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The Ranger name started as a trim package on the full size F-Series trucks. Ford had been importing the Courier since about 1972 as a compact pick up. The Courier was produced by Mazda and at the time Ford owned a 25% stake in Mazda. With the introduction of the Ranger as a compact truck, ' XLS' replaced the Ranger name on the F-Series.
1983 - Replacing the Mazda-built Courier for 1983 was the Ford-built Ranger truck. Introduced early in the 1982 calendar year, the Ranger was nearly the same size as the Courier and also offered 6 and 7 foot beds. Unlike the Courier, however, it was available not only with a regular four-cylinder engine, but also with a V-6 or 4-cylinder diesel engine, and -- later in the model year -- with four-wheel drive. The base Ranger had the 2-liter inline 4-cylinder engine rated at 72 hp. A 4-speed manual transmission was standard. The 2.3-liter diesel 4-cylinder was rated at 59 hp. Five speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmissions were available.
1984 - The Ranger styling continued unchanged, but some marketing moves were made to broaden its appeal. In addition to the base truck and the more upscale XLS and XLT models, a Ranger S model was introduced that was a very stripped down version. Added to the option list was a new 2.8-liter V-6 rated at 115 hp. 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions were also options.
1985 - Newly standard for the 1985 Ranger was a fuel-injected 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that was more powerful than the carbureted version it replaced. A carbureted 2.8-liter V-6 remained optional, and newly available was a four-speed automatic transmission. The 5-speed manual transmission became standard, replacing the 4-speed manual. Sales brochures talked about the increased use of aluminum and composite materials in the construction of the pickup bed and other areas as examples of how Ford was fighting corrosion. Ford also continued to stress that the Ranger was truly a small scale version of the F-150, down to the same ladder-type frame construction and twin I-beam front suspension, a Ford trademark for more than 20-years. More than 232,000 Rangers were sold in 1985.
1986 - Ranger at last followed the body lineup available on the F-Series and offered a standard cab and a new Super Cab. The Super Cab had 17 inches of storage space behind the folding front seats, and two jump seats were options that could be placed back there. The Super Cab could only be had with the standard 6-foot bed, but buyers of the regular cab could choose from the 6 and 7 foot bed.
Under the hood, the entire Ranger lineup had electronic fuel injection. Newly available on the base Ranger S was a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder while the most powerful engine available was the 2.9-liter V-6 rated at 140 hp. Also offered that year -- but rarely ordered -- was the 2.3-liter turbo diesel 4-cylinder. Four wheel drive Rangers got a new "shift-on-the-fly" system in 1986.
1987 - A new 4x4 model was introduced called the High Rider STX that included a bed-mounted light bar and tubular grille guard.. It had 1.5 inches more ground clearance than the previous year's 4x4 model. Other changes included dropping the 2.3-liter on the Super Cab for the larger 2.9-liter V-6. New white painted wheels were an option on some trucks and all the radios had an electronic display, which also included a clock, as standard.
1988 - Changes were limited to trim with new cast aluminum wheels the most visible change. A turbocharger was added to the diesel 4-cylinder boosting horsepower to 86. The average age of the Ranger buyer was 30 and most passed up the standard model in favor of the XLS or Super Cab models. Newly available for two-wheel-drive regular cabs was a GT package with sport suspension, front spoiler, and side skirts.
1989 - The Ranger received an updated look to the front end with flush mounted halogen headlights, wrap around parking lights and flush mounted grill that mimicked the look of its Ford F-Series big brother. Interiors were also new. A new 2.3-liter twin-sparkplug, fuel injected inline 4-cylinder replaced the old 4-cylinder of the same capacity. The new engine was rated at 100 hp. It had a revised intake system and distributorless ignition. The 140-hp 2.9-liter V-6 was also available. The Ranger also received a rear wheel antilock braking system, as well as an all new interior. A 21-gallon fuel tank was optional on Rangers with the extended pickup bed.
Ford Ranger GT
1990 - For 1990 the Ranger received an optional 4.0-liter engine with a cast iron block, aluminum heads, a 9-1 compression ratio, and produced 160 hp. 20 hp. more than the optional 2.9-liter. Both were available in 2 or 4 wheel drive with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. The 4.0-liter Rangers came with an 8.8-inch rear end versus the Ford 7.5-inch rear. On a limited number of Rangers with the 72-inch bed, Ford offered as a no-cost option, a bed made from plastic composite material as a way to fight corrosion. The front axles were upgraded from a Dana 28 to a Dana 35.
Gone for 1990 was the sporty GT package.
1991 - A sport model was added with a special paint and tape package in the standard cab only. Special aluminum wheels completed the sport truck. Elsewhere, a 60/40 split bench seat was added to the option list. Two-wheel-drive Rangers got an optional 3.0-liter V-6 engine for 1991 to replace the 2.9-liter offered previously (and still optional on 4x4s), gaining five horsepower in the bargain, to 145. The optional Ford Ranger 4.0-liter V-6 could now be linked to a five-speed manual in addition to a four-speed automatic.
Dress-up option packages included the STX, as shown here.
Another decor package option for the 1991 Ranger was the Sport, as shown above.
Regular and SuperCab (shown above) body styles remained available.
1992 - The base engine on all 4 wheel drive Rangers was upgraded to the 140 hp. 2.9-liter V-6 with the 160 hp. 4.0-liter V-6 an option. Dropped from the 4x4 lineup was the 2.3-liter. Ford used additional galvanized steel to resist corrosion. Fog lamps were now optional on the STX Sport 4x4 Rangers. Ford discontinued the cloth headliner on the entry level S model as a way of reducing the price.
The 1992 Ford Ranger's STX package came with side graphics, as shown on this SuperCab 4x4.
1992 Ford Ranger Sport models got their own distinct -- and colorful -- graphics.
1993 - The Ranger received a new aerodynamic look for 1993. New flush side glass, wider doors for easier access, slight fender flares and a rounded front end were all hallmarks of the freshened Ranger. Ford introduced the Ranger Splash (See picture below) which was a flareside Ranger with aluminum wheels and distinctive, colorful graphics. The 4X4's got their own distinctive grill, and changes to the dashboard, seats and headliner were made to all models. The optional 60/40 split bench seats now had a center armrest, and a new multi-function control stalk was added to the steering wheel. AM-FM radios with cassette or compact disk players were offered as options. A new 3.0-liter V-6 replaced the 2.9-liter that had been standard on all 4X4's and optional on others. The new engine produced 145 hp.. The 4.0-liter remained an option and produced 160 hp.
A rounded-edge restyle was applied to the Ford Ranger pickup truck for 1993, its first since 1989.
A revised Ford Ranger interior also came along for the restyle ride, but powertrains carried over.
1994 - Midway through the 1993 model year -- in which it was redesigned -- Ranger added a sporty Splash model to its lineup that included a Flareside bed and special trim. At first offered only as a regular cab, an extended-cab version (shown here) was added for 1994. Ford-owned Mazda now sold its own version of the Ranger as the B-Series, but it didn't offer a Flareside bed.
1995 - Driver's-side airbags were installed as was a brake/shift interlock on the automatic transmission models. A four-wheel antilock brake system was now standard on Rangers with the 4.0-liter V-6 and all 4 wheel drive models, and available as an option on all other Rangers. The 2.3-liter and 3.0-liter engines received minor internal improvements that made them run more smoothly and boosted horsepower up by 10. An improved electronically controlled 4-speed automatic was also available. On the outside, Rangers got a new grill, while inside there was a redesigned instrument panel. Optional on Super Cab models was a 6-way power seat, and a 6-disk CD player and remote entry/alarm setup were available on all models.
1996 - Ranger got the added safety feature of a passenger side airbag. As an added precaution, the passenger airbag could be deactivated by a dashboard switch if a rear facing child seat was used. Other changes included a factory certification of all Ranger engines stating that they could go 100,000 miles between tune-ups under normal driving conditions if the fluid and filter are changed regularly. The flareside body style, previously available only with the Splash trim package, is now offered with other trim levels as well.
1997 - For 1997, the Ranger lineup adds a significant product advantage in this segment, a new five-speed automatic transmission called the 5R55E that improves performance. A new single-disc player has been added to the audio option list, in addition to the six-disc changer that's already there. Power windows and locks have been added to the low-line XLT models as options. Flareside rear fenders can now be ordered on Ranger models other than the Splash. A second power point has been added to the dashboard, as has a SuperCab cargo area cover. ABS, previously standard on 4x4 models, has been made optional for 1997 to lower the price and offer the buyer more choices.
1998 - Improvements to engines include enlarging the base four-cylinder engine from 2.3-liters to 2.5-liters and giving the 3.0-liter V6 a new intake manifold that improves torque, or pulling power, by 14 percent. Then the standard cab was stretched 3 inches, thanks to a 3.6-inch increase in wheelbase. With the '98 redo, the Ranger's previous C-section frame is now boxed from the front bumper to the A-posts, which greatly enhances overall solidity. The Ranger's sheetmetal forward of the A-pillars has been tastefully cleaned up for '98. The fresh pieces include a new grille, bumper, valance, lighting, and aluminum hood. Designers also lowered the truck's hoodline and increased the rear-window size, which greatly improves outward visibility. Another '98 change that positively influenced the ride and steering quality was the front-suspension's overhaul. Ford replaced the veteran twin I-beams with a new wishbone-style front suspension that uses coil springs or torsion bars. New "Pulse Vacuum" hub-locks enables virtually silent 4x4 engagement on the fly with a flick of the dash switch.
Ford introduced the Ranger EV (Electric Vehicle) for 1998. Powered by a rear-mounted 90-horsepower electric motor, the EV claimed a top speed of 75 mph and a range of from 35 to 50 miles from conventional lead-acid batteries mounted between the frame rails. Anti-lock brakes, dual airbags, and an electric heater were standard; air conditioning was optional. Shared with standard 1998 Ford Rangers was a regular cab that was three inches longer than before, allowing for more legroom.
The Ford Ranger EV's instrument panel included a "Distance to Empty" gauge indicating how far the truck could be driven based on the amount of charge left in the batteries. The "E" on the gear indicator stood for "Economy Drive." When selected, it increased the amount of electrical regeneration when braking.
Not available in EV form was the Ford Ranger with extended SuperCab, which for 1998 offered dual rear-hinged back doors, a feature not available on any other contemporary compact pickup. Also for 1998, the Ranger's base engine grew from 2.3 liters to 2.5.
1999 - New tow hooks assist in towing and in being pulled out of trouble (4x4 only). New 2.5L I-4 engine with increased engine size, horsepower and torque is standard on 4x2. Front crush zone helps absorb energy in the event of a frontal collision. New Pulse Vacuum Hublock (4x4) allows "shift on the fly" capability at just about any speed with smooth, virtually silent operation.
New "A pillar" grab handles assist entering and leaving vehicle (XLT and Splash 4x4 only). New Second Generation depowered standard driver/passenger air bags with manual passenger deactivation switch (always wear your safety belt and deactivate the passenger air bag when using a rear-facing child safety seat). New larger Regular Cab - 76 mm (3") deeper with additional interior space. New seats have a sporty style and feature excellent comfort and lateral support. Side door intrusion beams add protection in the event of certain side impacts. Tie-downs in bed help secure cargo.
New rack-and-pinion steering for precise cornering. New short/long arm suspension contributes to improved ride and cornering stability. Standard rear-wheel ABS; available 4-wheel ABS. New fully boxed front frame increases front torsional rigidity 370%. Corrosion protection measures include stainless steel exhaust system and aluminum hood. Larger standard 4x2 tire for improved traction. New 4-pin towing harness standard for more convenient trailer electrical hook-up (XLT and Splash only). Available in a 4-door SuperCab. Also available with a 5 speed automatic transmission.
2000 - Ford offers two trim levels for the Ranger: XL and the XLT. Prices range from $11,485 for a 2.5-liter 4x2 XL to $19,690 for a 3.0-liter 4x4 XLT. A 4.0-liter engine adds $695 to the price of 3.0-liter models.
Ranger XL models are light on amenities, but long on value; they come with the basics: black vinyl floor covering, AM/FM radio, vinyl seats. XLT Rangers get more chrome, handholds, an AM/FM/CD sound system, cloth seats and upgraded door panels. XL models have rear antilock brakes, while XLTs get four-wheel antilock braking systems.
Both XL and XLT Rangers are available in Regular Cab and SuperCab configurations; SuperCabs are available with either two or four doors. SuperCabs are based on a long 126-inch wheelbase, while Regular Cabs are available in short-wheelbase (112 inches) and long-wheelbase (118 inches) versions. On SWB models you cab opt for the stylish Flareside.
This year Ford added a Trailhead group to its menu of options. This off-road package includes a torsion bar suspension, extra ground clearance, and 16-inch tires, along with tow hooks and other features that transform a 2WD truck into a 4WD look-alike.
Ranger owes its smooth ride (the ride is even smooth in 4WD models, no mean feat) to a rigid frame that cuts down on vibration. Four-wheel drive Rangers (and 2WD models with the Trailhead Group package) have front torsion-bar suspensions with rear single-stage leaf springs. Two-wheel-drive models have coil springs in the front and two-stage leaf springs in the rear. The torsion-bar suspension is smooth, and the coil-spring suspensions are smoother still. The rack-and-pinion steering found on all Rangers is responsive and precise.
Two-wheel-drive Rangers come standard with a 2.5-liter, inline-4 engine that puts out 119 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 146 foot-pounds of torque at 3000 rpm. While the engine is economical, it might be a bit light for a truck that tips the scales at a minimum of 3068 pounds.
A 3.0-liter V6 that turns out 150 horsepower at 4750 rpm and 190 foot-pounds of torque at 3650 rpm is standard on four-wheel-drive Rangers. Not only is it powerful, but it's a flexible fuel engine that can run on either regular unleaded gasoline or E85 (a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline).
But if it's power you want-power to pass anything on the road or climb any hill with ease-try the optional 4.0-liter V6. Available on all models, it cranks out 160 horsepower at 4200 rpm and 225 foot-pounds of torque at 2750 rpm. It compares well against Toyota Tacoma's high-revving 3.4-liter V6 (190 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 220 foot-pounds of torque at 3600 rpm). If you opt for the Ford 4.0-liter you'll find your pockets lighter by a paltry $695-but it adds a lot of zip.
As for transmissions, you can choose to mate a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic to any of the three engines. Or, if you get the 4.0-liter V6, you can opt for a 5-speed automatic ($1,145). That's the combo we had on our test truck and we loved it. It zipped down the highway, always smoothly shifting into just the right ratio for the given situation. Our 4.0-liter Ranger certainly had more zing going up Cajon Pass on Interstate 15 east of Los Angeles than a 3.0-liter model we recently drove up that same pass. With the 3.0 engine, a 4X4 gets 16/20 mpg, with the 4.0-liter a 4X4 gets 15/19. You'll see a 1 mpg improvement around town with a 4x2.
Ford's pulse-vacuum hub-lock system introduced last year allows nearly instantaneous shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive at any speed. When the system is disengaged, the front drive train is disconnected at the wheels. The truck gets better fuel economy with less vibration and noise.
All Rangers are equipped with driver and passenger airbags, with a passenger-side deactivation switch for improved safety with children.
2001 - The Ranger is available in three trim levels. Between base XL and fancy XLT is the new Edge model. It has a sportier cabin, 4x4-level ride height (even when equipped with two-wheel drive), and a monochromatic exterior that mimics the burly look of Ford's F-series Super Duty pickups. The cream of the Ranger crop, however, will be the XLT SuperCabs that get the Premium Offroad package.
At about $1500, the package greatly enhances the 4x4's off-road ability with fifteen-inch forged aluminum wheels, BFGoodrich T/A KO tires, Bilstein dampers, a Torsen limited-slip differential, skid plates, and tow loops. Inside are grab handles, unique seat fabric, and bright-metal stalks for the gearshift and transfer case with cue- ball knobs that seem far too cool to be original equipment.
Under the hood, the 150-bhp, 3.0-liter V-6 is carried over, as is the 119-bhp, 2.5-liter four (a more powerful new four, displacing 2.3 liters, is due this winter). The optional 4.0-liter OHV V-6 is gone, supplanted by the 4.0-liter SOHC V-6 from the Explorer. Mated to a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic, the SOHC six produces 207 horsepower and 238 pound-feet of torque47 horsepower and 13 pound-feet more than the engine it replaces. The new V-6 moves its charge off the line with authority and hums along at highway speeds with none of the breathlessness of the old engine. It also enables a properly equipped '01 Ranger to tow more than 6000 pounds.
The Ranger team has revised the suspension to quell the previous truck's somewhat wallowy ride and herky-jerky handling. Safety has been enhanced with the addition of standard four-wheel anti-lock brakes and electronic brake-force distribution, and a thorough noise-reduction effort has brought remarkable quietude to a cabin that sports supportive new seats, a revised instrument panel, and a standard single-disc CD stereo (an in-dash six-disc changer is available, as is the stunning 560-watt "Tremor" audio system).
2002 - America's best-selling compact pickup gains a new off-road-oriented model and an additional audio choice for 2002. Ranger offers regular-cab and extended SuperCab body styles. SuperCabs have two rear fold-down jump seats and available back-hinged rear doors. Regular cabs use a 6- or 7-ft straight-side cargo bed; SuperCabs get the 6-ft version. A 6-ft flare-fender Flareside bed is optional. Engine choices include a 2.3-liter 4 cyl and V6s of 3.0 and 4.0 liters. All use manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. Ranger has rear-wheel drive or 4WD that must be disengaged on dry pavement but includes low-range gearing. Four-wheel ABS is standard.
New for '02 is the XLT FX4 off-road model with 4WD, heavy-duty suspension, 31-inch tires, heftier skid plate, and tow hooks. Also new is an available MP3/CD audio system. Introduced midyear were Tremor SuperCabs with a high-powered cassette/CD system. Ranger's design is also used by the Mazda Truck--formerly called the Mazda B-Series--but the two differ slightly in styling and available features. And offered through Ford dealers is the SLP Thunderbolt Ranger, a 2WD XLT SuperCab modified by SLP Engineering of Troy, Mich. Available with the Thunderbolt package are cosmetic trim items, sporty suspension revisions, and tuning that adds 10 hp to the 3.0 V6 and 15 hp to the 4.0.Welcome to the 2002 Ford Ranger.
2003 - America's best-selling compact pickup gains a new off-road package and additional power for 2003. Ranger offers regular-cab and extended SuperCab body styles. SuperCabs have two rear fold-down jump seats as standard or optional, depending on model. SuperCabs are available with back-hinged rear doors. Regular cabs use a 6- or 7-ft straight-side cargo bed; SuperCabs get the 6-ft version. A 6-ft flare-fender Flareside bed is optional. The base engine is a 2.3-liter 4 cyl, which gains 8 hp this year, as does the available 3.0-liter V6. Also offered is a 4.0-liter V6. All use manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. Ranger has rear-wheel drive or 4WD that must be disengaged on dry pavement but includes low-range gearing. Four-wheel ABS is standard.
In other '03 changes, Ford says thicker glass and added insulation quiet Ranger's cabin. And the XLT FX4 off-road model gains a Level II version with heavy-duty shock absorbers, Torsen limited-slip axle, and special wheels and tires. Ranger's design is also used by the Mazda Truck, but the two differ slightly in styling and available features.
2004 - Minor appearance alterations top a short list of 2004 changes to America's best-selling compact pickup. Ranger offers regular-cab and extended SuperCab body styles. SuperCabs have two rear fold-down jump seats as standard or optional, depending on model. SuperCabs are available with back-hinged rear doors. Regular cabs use a 6- or 7-ft straightside cargo bed; SuperCabs get the 6-ft version. A 6-ft flare-fender Flareside bed is optional. Engine offerings include a 2.3-liter 4 cyl, and V6s of 3.0 and 4.0 liters. All use manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. Ranger has rear-wheel drive or 4WD that must be disengaged on dry pavement but includes low-range gearing. Four-wheel ABS is standard. Revisions for '04 include a new grille, mildly revised interior styling, availability of a CD player that reads MP3-formatted discs, and newly optional leather upholstery. Ranger's design is also used by the Mazda B-Series, but the two differ slightly in styling and available features.
2005 - Ford's compact pickup enters 2005 little-changed. Ranger offers regular-cab and extended SuperCab body styles. SuperCabs have two rear fold-down jump seats as standard or optional, depending on model. SuperCabs are available with back-hinged rear doors. Regular cabs use a 6- or 7-ft straightside cargo bed; SuperCabs get the 6-ft version. Engine offerings include a 2.3-liter 4-cyl, and V6s of 3.0- and 4.0-liters. All use manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. Ranger has rear-wheel drive or 4WD that should not be left engaged on dry pavement but includes low-range gearing. Four-wheel ABS is standard. Leather upholstery is available. Ranger's design is also used by the Mazda B-Series, but the two differ slightly in styling and available features.
2006 - Ford's compact pickups get only a mild facelift for 2006. Ranger offers regular-cab and extended SuperCab models spanning six trim packages. SuperCabs have two rear fold-down jump seats as standard or optional, depending on trim, and are available with back-hinged rear access doors. Regulars offer 6- and 7-ft cargo beds; SuperCabs use the 6 ft only. Engines comprise a 2.3-liter 4-cyl and 3.0- and 4.0-liter V6s. All use manual or 5-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive. V6s also offer 4WD that can't be used on dry pavement but includes low-range gearing. All models come with 4-wheel ABS. Leather upholstery is among the many options. Mazda's B-Series trucks are retrimmed Rangers with a different pricing and features mix. Styling changes for '06 Rangers involve modest revisions to bumpers, grille, fenders, and lights.
The Ford Ranger pickup truck was restyled for 2006 to align it with the corporate "Ford Truck look."
Ranger's 2006 updates included a more modern dashboard.
2007 - Ford's compact pickup offers regular-cab and extended SuperCab models spanning six trim packages. SuperCabs have two rear fold-down jump seats as standard or optional, depending on trim, and are available with back-hinged rear access doors. Regulars offer 6- and 7-ft cargo beds; SuperCabs use the 6-ft only. Engines comprise a 2.3-liter 4-cyl and 3.0- and 4.0-liter V6s. All use manual or automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive. V6s also offer 4WD that should not be left engaged on dry pavement but includes low-range gearing. All models come with ABS. Leather upholstery is among the many options. Mazda's B-Series trucks are retrimmed Rangers with a different pricing and features mix.
The 2007 Ford Ranger adds a slew of standard features including Personal Safety System, a tire-pressure-monitoring system, SecuriLock passive anti-theft system, MP3 capability added to the single-disc CD audio system, and an auxiliary audio input jack on all audio systems except the base AM/FM receiver. SIRIUS satellite radio is available on STX, XLT, SPORT and all FX4 models. Two new 16-inch wheels are available on TREMOR, XLT 4x4, Sport 4X2 and 4x4, and FX4 Off-Road Package. An XLT 4x2 appearance package is available on all XLT 4x2 body styles and powertrain configurations. Three new colors are added.
News - Only one plant now builds the Ranger (and Mazda's B-Series pickups), and it's set to close in 2008 as part of Ford's "Way Forward" recovery effort. So what then? Ford is said to be weighing several options, including a replacement based on the Explorer SUV or an import designed and built overseas. The latter could come from Asia or South America, where Ford branches build Rangers tailored for those markets, including crew-cab models never offered in the U.S.
2008 - To see the 2008 Ford Ranger, click HERE.
To find about about the new Rangers, visit Fords Website