Ford Working on Sub-$20K Small Pickup Truck to Slot Below Ranger: Report

It’s the return of the unibody, folks.

byJames Gilboy|
Ford News photo

The unchecked growth of trucks and SUVs over the last few decades has resulted in there not really being a small pickup left on sale in the United States. That might be about to change, though, as Ford has reportedly shown a handful of dealers a small, unibody, sub-Ranger model that could go on sale as soon as 2021. The best part? It could start out at under $20,000.

This vehicle will reportedly fill a "white space" left in Ford's lineup by the growth of the midsize Ranger and the coming discontinuation of the Fusion sedan. According to Automotive News, this as-of-yet unnamed model is expected to also inherit the Fusion's production line at Ford's Hermosillo, Mexico plant, where the Lincoln MKZ is also produced. Reportedly starting under $20,000, the truck will tap into both the commuter and light commercial vehicle markets, allowing Ford to forecast an expected sales volume of over 100,000 vehicles annually.

Attendees of the truck's showing reportedly described it as a retro, flat-sided utility vehicle like the upcoming Bronco and Bronco Sport. Furthermore, Which Car reports that instead of using a shrunken or adapted Ranger chassis, this truck will ride on Ford's C2 architecture, which underpins the current Escape, Focus, and Lincoln Corsair. This is where the unibody construction is expected to come into play, similar to pickups of yore as well as the modern Honda Ridgeline, which is also built on a front-drive platform. At present, the Ridgeline is the only unibody pickup on sale in the States.

A prototype based on a Russian-market derivative is reportedly already undergoing testing, with a powertrain consisting of an eight-speed automatic and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder—likely the current Ecoboost engine of that displacement.

Ford's C2 platform is front-drive by default, though the Escape and Corsair are both available with all-wheel drive, opening the possibility that this utility vehicle could be equipped with such. While its name has reportedly not yet been settled, Ford truck fans have floated the possibility that the Blue Oval could revive the Courier nameplate, not seen in the United States since 1982. If Ford goes for a callback moniker, though, we can't see it picking a city-slicker name like Courier over the relatively rugged-sounding Ranchero.

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