Ford is going wild as it prepares to launch an updated version of its midsize Ranger pickup in Europe. Make that Wildtrack, a new version of the truck making its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week.
The unveiling in Europe further bolsters hopes that the Detroit maker will finally move ahead on long-rumored plans to bring the Ranger back to the American market, filling a yawning gap left wide open when it killed off the old, U.S.-made Ranger a few years back.
“With the stunning new Wildtrak at the pinnacle of the line-up, the new Ford Ranger provides customers with an unbeatable combination of four-wheel drive capability, stand-out styling and premium features like SYNC 2 connectivity,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe. “Ranger is ready for any challenge – offering optimised fuel efficiency, towing and payload capacity, and class-leading wading capability.”
Developed for a range of markets, from Thailand to South Africa, the midsize Ranger will undergo some significant updates as it comes to Frankfurt, notably a focus on fuel economy. The addition of Stop-Start and a new electric power-assist steering system should increase mileage by as much as 17%, Ford claims.
The Ranger Wildtrack features a new trapezoidal grille with “distinctive outboard nostrils,” the maker notes. The new, top-line model also gets rectangular foglamps, a unique sports hoop, machined 18-inch wheels and special graphics. The cabin is finished in a striking orange, with a modified instrument cluster and soft-touch details. There also are unique Wildtrack power sports seats.
The updated Ranger adds a variety of safety and performance features, from Lane Keeping Aid to Hill Launch Assist.
Ford is reportedly preparing a U.S. version of the midsize Ranger model it launched overseas two years ago. The move appears to be triggered by the unexpectedly strong response to the all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models General Motors launched last year. Ford abandoned the segment in 2011 when it stopped production of the older version of its Ranger. It has frequently said the new model was not intended for the North American market, but a revised version is apparently under development.
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