Although sales of the new Ford Ranger midsize pickup truck have just begun, expect to see tricked-out versions of the truck on U.S. roads and off-road trails soon.
The pickup, new for 2019, is primed to attract overlanders and other adventurous buyers as it rolls onto dealer lots. The truck’s compact size and durable features have obvious off-roading appeal. And owners will not keep them stock for long.
Midsize truck owners are among the most likely to accessorize their vehicles, according to a 2016 survey conducted by the Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA. It found that exterior items such as mud flaps, side steps and protective bed linings are among the most popular features.
Ford sees opportunity to sell a large number of accessories for the truck, which is off to a hot start. Ford approved its Ranger assembly plant to work “massive overtime” beginning this month to feed greater-than-expected demand, said Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford North America.
Focus off the road
The SEMA study found that 56 percent of midsize pickup owners use their trucks for travel. More than 45 percent engage in camping, hunting or fishing. They will be looking for off-road-focused accessories.
Those buyers may be drawn to equipment and gear designed to take people to the outdoors. Ford offers its own accessories, plus several from specialists like Thule and Yakima, right off the showroom floor. An air-intake snorkel will be available this summer.
Here are some of the eye-catching accessories Rangers are sure to be sporting on local trails near you.
Icon Vehicle Dynamics Suspension: The first upgrade most off-roaders look for is new wheels and tires. But suspension work may be a close second. Icon is one of the hottest names in the adventure and overland scene, and its Ranger accessories can provide up to 3.5 inches of lift. It also improves front-wheel travel by up to 35 percent, increases damping and decreases body roll.
Lund Aeroskin Hood Protector: Off-road excursions tend to kick up dirt, dust and even rocks that can easily damage trucks. Ford offers a hood protector for the 2019 Ranger that can guard the hood and windshield from potential problems. The Aeroskin, made by Lund International, fits flush to the hood and deflects projectiles before they can harm the truck. The Aeroskin comes in smoke or chrome.
Yakima Adjustable Bed Rack: Pickup owners love accessories that allow them to carry gear without losing space in the bed. The Yakima rack has sturdy arms that lock into rails inside the bed. It can carry equipment like fuel jugs and traction devices mounted to the side or on top. It also provides a flat base for tents without using space on the roof. The fact that Ford’s new deal with Yakima allows the latter’s accessories to roll into the price of the vehicle is a big selling point.
Rigid Industries LED Light Bar: As more truck owners head to the outdoors for off-road camping and exploring, high-quality lighting is increasingly in demand. Rigid is one of the most reputable brands in the aftermarket and has three setups built for the Ranger. The most prominent of them, the light bar, instantly signals that the truck is ready to head off-grid at a moment’s notice.
Borla Performance Exhaust: The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder in the 2019 Ford Ranger is a gutsy engine that returns great fuel economy. But it doesn’t exactly bark. For many Ranger owners the performance exhaust from Borla may be the answer. The company is known for adding extra decibels to vehicles that need it and will likely boost the Ranger’s 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque as well.
Bushwacker Fender Flares: You don’t have the complete overlanding look without oversized fender flares. They give off-road trucks a more aggressive stance at all four corners while also protecting the body from the debris and scrapes you can encounter on wild trails. Fender flares also provide extra coverage for vehicles with widened tires. Many states require the tires to be covered at all times. The Bushwacker flares offered through Ford install without drilling and are available in rugged texture or satin black.
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