The secret is now out.
The Ford Ranger may have only returned to the US for the 2019 model year but this same generation has been on sale in overseas markets, such as Australia, since 2011. Riding on the aging T6 platform, the Ranger is approaching the end of its current life cycle and is due to be replaced in the near future. Recent spy shots suggest the Blue Oval is moving fast with final testing.
Meanwhile, the midsize truck continues to be Australia's best-selling 4x4, despite its age. This can be attributed to nearly yearly updates since its arrival. But is Ford taking advantage of its popularity Down Under? It looks that way, as CarAdvice has discovered the local market Ranger is "under attack by the beancounters" who are stripping the trucks of various features in the hope of saving money.
They're just assuming customers won't notice. Well, they noticed. To add further insult to injury Ford Australia isn't even offering any discounts as compensation. The publication notes it's been contacted by several Ranger owners who claim their new trucks are lacking things like sun visors with an extendable arm, vanity mirrors with illumination, the storage pocket beneath the rear seat (leaving the bare metal exposed), and, on lower-trim derivatives, there isn't the sound-deadening glass there's meant to be.
To its credit, Ford Australia has updated the Ranger brochure to reflect these changes but, as one annoyed owner rightly points out, "who goes into that level of detail when you already own the car?"
The overall lesson these Ranger customers have learned is to conduct more research when buying their next vehicle. Perhaps it won't be from Ford following a situation like this. It's not the end of the world by any means but "it just leaves a bit of bad taste," another buyer said. Ford certainly isn't the only automaker who's removed certain features from a vehicle for its final model year, but is it really worth angering customers for the sake of saving a few bucks here and there?
We should point out that the Australian market Ranger is built in Thailand while North America's is assembled in Michigan, with a fully boxed frame to make it suitable for the American market; this doesn't mean all Rangers are being watered down. But the situation does serve as a reminder for consumers to pay attention whenever and wherever possible.