Look at the truck shown above. Blacked-out grille and bumpers, old-school phone dial steel wheels of a reasonable size, and an honest, hardworking cleat system on the outside of the bed. Iâ€™d drive it and Iâ€™m pretty sure you would, too. Raise your hand if Iâ€™m correct.
Hear that Ford? Approximately 100 percent of the American public TTAC readers would sign the note on a base model Ranger. The SuperCrews you showed us in January were a good start, now stop teasing us with overseas mini-Raptors and please whip up a base model.
Keeping with Ford’s naming tradition, Iâ€™m dubbing this the Ranger XL.
The truck you see here is Thailand-spec, one which is physically in the ballpark of what weâ€™ll get in this country when the Ranger appears later this year, perhaps around Thanksgiving. In January, the company showed us XLT and Lariat trims jazzed up with an FX4 package.
Prices for the base Ranger start at 559,000 of the finest Thai Bhats, equalling approximately $17,900 American dollars at todayâ€™s exchange rate. Thatâ€™s squarely in the wheelhouse of other base model midsizers already on sale in these parts, such at the Colorado. If Ford can translate the Rangerâ€™s Monroney as well as we hope it translate its styling, it’s gonna give the establishment a run for its money.
Air conditioning and a barrel of places in which to charge devices are standard in the base Ranger, as is Bluetooth connectivity. Sticky vinyl covers the bench seat. When the truck reaches our shores, itâ€™ll likely include other features like a backup camera and cloth buckets. I also spy a sliding rear window.
Itâ€™s best to ignore the engine choices offered overseas, as those two diesel engines will likely be lost in translation. Fordâ€™s already confirmed the 2.3-liter EcoBoost; the F-150â€™s 2.7-liter V6 would be wonderful.
The chances of a standard cab as shown here is slim, as OEMs â€˜round these parts would much rather hawk higher-margin SuperCrews loaded to the gills with options. Canâ€™t hurt to dream, though, and it is my opinion that there is more of a market for stripped-out base trucks than manufacturers might think.
Witness the proliferation of little kei trucks being used by hardworking farm hands who donâ€™t necessarily need to fire up the Super Duty every time they go to town, for example. These regular cab base trucks might be low-margin, but I maintain there is some demand. Will we ever see one again? Probably not.
And if all thatâ€™s not good enough for ya, check out the base model flatbed. It costs about $500 more than the base Ranger, bins the audio system, and adds rear disc brakes. The suspension is fundamentally different, too, trading ox-cart leaf springs for coils and a Wattâ€™s linkage.
An educated guess puts the new Ranger in American showrooms around the time weâ€™re carving turkey for this yearâ€™s Thanksgiving dinner. History (and my stint at a Ford store 15 years ago) teaches me dealers will start taking orders about three months prior to that date.
Will there be an Ace of Base model? We can only hope.
[Images: Ford Motor Company]