2013 Global-Market Ford Ranger First Drive
Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
Ford had a plan when it pulled the Ranger off the North American market last year. It all made sense to kill the Ranger off without offering up a comparable replacement, especially since sales had been sliding for over a decade. Instead of introducing the new T6 Ranger, the same one that 180 other countries around the world gets, Ford bet on Stateside in-market owners to take the step up into the full-size F-150. However, there was a minor issue with that strategy. Those looking to replace their old Ranger aren't taking to Ford's plan. Instead, some are looking to other similar-size offerings from Toyota and Nissan while others are hanging on to what they have.
Even with dwindling sales, the Blue Oval Boys were subjected to an excess of criticism and that's still being heard a year later. Ford staunchly defended its decision to axe the Ranger in the United States and Canada, though, while stating that hopes were high for the global version. This only added insult to injury for those who couldn't get their hands on a new Ranger. Making things worse, Ford tested the Global Ranger's durability, altitude, and towing capabilities in the States. Even still, the Dearborn-based automaker reiterated that sagging sales as well as a similar chassis size and price tag to that of the F-150 led to the decision of excluding the new Ranger from its North American lineup.
It's no secret that the midsize pickup truck segment is shrinking, with only the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier currently available in North America, but reinforcements are rumored to be on the way. The redesigned Chevrolet Colorado has been confirmed to live on in North America and is supposed to resurface later this year. With this announcement, General Motors has a golden opportunity to pick up the top-selling midsize pickup mantle left behind once the North American Ranger exited the market. Ford hasn't said whether the Ranger will return or not but whispers say it will see how GM fares once it releases the Colorado back into the wild. For midsize pickup shoppers, who are notorious for picking a truck that best suits their needs instead of going bigger just because, this is a good sign.
In the meantime, the 2013 Global Ford Ranger continues on with three different engine choices, a 2.5-liter Duratec 25 inline-four, a 2.2-liter Duratorq inline-four, and a 3.2-liter Duratorq inline-five. Each of which can be mated to a five- or six-speed manual transmission as well as a six-speed automatic gearbox. Both 4x2 and 4x4 capabilities are available on the new Ranger, too. For our drive with the 2013 Global Ford Ranger, we were given a 2.5-liter Duratec 25 inline-four, partnered with a five-speed manual transmission to produce 175-horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. The double cab configuration is good for 42.7 cubic-feet of cargo space and the T6 Ranger's bed yields 10 separate tie-downs. A wide rear window made it effortless to see behind the T6 Ranger and if you're carrying cargo in the bed, it's easily in view as well.
At 211 inches long, the Global Ford Ranger Crew Cab is 8 inches shorter than the North American variant with the same configuration. The T6 Ranger Crew Cab checks in at 72.8 inches wide while the Ranger Crew Cab that just left the North American market had 69.4 inches of girth. North America's Ranger Crew Cab featured a wheelbase of 125.9 inches while the T6 Ranger Crew Cab's wheelbase stretches out to 127 inches. Despite the Global Ranger's measurements being similar to the North American version, the T6 felt more composed when taking a corner at speed. Handling also benefits from these proportions as it feels sharper and more responsive.
Inside, the 2013 Global Ford Ranger features similar ergonomics as the North American Focus sedan. The center stack is simple, sparse, and easy to interact with as only three climate control knobs and an AM/FM radio are present. Storage space is abundant in the T6 Ranger with two spots to stash a cellphone, wallet, or other pocket-size gear in the center stack alone. The instrument cluster is clean and well-organized with only the essential tachometer, fuel, oil temperature, and speedometer taking up space behind the steering wheel. A digital odometer sits below both the fuel and oil temperature gauges while being book-ended by the tach and speedometer.
Other midsize pick-up truck models still available in North America have a rear seat that's better served as storage space than a place to sit. The T6 Ranger, however, features a rear seat that's supportive and not uncomfortably upright. Space is abundant inside the Global Ranger and rear legroom can accommodate a full-grown adult. The one major issue we found with the 2013 Global Ford Ranger though was that the clutch, brake, and gas pedal were positioned too close together. When attempting to row through the gears, we accidentally tested the seatbelts simultaneously as it was nearly impossible not to step on both the clutch and brake at the same time.
There's no denying that the North American midsize pickup truck segment is currently experiencing a reduction in size. In-market owners don't have much to choose from when it comes time to replace their ride. No matter what Ford thinks, Ranger owners have already shown they aren't willing to make the jump into the F-150. So it appears we have a stalemate for the time being. Ford won't budge on bringing the Global Ranger to North America and midsize pickup owners won't migrate into something bigger. A possible return date for the Ranger could arrive soon after Chevrolet launches the redesigned Colorado though as Ford may want to see how its crosstown rival fares. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure, if the Global Ranger finally does make it to North America, we expect it to quickly ascend back up the ladder to take its normal spot at the top of the midsize pickup heap.
|2013 Ford Global Ranger|
|BASE PRICE||$19,000 (est)|
|LAYOUT||Front-engine, 2WD/4WD, 4-5-pass, 4-door light-duty pickup|
|ENGINES||2.5L/163-hp/167-lb-ft 16-valve inline-4 engine|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||211 x 72.8 x 66 in|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,400 lb (est)|
|PAYLOAD CAPACITY||3,172 lb|
|TOWING CAPACITY||4,850 lb|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||Not rated|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||Not rated|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||Not Applicable|