You'd be forgiven for mistaking the present U.S. market Ford Ranger for one from the Ronald Reagan era -- which is exactly why the new global version has truck fans crying foul over Ford's decision not to bring the all-new Ranger here.
In a segment accustomed to lengthy product cycles, any major introduction is cause for huzzahs and scrutiny. The 2012 Ranger, designated T6, has sheetmetal completely unlike its predecessor. The smoothed-out, modern exterior styling would undoubtedly be alien in our market, where sharp and boxy designs dominate before they even reach the drawing boards. Ford's contemporary three-bar grille and front fender decoration give the Ranger a distinct presence. It has grown to about 90 percent of the F-150's size, effectively throwing this truck into the midsize classification. In fact, the new Ranger's size is essentially the main reason why Ford has decided not to bring it here.
Inside, the Ranger will accommodate the working crew with a hose-down interior. Lifestyle drivers are presented with more upscale appointments, but all seats, panels, and materials have undergone rigorous testing to ensure durability, according to Ford.
New engines lack the sheer power ratings and cylinder counts of the 2011 F-150 V-6 and V-8 offerings but serve up some grunt of their own. The base engine is a 2.5-liter Duratec inline-four putting out 164 horsepower and capable of running pure ethanol (E100). Two small diesels, another concept foreign in the U.S. truck market, will be available via either a 2.2-liter four-cylinder (148 horsepower, 277 pound-feet of torque) or 3.2-liter straight-five (197 horsepower, 347 pound-feet). Trucks are among the few reliable vehicle classes for those in search of a manual transmission, and the global Ranger has both a five- and six-speed boxes alongside a six-speed automatic.