By Brian Letendre
C4x4 Contributor and UCORA President
In the early 1980's, Ford Motor Company introduced a new name in the market of compact trucks, the Ford Ranger. As time marched on, the Ranger saw a few upgrades, but still maintained the small truck look and feel which was slowly becoming less desirable to truck buyers with the rise of the mid-size truck market. In the late 90's and again in early 2000's, the Ranger saw some redesigns in an effort to stay relevant in the market, while competitors like Toyota were gradually growing their fleet of trucks, both in numbers and in dimension. Ford, staying true to its original Ranger, retired the name in 2011 in the United States with the final Ranger coming off the assembly line in December of 2011. I don't know about you, but I don't want that truck; it was probably made on a Friday too.

After an eight year pause, the engineers at Ford have unveiled the new, 2019 Ford Ranger. While I was at the SEMA show, I was able to talk to a couple representatives from Ford about the new Ranger and what they looked forward to the most. After they talked about price point (which is very similar to other unnamed brands common in this market) and that this is the first time Ford has entered the mid-size truck market, we got down to the 'other things' that will make this truck appealing.

Ford introduced this truck to the public just a few days before the start of SEMA, but it was blatantly obvious that there were pre-production trucks given to key companies and detailed dimensions obviously were available. At the SEMA booth, Ford had on display at least 6, 2019 Ford Rangers with all kinds of modifications from not only Ford Performance Parts and the team at Ford Racing, but aftermarket providers of everything from suspension lifts and shock replacements to bumpers and bed accessories. That was a key, according to the folks at Ford. As I was passed from team member to team member, each one expressed the excitement to enter the market with suck a huge offering. The 2019 Ford Ranger was not only being released to combat the already strong market for mid-size trucks, but they wanted to hit it hard with an American-made truck from Michigan with a huge line of aftermarket upgrades and support to get anyone ready to tackle any terrain. Now I know it sounds like I am writing a Ford commercial here, but I think they did it successfully.

After checking out all the different trucks, let me say a couple things. Now, these thoughts and descriptions are completely mine and you can disagree, but after looking over, sitting in, and crawling around these trucks; I think the mid-size market is going to change and many people will flock back to American made trucks. Here are just a couple of the trucks they had on display.

After a day of looking at these trucks, I know one things for sure, if Ford wants to send C4x4 a test truck to take on a trail ride, count me in! Look out Toyota and Nissan, Ford has entered the mid-size truck market in a big way and is prepared to give you a new vehicle to watch out for. Of course, by the time this article is released, Jeep will have announced their new midsized truck, the Gladiator. So we will have to see how the Ranger will compete.