Serendipity is what I believe it’s called. On the day TTAC was aflutter with news and comments on the new Chevy Colorado and an out-of-the-box thinking proposal to get the Chevy Montana into the North American market, I got some news in my e-mail inbox. The new Ford Ranger has arrived in Brazil – but in regular cab form.
At about US$29,500, it is about 500 dollars more expensive than the priciest Fiat Strada. In Brazil, cars pay much higher taxes than in the US, but those prices mean very healthy margins. For that kind of dough, equipment on the Ranger is quite nice, but the ambience is the same in cars almost 10,000 dollars less. In other words, plastics, hard plastics and more plastics is what you find inside.
Besides plastic, the new truck offers power everything, a roll bar, graphics package, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a plethora of other niceties (or worthless add-ons depending on your perspective). Mechanically speaking, there’s an auto locking differential, ABS, EBD and the engine is an all-aluminum 2.5L I4 that has 168 or 173 hp if running on Brazilian gasoline (E+/-22) or pure Brazilian ethanol. Though that sounds relatively good, Brazilian enthusiast site bestcars.com.br says that at just 120km/h the engine is revving hard at 3,200 rpm.
Always an important thing in pickups, the bed is 7.5 feet long and has 1.800 L of volume up to the edges of said bed. This would be enough to carry two motorcycles in the bed without breaking too much of a sweat. It carries loads of up to 1400 kg, roughly double of the mini car-based trucklets and a far cry over the 900 kilos or so the Rangers that made it here in the mid 90s were good for.
The new single cab Ford Ranger takes indirect aim at the smaller Fiat Strada and Volkswagen Saveiro in Brazil, but it really competes against the Chevy S10 (known as Colorado in the US) and Toyota Hilux, both of which look rather unfortunate in the single cab configuration. The last single cab Ranger managed to sell about 10,000 units from 2007 until 2012, which compared to the roughly 10,000 sales a month the Fiat Strada manages is but a drop in the ocean. Would it suffer the same fate in North America or does the new single cab, long bed, global Ford Ranger have what it takes to become a player in America?