Could a New Ford Ranger ST Bring Back the Beloved, Defunct Lightning?
If a kid-hauling Ford Edge ST somehow makes sense, then why not a sporty Ranger ST?
Pickup truck fans around the country are rejoicing at what's unfolding before their eyes, as they should. Aside from the revolutionary '90s, which gave us lots of cool trucks like the F-150 Nite and first-generation Lightning, it's this very moment that's proving to be the best time to be alive for pickup diehards. Yee-haw!
The 2019 Chevy Silverado and Ram 1500 officially made their debuts on hallowed ground in Detroit, but so did a "little" pickup truck that disappeared from the U.S. market back in 2011, despite continuing production pretty much everywhere else around the globe: The Ford Ranger. The midsize Ranger was accompanied by another Blue Oval friend in Detroit, the amped-up Edge ST, which promised more power, better handling, and cooler looks. Oh, and Ford's tried-and-true 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost engine, which produces a hefty 335 horsepower.
Of course, this leaves us (or leaves me) longing for a hot and spicy midsize truck. While the Edge ST enjoys 335 ponies, the U.S.-bound Ranger has to do with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which although not confirmed, will possibly make the same 280 horsepower that it makes in the Explorer. With the 210-horsepower, diesel-powered Ranger Raptor only confirmed for the Asian Pacific market, that leaves the United States with available engines to be shared with other vehicles, and the lack of a performance midsize truck variant. Ford Ranger ST, anyone?
Considering the new Ranger will already employ the 10-speed automatic transmission developed by Ford and General Motors, it would only be a matter of transplanting the 2.3-liter engine for the 2.7-liter motor. Sure, that means the Ranger must be able to fit two extra cylinders in the engine bay and support the extra weight, but that can be solved with suspension refinements, which it would need regardless because of the ST moniker.
In a nutshell, if Ford is willing to hype up a family-hauler, why not a pickup truck? The return of a factory-built F-150 Lightning won't happen for many reasons, but primarily because Ford is enjoying the endless supply of cash its badass Raptor is generating, so why bother? A Fiesta ST, Focus, ST, Edge ST, and Ranger ST—it just makes sense.