, two-wheel-drive configuration with the 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, according to a Ford U.K. brochure. In the double-cab, automatic-transmission, four-wheel-drive setup with the 3.2-liter five-cylinder it tops out at 28 mpg U.K. combined with nearly 33 mpg U.K. highway.

Ford expects the Ranger to be on sale in Europe early in 2016, and then it will be offered in 180 markets around the world, but still not in the U.S.

North America Plans

Officially, Ford says it is still "all in" on investing and expanding the F-Series lineup for North America with a focus on new powertrains and improved fuel efficiency, but a midsize pickup doesn't fit into current plans.

"The compact pickup segment in the U.S. has been declining – from almost 8 percent of total industry sales in 1994 to 1.5 percent of industry sales in 2014," said Mike Levine, Ford truck communication manager. "The F-Series works best for customers in North America. The all-new 2015 Ford F-150 with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 has better EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings than V-6-powered midsize pickups from Toyota and GM, as well as better payload and towing capability."

While other similarly sized midsize pickups sold in the U.S. and abroad have had different dimensions (the Toyota Hilux and Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier and Navarra come to mind), the new 2016 Ford Ranger seems to be both similar in size to some existing midsize pickups as well as too close in size to an F-150. Looking at the dimensions compared to the current Toyota Tacoma, we see the Ford Ranger is just a bit taller and longer while not quite as wide.

Our guess is that Ford will only green-light a new U.S. Ranger if it could build it economically, make it on a smaller platform, give it much better fuel efficiency than the F-150, and offer it with a much lower price tag. No matter how you look at it, that's an unlikely set of circumstances that needs to come into alignment.

Manufacturer images




Latest expert reviews