Despite dwindling sales in a dwindling segment, Ford's Ranger refuses to pack up. For 2010, the compact pickup looks unchanged on the outside, but beneath the skin it gains some new electronic gubbins to help make it more competitive.
In the main, the trucklet soldiers on into its next model year with a larger complement of standard safety equipment. Traction and stability control (AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control in Blue Oval-speak) will be built into every 2010 Ranger, along with new side airbags designed to protect the head and torso.
The rest of the package continues essentially unaltered, with Ford continuing to wave the Ranger's banner as America's most fuel-efficient pickup (the base 2.3-liter four-cylinder nets 21 miles-per-gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway).
Rumors have persisted that the Ranger might be euthanized ahead of its Twin Cities production plant's scheduled closing in 2011 – and indeed, just yesterday word came down that the truck's assembly lines will be idled for an additional two weeks due to slow sales. But the added investment in safety equipment for 2010 would seem to indicate that the Ranger is likely to soldier on until the plant's scheduled closing date. Click on the jump for Ford's official press release.
[Sources: Ford Motor Company; Minneapolis Star Tribune]
2010 FORD RANGER: AMERICA'S MOST FUEL-EFFICIENT PICKUP ADDS NEW, STANDARD SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES
- America's most fuel-efficient pickup – the Ford Ranger – will add as standard equipment this summer a segment-exclusive safety technology – AdvanceTrac® with RSC® (Roll Stability Control). This unique technology helps prevent skidding and dangerous rollover conditions
- The new 2010 Ranger also adds new combination side air bags – offered standard – designed for head and torso protection
- With 2.3-liter I-4 engine, the Ranger is the most fuel-efficient pickup truck with an EPA-estimated fuel economy at 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway
- Ford has more U.S. government 5-star safety-rated vehicles than any other brand and more IIHS "Top Safety Picks" than any other automaker.
Industry-exclusive AdvanceTrac with RSC goes a step beyond stability control systems found on competitive models with a gyroscopic roll sensor that determines both the vehicle's body roll angle and roll rate.
If it detects the vehicle is about to roll, the system automatically applies additional countermeasures – such as reducing engine power 15 percent and/or applying brakes to one or more wheels – to enhance vehicle rollover resistance.
The new Ranger's head-and-chest combination side air bags provide enhanced head and torso protection in certain side impacts. The side air bag system is designed to cushion the head, minimizing lateral head injuries in case of collision, in addition to acting as a barrier between the occupant and the side of the vehicle,
"The 2010 Ranger's Roll Stability Control and combination side air bag technologies will help occupants stay out of harm's way," said Steve Kozak, chief engineer of safety systems, Ford Motor Company. "The Ranger has been America's most fuel-efficient pickup, and now it features a combination of safety features not offered in any other small pickup."
In addition, Ranger also provides high levels of safety and security with Ford's Personal Safety System®, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and SecuriLock® passive anti-theft system, all included as standard equipment on all models.
Also standard are four-wheel anti-lock brakes, driver- and front-passenger air bags, safety belts with front pretensioners for outboard seating positions and side-intrusion door beams. Ford's front-passenger sensing system helps ensure air bags are not deployed on the passenger side when small children are detected. Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) child-seat mounts are provided in the front-passenger seat on all models.
Further adding value to the Ranger is its class-leading fuel economy and low cost of ownership. With EPA-estimated fuel economy at 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway for the 2.3-liter I-4 engine, Ranger is the most fuel-efficient pickup on the market today. Plus its 7,500-mile service intervals for routine maintenance, such as oil changes, help Ranger historically rank among the lowest cost of ownership among all compact pickups studied by Edmunds.com.