Ford’s Commitment to Diesel Should Extend to the Ranger

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2019 Ranger Detroit Auto Show

Ford has diesel offerings across the board, just not in the new Ranger in the U.S.

Debuting at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, the new Ford Transit Connect Wagon is targeted towards van buyers who don’t need all the extra fluff. Interestingly, one of the powertrains in the van is an all-new-for-America 1.5L EcoBlue diesel engine. Apparently diesel is not dead.

While numbers still aren’t finalized for this EcoBlue diesel, Ford is saying that they’ll hit at least 30 mpg on the highway once the EPA testing is finalized. Paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, that doesn’t seem that far-fetched of a claim.

Over in Europe, in the refreshed EcoSport compact crossover, the 1.5L EcoBlue makes 125 PS (123 hp) and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft). In Europe, that’s paired exclusively to a 6-speed manual transmission (though a 6-speed auto is coming).

Ford is familiar with diesel engines in their heavy duty pickup trucks. The 6.7L Power Stroke is a beast of an oil burner that I’m convinced could stop the rotation of the planet. The F-150 is also getting a 3.0L 6-cylinder diesel this year.

Every truck in their work vehicle lineup (we’re assuming that if there’s a cargo van Transit Connect it’ll have the same diesel as an option), has a diesel engine offering EXCEPT the Ranger.

C’mon Ford, you know you want to put a diesel in the Ranger! One engine option isn’t enough.

Ford brags about offering choice with the F-150. There are, in fact, 5 different engine options when you factor in the diesel (and 6 if you count Raptor’s engine separately, which you should). If the dealership doesn’t have the exact truck you want, Ford still lets you do a factory order. It’s all about choice at Ford.

Presently, the only midsize trucks on sale with a diesel engine offering is the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon. There is room for competition in that space and Ford is uniquely able to deliver an option there.

Should it be this 1.5L EcoBlue engine? Maybe, but probably not. The amount of horsepower and torque, at least in the European configuration in the EcoSport, isn’t enough for American pickup truck duty. The Colorado diesel makes 369 lb-ft of torque, for example.

There is, however, a 2.0L EcoBlue diesel engine offered in the European Transit that might fit the part. In Transit-guise, the EcoBlue makes nearly 300 lb-ft of torque. A little tuning for the U.S. market could probably up that number.

The 2.3L EcoBoost, mated to the 10-speed automatic, will likely return solid fuel economy numbers in the Ranger. Those numbers will likely be best-in-class for gasoline engines. But a diesel engine would allow Ford to dominate the midsize truck segment with a diesel.

Will we see more engine options in the Ranger? Who knows? When I talked to representatives from the company earlier this year they were adamant that there’d be just one engine. Just like the “No” on the Ranger Raptor coming to the United States.

But they are bringing the Ranger back, which was a “No” for awhile. So there’s hope.

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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