Aussies Give Us Sneak-peak at 2019 Ford Ranger
Cars Guide initially wonders if the Ranger’s ‘gone soft’ but walks away impressed by its off-road prowess & ‘fantastic’ automatic transmission.
Ford may be the truck king in America, but that title falls flat in Europe and Asia. Luckily, there’s Australia. The Land Down Under almost out-America’s America when it comes to its love for V8 power and go-anywhere pickup trucks. In that big country, owners need their trucks – or Utes, to be rugged and ready to go off-road at a moment’s notice. They also need them to be comfortable eating up countless miles on the highway. And with the rise of quad cabs, more and more owners are using their trucks as the family car too.
Sound familiar? When it hits showrooms in 2019, the new Ford Ranger will need to be able to do all these things and more for Americans. It’ll still be a few months before the American automotive press gets their hands on a Ranger. But Australian site Cars Guide recently put a ’19 through its paces and came away pretty impressed.
The Aussies have had the T6 Ranger since its debut back in 2011, so they (and reviewer Tim Robson) are uniquely qualified to size up the new model. Over there, there are a whopping 29 different Ranger models. The biggest addition is a 2.0 liter twin-turbo diesel four that we may or may not get here. As standard on the Ranger Raptor (which won’t be initially offered, sadly), it makes 210 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque.
Inside, the truck is largely carried over from earlier models. It’s quiet, comfortable, and Robson finds’ the Sync 3 infotainment system to be useful. Robson’s biggest gripe is that the passenger seat lacks adjustment controls. In comfort crazy America, we doubt that this foible will make it to domestic market trucks.
Then there’s its handling. “Like the majority of its competitors,” he says, “it’s still a leaf-sprung Ute. So, that rear end is still light, and the tires are still quite an off-road spec. What does that mean? You still have to be careful when the conditions turn slippery.” Still, Robson loves the way the Ranger handles cruising around town. He still finds it “busy” at highway speeds, but is impressed by its off-road prowess, light handling, and “absolutely fantastic” 10-speed automatic transmission. And the fact that it can tow an impressive 7,700 pounds.
In the end, Robson gives the Ranger a respectable 7.5 out of 10. But of course, the midsize pickup segment is a lot more crowded in Australia. And while our tastes are similar, we think our fellow Americans are going to love this truck. We’ve been waiting for the Ranger for a long time. And after seeing so many different trim levels cruising through the Australian outback, it looks like it’s ready for just about anything we Americans can throw at it.