Ranger Anxiety: Don’t Be Worried by Limited Engine Options
Every scrap of information we collect about the Ford Ranger provides a hint about its platform mate, the forthcoming Bronco.
According to Ford Motor Company, you will be able to get any engine you want in the 2019 Ranger as long as it’s a 2.3-Liter Ecoboost four-cylinder. Dearborn is positioning the Ford Ranger as a lifestyle vehicle aimed at outdoor enthusiasts. And the EcoBoost matches that market positioning. So, the Ranger may only have one-size-fits-all motivation during the first model year of its reprise. Ford will not, however, continue to limit Ranger to such a narrow market.
Ford is committed to the commercial market where it maintains a broad product offering that generates a network effect, elevating sales across each segment in which it competes. Ford is a North American sales leader in half-ton, three-quarter, and one-ton trucks, vans of all sizes, and cutaways. It’s no coincidence that the last of seven million Rangers produced went to a business like Orkin. At one time Orkin ran a fleet of 4,000 Rangers. So did tens of thousands of pool guys and landscapers across the land. In spite of the oft-cited argument that Ranger sales will cannibalize F-Series, there is little evidence to suggest Dearborn will fail to leverage its investment in Ranger to target commercial customers. But if you are not convinced, KPG Photography recently caught a commercial spec cab and chassis Ranger in the wild, and it was wearing a Monroney sticker.
To address a large portion of commercial demand, Ford will likely offer a normally aspirated four-cylinder slotted below the Ecoboost. Yet another set of commercial users will value a diesel offering, primarily for its improved fuel economy. For example, an Australian spec Ranger double cab 3.2L diesel returns about 26 MPG combined. This will also provide Ford with a comp versus the GM Colorado/Canyon diesel.
In spite of the argument that Ranger sales will cannibalize F-Series, there is little evidence to suggest Dearborn will fail to leverage its investment in Ranger to target commercial customers.
And the Blue Oval has a variety of diesels powering architecturally similar Rangers around the world. There is the 2.0L from the Ranger Raptor, the 2.2L TDCi four-cylinder, and the 3.2L TDCi five-cylinder. And there is, of course, the recently-added 3.0L diesel from the F-150. Ford will be spoiled for choice. Regardless, we can expect one of these oil-burners under Ranger hoods a year or two after launch.
Ford will also aim the new 2020 Bronco at the lifestyle market, but it will have limited commercial application. Thus the base four-cylinder gasser may not migrate from Ranger to Bronco. But diesels are great torque producers and with Wrangler joining the diesel club soon, it’s safe to bet the Bronco will too. So, if you are anxious about what will power your Bronco, rest easy. You will have a choice.