It's almost hard to believe that the Ford Ranger was the best selling "Compact" truck for over 17 years. How things have changed, is sad. I remember the first time I saw a Ranger in the early 80's, I immediately liked them. But the Ranger name as well as Explorer were originally trim levels on the F100 full size truck. Ford has failed over the last decade to update the Ranger and keep it competative beyond fleet sales as a value leader. Sure the Japanese seemed to create the compact truck segment, but it was Ranger that dominated the US landscape followed by the Chevy S-10. And something funny happened to "Compact" trucks in the 90's, Dodge not being able to break into the segment, busted it with it's Dakota "Midsize" truck. And slowly but surely the competition followed, all but Ford that is. "Compact trucks become larger and grew Crew Cab clones.
Globally Crew Cab "Compact" pickups are far more popular than standard cabs. And Ford knows this, because in every market except North America they offer a crew cab Ranger. This is the new Ranger for the rest of the world. I've discussed it many times in the past and praised it's 2 Diesel powerplants.
But enthusiasts here in the US seem to be longing for a more American answer to the Ranger problem. A return to simpler times and an historic name.
This is a 1973 Ford F100 Ranger. Many people in comments and in recent e-mails like Larry B have been of the opinion that Ford needs to replace the undersized unloved Ranger with a new F100 which would be a 3/4 scale F150 clone.
The F150 replacing the F100 as the base Fullsize Pickup in 1983, has grown to mamoth proportions. It wasn't just the "Compact" pickups that packed on the pounds. But the F150 is still the best selling vehicle in the world after something like 26 years. So maybe they have a point?
God knows FoMoCo hasn't been giving the Ranger much support in the US market. They've undermined it with the Sport Trac based on the Explorer SUV, which was originally based on Ranger mechanicals. But the overpriced Sport Trac is no real competition for the likes of Frontier, Tacoma, Canyon/Colorado or Dakota. It lacks the real utility of the real pickups.
So why did Ford squander it's lead in the US? Why didn't we get a crew cab and more powerful powertrain options? I love my Ranger, and would have jumped on one like this crew cab from overseas markets.
Is the Ranger name so diluted that it's time to resurect the F100 name? With fuel prices rising do we need a larger "Compact" pickup from Ford? I hate to say it, but Larry and others may have a point. Current Rangers are the favorite of value buyers and fleets, but not the true class leader they once were. So bring on the F100, but consider the Diesel options of the foreign Rangers.
What say you?
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