The best-selling compact pickup for the past 16 years is building on its Built Ford Tough heritage with all-new seats, audio system and aggressive exterior styling for the 2004 model year.
Ranger, which appeals to young and active customers, is known for its packaging variety and easy customization. “Ranger has always offered special packages tailored to changing customer needs,” said Matt O’Leary, Ranger chief engineer. “It is an affordable, reliable and fun-to-drive product that meets the demands of a very diverse customer base.” Calendar sales of Ranger totaled over 226,000 units in 2002.
By offering five trim levels (XL, Edge, XLT, Tremor and FX4), Ranger stays a step ahead of its competition. “Ranger has captured the Polk Automotive Loyalty Award for compact pickups since 2000,” said Shawn McDermott, Ranger marketing manager. “We have been able to retain our customers because of our unique and diverse package offerings.”
The 2004 Ranger improves on its already sharp exterior styling, featuring design cues of the all-new 2004 F-150. An all-new front fascia with power dome hood and nostril grille highlight Ranger’s aggressive stance in three new Clearcoat Metallic colors: Dark Shadow Grey, Dark Green Satin and Silver.
Inside, Ranger boasts all-new seats with optional all-new leather-trimmed seat surfaces with late availability in both split bench and sport bucket seat configurations. “We did extensive market and internal research to develop a seat that feels great when you first sit in it as well as after you’ve been in it for hours,” said O’Leary. “We have also met future safety regulations to provide our customers a seat that is comfortable, safe and attractive.”
Sculpted bolsters and adjustable options hold you in place off-roading. Rally-style gauge clusters are added for 2004. FX4 offers black-face clusters and brushed aluminum gauges, while Edge and Tremor sport a white-faced display.
In 2001, Ranger became the first vehicle in its segment to introduce an AM/FM CD/MP3 player. It continues to lead in audio options for 2004. Brace yourself for thumping bass and excellent sound quality thanks to an all-new Pioneer® Stereo System delivering 290-peak watts of power through nine speakers. The system also features an integrated power subwoofer unique to its segment. Your music can go from online to on-road with the standard AM/FM in-dash 6-disc MP3 player.
Also from Pioneer®, Tremor continues to knock sound quality out of the park with a built-in subwoofer delivering 510-watts of power through a new in-dash CD/MP3 player. New for 2004, Tremor will be offered with a 4x4 drivetrain, in addition to the 4x2 offered in previous years. “The Tremor audio system delivers great sound quality and is very popular with our customers,” said McDermott. “The addition of a 4x4 drivetrain will allow us to expand into many new markets.”
New for 2004, FX4 will have an optional manual transmission with late availability.
Ride and Handling
Off-roading poses no challenge for Ranger. Its suspension is revised with improved bushings, springs and tires. Retuned shocks are optimized for improved ride without sacrificing handling. Ranger’s two off-road packages feature proven heavy-duty equipment. “Ranger is true to the Built Ford Tough legacy. Its strong 4x4 stance and off-road capability is outstanding,” said Matt O’Leary, Ranger chief engineer. “I receive many letters from satisfied customers who have well over 100,000 miles on their Rangers and they’re still going strong.”
The FX4/Level II is fitted with retuned Bilstein shocks that improve control, handling and performance. BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A Tires and Alcoa forged aluminum wheels round out Ranger’s rugged profile. Tremor and Edge models feature improved shock tuning and 16-inch aluminum wheels and tires.
Under the hood, the 2004 Ranger offers three engines, including a recently introduced 2.3-liter I-4 and two V-6 engines. The 2.3-liter I-4 produces 143 horsepower at 5,250 rpm and 154 foot-pounds of torque at 3,750 rpm, thanks to new intake and exhaust camshafts, throttle body, exhaust manifold and engine calibration.
Ranger's 3.0-liter V-6 engine produces 154 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 180 foot-pounds of torque at 3900 rpm. The torque profile of the 3.0-liter was modified in 2002 to provide better drivability and improved fuel economy and towing capability. This engine is standard on all 4x2 SuperCab models equipped with the five-speed automatic transmission.
Ranger also is available with a 4.0-liter SOHC V-6 that produces 207 horsepower at 5,250 rpm and 238 foot-pounds of torque at 3,000 rpm. All three engines are available with a five-speed automatic transmission or a heavy-duty, five-speed manual transmission.
While Ranger hardly shies at tearing up dirt roads, it stands as the segment leader in fuel economy and emissions for the standard pick-up truck according to the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. Classified as a Low Emissions Vehicle, the 2.3-liter I-4 engine has even lower emissions for 2004 than in previous years.
Ranger is built at Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minn. and Edison Assembly Plant in Edison, N.J.