Ford's small, car-based pickup is seeking an un-car-like design.
With Ford pulling the plug on its entire North American car lineup to focus more completely on pickup trucks and utilities, the automaker needs new entry-level products to plug the gaps. Enter the Ford Courier - or Ranchero, or whatever Ford decides to call it. The long-awaited compact truck will borrow a play from Honda's Ridgeline, using a transverse car platform instead of relying on a longitudinal, body-on-frame arrangement like a traditional pickup.
That's not entirely new territory for Ford, and not just because of the Ford Ranchero of yesteryear. To this day, Ford builds and markets a car-based Ford Courier pickup in certain markets outside the US.
But that's not what Ford will put on sale in the US, Motor Trend reports. According to that outlet, Ford's forthcoming small pickup for the US market will, like the Ford Bronco Sport, embrace a brawny, square appearance that belies its humble car underpinnings. In contrast even to the classic Ford Ranchero, the new compact pickup will have a distinctly truck-like profile with a strong, orthogonal front end.
The US-market Ford Courier (or Ranchero) is expected to draw on a turbocharged 1.5L three-cylinder and a 2.0L turbo-four for motivation, much like the new Ford Escape. In that application, the engines pump out 180 and 250 peak horsepower, respectively.
Production is expected to take place in Mexico, possibly at the same plant that will build the related Ford Bronco Sport - a move that would make sense, given that both are expected to ride on the same compact car platform - and it could launch as soon as next year, as a 2022 model.
As for pricing, expect Ford's new compact pickup to start around $5,000 below the mid-size Ford Ranger, right in the $19,000 to $20,000 range. That's significantly cheaper than the mid-size Honda Ridgeline, but while that alone might make the Ford an easy sell, rumor has it that FCA's Ram Trucks brand is also looking at introducing a small, car-based pickup in the US.