Ford Ranger Overview
The Ford Ranger marked the end of an era. This compact truck was perfect for tackling small projects, fitting the needs of most non-commercial truck buyers. Compact trucks were fairly common in the US until pickup buyers slowly decided they wanted to super-size everything. That’s the American way, right? Despite the discontinuation of the Ford Ranger, there are tons of extremely loyal fans that still cherish their compact Ranger trucks. With the Ford Ranger allegedly making a return to the US in the next few years, we’re looking back at the history of the legendary Ford Ranger through the years, from 1983 to 2011.
Ford Ranger Through the Years
1st Generation (1983 – 1992)
- Introduced in mid-1982, the 1983 Ford Ranger was the first truck available with only 2WD.
- By fall of that year, Ford introduced a 4×4 version.
- The first Ford Ranger was powered by a 2.3L 4-cylinder engine that produced around 80 hp.
- Not long after introduction, Ford added an optional 2.8L V6 engine that produced 115 hp.
- The 4×4 Ford Ranger could pull around 1,600 pounds.
- The Ranger was available with a 4-speed manual, 5-speed manual, or 3-speed automatic.
- Buyers could choose a 6 or 7 foot truck bed.
- In 1985, the 2.3L engine gained fuel injection, bringing total hp up to 90.
- Also in 1985, the automatic transmission become a 4-speed, and the 5-speed manual came standard
- In ’86, a new 2.9L engine replaced the 2.8L V6. The new engine produced around 140hp.
- A SuperCab Ford Ranger was added to the lineup, which has room for 5 passengers (barely) and a 6-foot bed.
- In 1988, Ford introduced the Ranger GT, with a few flashy exterior touches.
- The Ford Ranger was refreshed in 1989 with a more modern cabin and updated front end.
- Also in 1989, the base 2.3L 4-cylinder gained 10 hp.
- Ford only produced around 2000 Ranger GTs, and production ceased in 1989.
- Optional in 1990 was a new 4.0L V6 that produced 160 hp.
- An all-new 3.0L V6 was added as an option for 2WD Rangers in ’91.
2nd Generation (1993 – 1997)
- The 1993 Ford Ranger underwent a heavy redesign, with more rounded sculpting, new lights, new interior, and more.
- The 2.3L engine lost 10 hp, and the 2.9L V6 was discontinued in the Ranger.
- In 1995, the 2.3L engine produced 112 hp, and the 3.0L engine raised to 145 hp.
- Also in 1995, driver airbag and ABS were made standard.
- In ’97, Ford made the 3.0L V6 standard on all 4x4s.
- Also in 1997, Ford added a new 5-speed automatic transmission with the 4.0L V6 engine.
3rd Generation (1998 – 2000)
- Ford revamped the ’98 Ranger with a facelift, a longer wheelbase for standard cabs, and more.
- A 2.4L 4-cylinder engine replaced the 2.3L, now producing 117 hp.
- Ford even created an all-electric Ford Ranger, with a range of about 60 miles.
- An off-road package debuted in 1998.
- Ford sold almost 350,000 Ford Rangers in 1999!
4th Generation (2001 – 2011)
- For 2001, Ranger gained the 4.0L V6 found in the Ford Explorer, raising output to about 207 hp.
- The Ranger FX4 debuted in 2002, a version with great off-road capabilities.
- Ford refreshed the hood, grille, and front bumper in 2004.
- In 2006, the Ranger received even more cosmetic updates.
- In late 2009, Ford announced that those buying Ranger’s from Ford dealers could add specially-designed custom graphics on 2010 models.
- By 2011, Ranger buyers had 2 engine options: a 2.3L 4-cylinder engine that produced 143 hp, and the same V6 mentioned earlier.
- The Ranger was outdated by 2011, only offering “tech” like, cruise control, a CD player, auxiliary jack, etc.
- Production was discontinued in the US, but the Ford Ranger is still available in global markets.
5th Generation (2019?)
- After a few years off the grid, rumor has it the Ford Ranger will return to the US in 2019, as the mid-size/small truck market grows.
Ford Ranger Fast Facts
- Mazda B-Series pickup trucks from 1994 on are almost identical to the Ford Rangers of that time, aside from a few cosmetic details.
- The Ford Ranger was the first truck to offer dual air bags.
- Twilight star Kristen Stewart, was spotted driving a Ford Ranger.
Similar Competitive Models
Want your own Ford Ranger? Search Ford Rangers on Carsforsale.com to find the best deals near you.