Before the Ranger, Ford Courier was the MPG Champ: Throwback Thursday

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Before Ford introduced the Ranger as its own model, the Courier was the company’s small truck and it offered the best MPG in the segment.

The Ford Ranger was so popular in the US market during its long run, which started in the mid-1980s, that many don’t know what came before the Ranger. But up until 1982, Ford’s small pickup was the Courier. The Ford Courier offered many of the advantages of the Ranger which replaced it. This week’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ video offers a look at one of the final years for the compact Courier pickup courtesy of TheClassicSports YouTube channel.

1981 Ford Courier

Like the Ranger, the Courier was a compact pickup which was marketed as an affordable, efficient, and fun to drive vehicle. It came with customization options (as shown in the image above) to make the truck more appealing to a buyer who wanted something sporty. However, after the gas crisis of the 1970’s, and what people thought were high fuel prices in the 1980’s, fuel economy was a major selling point for the Courier.

This commercial highlights the emphasis on the fuel efficiency of the 1981 Ford Courier. Pretty much everyone onscreen is repeating the ’27 miles per gallon’ EPA combined figure which was achieved with a combination of a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine and a 5-speed manual transmission. Getting 27 miles per gallon made the Courier the most fuel efficient pickup in America (excluding diesel models), but as the commercial shows, this truck was capable of far more than just great MPGs.

The compact pickup is shown jumping a hill while off-roading, serving as a work truck on a build site, hauling a load of plants, storming along the beach, hauling a pair of dirt bikes, and just for good measure, the video ends with one more jump shot.

The Ford Courier may not have lasted in the US, but this video shows how similarly the marketing for the Courier was to the Ranger which replaced it.

Patrick Rall is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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