After an eight-year absence, the Ford Ranger returns to North America better than ever!
Ford Motors unveiled the all-new, 2019 Ford Ranger at the Detroit Auto Show, giving the company a strong contender in a now-growing mid-size pickup truck segment that it ceded to the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Nissan Frontier.
The new Ranger isn’t actually “all-new”, seeing as it’s been on sale in internationally for nearly two years. Even so, its fresh on the North American market and features updates specifically-tailored for the region’s unique tastes. It gets a new grille, new headlights and a new bumper design, while the rear has the Ranger name stamped across it like the Tacoma.
Inside, the dash is highlighted by an 8-inch touch screen for the available SYNC 3 system, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Alexa interfaces. The instrument cluster features dual LCD productivity screens for real-time vehicle, navigation and audio information; 4G LTE is available for ten devices, the optional premium audio system was designed by Bang & Olufsen, and AC outlets provide added convenience and versatility.
Ford’s midsize pickup truck comes in two cab configurations (SuperCab and SuperCrew), three trim levels (XL, XLT, and Lariat) and two appearance packages called Chrome and Sport, all boasting a 2.3-liter EcoBoost — the same engine used in the Mustang — mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Buyers have the option of an FX4 Off-Road Package featuring Ford’s Terrain Management System, which can switch between four modes depending on the road surface, altering throttle response and transmission shift points. Trail Control allows for low-speed crawls by powering each wheel individually, while electronic locking rear differential
The FX4 Off-Road Package also adds all-terrain tires, a frame-mounted heavy-gauge steel front bash plate, frame-mounted skid plates, and FX4 badging.
Overall, the new Ford Ranger appears to be a thoroughly modern midsize pickup truck with the capabilities, creature comforts and connected technologies one would expect from a contemporary vehicle of its segment. It’s not clear if it’s better than the competition, but it sure is light years better than the relic that’s the previous Ranger.
Production of the 2019 Ranger begins in late 2018 at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant. Are you happy with how it turned out?
Infiniti Previews Its Future Design And Technology With Q Inspiration Concept
At the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, Infiniti took the wraps off a concept vehicle that it says previews its future.
Not only does the so-called Q Inspiration Concept preview Infiniti’s new design direction, but it also ushers in a new era of technology for its vehicles.
It features the company’s next-generation ProPILOT system, which supposedly “liberates the driver from mundane and stressful driving situations.” However, because it can be overridden at any time, it doesn’t completely cut the driver out of the equation.
Power is provided by by Infiniti’s new Variable Compression (VC) turbo four that is said to continually transforms, adjusting its compression ratio to optimize power and fuel efficiency. The VC also powers the new QX50 crossover, where it produces 268 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque in the
Jumping to styling, the Q Inspiration Concept is a four-door sedan with coupe-like profile that’s sleeker, more sculpted and more flowing than any of Infiniti’s current models, even Q60 coupe. Rear-hinged rear doors give excellent access to a futuristic interior.
Christian Meunier, Infiniti Global Division Vice President, stated:
“The premium sedan segment has become rather conservative. The Infiniti Q Inspiration previews something that could appeal to a younger audience, who seek modern design and new technologies to inspire and empower them.”
Although the Q Inspiration Concept is only a design study and isn’t destined for production, there is a chance it will influence the next-generation Q70 sedan or even a spiritual successor the Q45 flagship sedan.
Ford Will Release 40 Plugin Hybrid And Electric Vehicles By 2022
Like crosstown rival General Motors, Ford Motor Co has an onslaught of hybrid and electric cars on the way, having confirmed plans to release 40 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles by 2022.
This includes electrified versions of the popular F-150 pickup and Mustang sports cars and a fully-electric performance SUV (possible called ‘Mach 1’) that offers at least a 300-mile range and goes on sale by 2020. In fact, 16 of the 40 models will be fully-electric.
To make this happen, Ford will invest more than $11 billion by 2022 and has formed ‘Team Edison’ to “own the strategy, own the planning, and interface into the trend” of EV development and production.
The Ford Escape and Expedition, as well as the Lincoln MKC and Navigator, are expected to get plug-in hybrid versions soon. Speaking of Lincoln, the brand is expected to offer a hybrid version of each of its models.
Ford is clearly sinking its feet into the inevitable electric future.
New, 2019 Toyota Avalon Puts On Bold Face, Gets New Tech
Sedan sales aren’t what they used to be — heck, they’re in a free-fall — but that doesn’t mean there is no longer a market for them. At the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, Toyota Motors unveiled the all-new 2019 Toyota Avalon, which it hopes will standout in an automotive landscape increasingly dominated by crossovers.
Based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which also underpins the Camry and Prius, the fifth generation Avalon is longer, wider and lower than before, adopting a new design philosophy that Toyota calls “Technical Beauty.” It’s bold, different and, with that gaping whopper of a grille, not for everyone.
The interior is what you would expect from a car described as a ‘mid-premium’ sedan, offering just about every luxury amenity you could want and featuring more soft-touch materials than in the previous Avalon. The design is clean, sophisticated and elegant and centers around a 9.0-inch infotainment system (supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Android Alexa) and a 7.0-inch central display on the instrument cluster. Higher trim levels get a massive 10-inch head-up display that presents vehicle and engine speeds, navigation information, audio settings and other data.
The new Avalon is the first Toyota-badged model to be available with adaptive variable suspension for improved ride quality and handling.
Power comes from a choice of either a 3.5L V6 or a hybrid system that utilizes a 2.5L four-cylinder engine, two electric motors and its Nickel-Metal battery situated under the rear seat. The former is mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid system makes due with a CVT.
Toyota likely hopes the Avalon’s bold new styling, new technology and refinement will appeal to more buyers after sales in 2017 tumbled by 32 percent in the United States, it largest and most important market. Sales begin in late spring 2018.