SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal - March 2019

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 30 of 86

An All-New 2019 Ford Ranger The re-introduction of this legendary pickup still has DNA rooted in its Baja racing past By Stephen Romero The mid-sized Ford Ranger is back, bigger and better than before. After an eight year hiatus from American dealerships, the Ranger pickup has returned to its roots with a vengeance, hoping to reclaim some of its earlier luster, made possible by racers like Manny Esquerra and the many others that followed in the seat of this iconic truck. Let’s start with the obvious. The 2019 resurrected Ranger still retains many proven qualities that made the model so well-suited for desert racing. While the early models were equipped with a 2.3L inline four cylinder engine that made less than 100 horsepower, this modern version sports a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder that produces 270 horsepower and 310 lbs.-ft. of torque and some suggest the new Ranger is nipping at the heels of its big brother in the power-to-weight ratio. With an MSRP starting at $25,000, the Ranger comes standard with a ten-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Consider that it comes with 8.4 to 8.9 inches of ground clearance, in two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models respectively, and you start to see the Ranger’s potential for leaving the pavement behind. Both of these drivetrain configurations offer electronically locking rear differentials, except the front differential is open in the four-wheel drive model. Another new bonus is the Terrain Management system that offers performance options for all types of road conditions; whether it’s snow, gravel, mud or sand. In the towing department things get even better. The midsize Ranger has a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds and the bed can hold more than 1,800 pounds of cargo. Enough to serve as a light-duty chase vehicle if required. For buyers, three trim levels are offered; XL, XLT, and Lariat. Each is available in either SuperCab or SuperCrew. Then there’s the factory designed FX4 off-road package with tuned shocks, skid plates and all-terrain tires. Undoubtedly a slew of aftermarket products will soon hit the market to take the truck to another level of off-road performance. Another new feature Ford calls Trail Control (standard with the FX4) adds to the off-road drivability, as do the approach, breakover, and departure angles in the FX4 version. Dana AdvanTEK independent front and solid rear axles, with an optional electronic-locking rear axle, is another standard feature of the FX4. Other features include a fully boxed high-strength steel frame, frame-mounted front and rear steel bumpers, a double-wishbone suspension, monotube shocks, and parabolic rear leaf springs. According to Ford, the all-new Ranger was designed, engineered and tested to F-150 standards with its advanced driver-assist and connectivity technologies. Time will tell if the recently released Ford Ranger can blaze the trail of earlier generations. But one thing is for certain, long-time Ranger fabricators like McNeil Racing as well as privateers that have raced Rangers for years want to attempt to recreate its legacy. SJ

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