Based on a Fiesta platform, Ford Courier was a fairly successful pickup model. It was too small for the American market and sold only in Brazil. Rumors are that Ford is planning a replacement model, but this time based on the larger Focus platform that could very well make its way to the United States as well. The Courier ended production in 2013, but Ford is planning to revive another name from the past for the new track and name it Ranchero. Original Ranchero was Ford’s answer to Chevy El Camino and was produced as a unibody pickup from 1957 to 1979.
The new 2023 Ford Ranchero will be significantly longer than its predecessor and as such will get a crew cabin, instead of a single one Courier had. Nothing of this, including the name change, has been officially confirmed by Ford, but nothing was denied either. If the new model does get made, it will probably reach dealerships in 2023, together with new Bronco and Ranger.
Despite the fact that some renders show new Ranchero looks like a Focus with higher ground clearance and truck bed, Ford will probably create a whole new visual identity for it. The fact that it is based on Focus can’t be concealed, but at least Ford’s designers can make it look completely different. The idea is to make its styling as similar as possible to the other Ford trucks and not remind potential customers of Focus. Another important distinction is that Ford will probably widen the wheelbase, to accommodate a bigger bed and more room in the cabin.
Interior is another matter and here Ford may go down the line new Focus is taking, but with more ruggedness and tougher details, to go with the car’s working nature.
Ford has a wide variety of engines at its disposal it can put in the new model. At this moment it is anyone guess what those engines will be, but a sensible choice would be new 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbo and the larger 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo. There is also some hope that 2.3-liter turbo from the Mustang and Focus RS can find its way into the new Ranchero for Raptor model. Diesel engines are also a viable option, regardless of all bad press, they have been receiving lately. A hybrid version is another imaginable option, even though Ford doesn’t make much effort in that direction.
None of the Focus models have all-wheel drive, so Ford will have to make one from scratch in order to offer it as an option unless they decide that even the base model will have it. We feel that four-wheel drive is an essential for any pickup and Ford likely doesn’t want to give the competition any advantage over their new truck and lack of all-wheel drive can certainly turn away a significant number of potential buyers.
Based on the current prices, the base version of the new Ranchero will probably go for less than $20,000. Ranchero Raptor, with all bells and whistles that come with Raptor badge, will probably cost between $35,000 and $40,000.
Rancher’s main competition will come from Renault and Hyundai. Renault Duster Oroch is based on Dacia Duster, but in Latin America, it is being sold under the Renault badge, rather than Dacia. Oroch has decent off-road capabilities inherited from Duster and a very good all-wheel drive. IT may not be as fast or as comfortable as some other models, nor is its interior something to write home about, but it is a handy little pickup with a price tag that is low enough to pose a threat to ford Ranchero. Its downfall may be its choice of engines. In Latin America it is only sold with Renault 1.6- and 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engines, which are some 20 years old. It is unclear why Renault hasn’t offered their modern engines which are sold in Europe in the last few years. Transmission is another sore point with Duster Oroch.
Hyundai Santa Cruz is yet to be revealed. Hyundai is placing a lot of hope in the new model, hoping to secure a sizeable chunk of the pickup segment. Since the company doesn’t have any pickups currently in the market, they may try to offer several various models based on the new Santa Fe, so at least one of them will be Ranchero’s competition.
The market for small, utilitarian pickup certainly exist in the United States and Ranchero may be the answer many small-business owners have been looking for. There are many things still unclear, one of which where the new car will be made. The choice of the factory is crucial if Ford plans to avoid the Chicken Tax.