Ford Finally Confirms the Return of the Compact Pickup, But When Will We Actually See It?
And will it offer extra electrons under the hood?by Jonathan Lopez, on
The pickup segment looks to be as popular as ever these days, with many manufacturers stacking profits sky-high. However, to keep the money rolling in, Ford can’t get complacent, and as such, the Blue Oval is exploring new offerings for the not-too-distant future, including a fresh compact that could very well offer electrified motivation.
Is A New-Gen Ford Ranchero Imminent?
|Note: TopSpeed rendering of the 2022 Ford Ranchero pictured here.|
This latest news comes to us from our friends at Automotive News, who recently posted statements made by Jim Farley, president of global markets at Ford Motor Co. Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference in Detroit, Farley hinted at upcoming Ford products that would do well to broaden the domestic brand’s lineup beyond the current crop of pickups.
“[Ford is] investing in more affordable versions of our truck business,” Farley said, adding that “you can expect new nameplates below where we compete today.”
That could only mean something that slots below the Ranger, both in terms of price and size.
For reference, the 2019 Ranger is tagged with an MSRP of $24,000 and comes with a 127-inch wheelbase.
Unfortunately, Farley declined to provide details on the forthcoming compact as far as timing is concerned. However, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors of a new pickup in the works, with previous reports pointing towards a new model for the U.S. market by 2022.
For example, a post from Automobile that hit the web last July indicated that the new compact would offer a unibody construction based on the Focus.
With that in mind, we have to imagine something like a new Ford Courier or Ranchero.
|Note: original Ford Ranchero pictured here.|
For those of you who may be unaware, the original Ford Ranchero was produced between 1957 and 1979 as a means to compete with the Chevrolet El Camino.
The more contemporary Ford Courier is similar in terms of body style. Sold in South America and other international markets, the Courier was discontinued in 2013.
Other models we’re reminded of include the Subaru Baja.
As for the fresh Ford we’re speculating over here, it’ll almost definitely carry the name “Ranchero” rather than “Courier,” given its focus on the U.S. market.
If Ford does follow through on something like this, it’ll do well to round out Ford’s other compact offerings, which currently include the Ranger, Bronco, and “Baby Bronco” (the latter of which could be called the “Puma”).
We’ve already imagined what a Focus-based pickup might look like here in this speculative article for the 2022 Ford Ranchero. Basically, we applied the front end of the Focus to a short pickup body, and result of which is… well, let’s go with different.
With a lifted stance and capacious rear bed, a new Ranchero would also offer decidedly car-like driving characteristics, and it could offer a car-like interior as well.
We could also see multiple cab configurations, with an upgraded crew cab adding a pair of doors and a good deal more length to boot. For reference, the current Focus has a wheelbase just over 104 inches in length.
|Note: Ford EcoBoost engine pictured here.|
Under the hood, an EcoBoost four-cylinder is the obvious first choice, but other possible engine configurations could include a turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder making 148 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, which would offer a nice balance between performance and efficiency.
Front-wheel drive will likely be standard, with 4WD or AWD as an available option.
We’d love to see a performance version too - how about stuffing this thing with the Focus RS engine and drivetrain, hmm?
Pricing should slot in under the $20,000 mark.
Overall, it seems like a pretty good choice for anyone who wants to get a practical compact vehicle, but doesn’t want a traditional crossover.
Battery Power Might Be The Final Piece Of The Puzzle
In addition to hints of a new compact model, Farley also said the Blue Oval would be “electrifying the F series, both battery-electric and hybrid.”
We’ve known Ford was working towards a battery-electric F series for a while now, and as the automaker continues to invest billions into the development of its electric technology, it’ll expand its electrified offerings with 16 new EVs and 24 new hybrids by the year 2022.
Electric assistance, whether it’s in the form of a hybrid or a pure-bred EV, would fit quite well for a truck platform, at least with regards to low-end torque created by the electric motor.
What’s more, with ever-tightening emissions standards, a hybrid and EV would work wonders to reduce Ford’s net carbon emissions.
“When it comes to building the best trucks in the world, we never rest,” said Bill Ford, the automaker’s Executive Chairman, in a statement at the Rouge manufacturing complex last September. “Whether they’re gas, diesel, or hybrid - or, when the time comes, fully electric - they will power the world in a sustainable way and remain built Ford tough.”
Indeed, we could see a hybrid F-150 in just a few year’s time.
The Smart Move Going Forward
|Note: current Ford F-150 pictured here.|
Overall, we think smaller vehicles and electrified powertrains could provide a good recipe to extend Ford’s dominance in the pickup segment.
Indeed, automakers like Tesla are already looking to upend the segment with new nameplates and new powertrain technology.
Luckily for Ford, it’s now making waves in the EV space with the 2020 Explorer hybrid, which was recently released at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Take a peek under the hood, and you’ll find a 3.3-liter naturally aspirated V-6 for the internal-combustion duties, plus a single electric motor.
What do you think? Does a new compact pickup from Ford tickle your fancy? How about the prospect of electrified powertrains in the segment? Let us know in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Ranger.
Read our speculative review on the 2022 Ford Ranchero.
Source: Automotive News