Ford Robbed Us Of Ranger Double Cab For Explorer Sport Tracs


By definition, a big truck like a Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado struggles to be small. Even in its smallest, most trucky configuration — a two-door single cab — a full-size truck is relatively large and comes with a sizable bed for hauling cargo. But a small truck like the third-generation Ford Ranger can do a good pretty impression of a big truck by adding two doors.

The closest the U.S. ever got to a Ford Ranger with four full doors prior to the return of the Ranger in 2019, when the fourth-gen model debuted in America, was the Explorer Sport Trac. But Ford did, in fact, make a four-door (or “SuperCrew” Ranger_ on the third-gen platform; Ford just never sold it here, opting instead to make the double cab Ranger exclusive to Latin American markets.

Image for article titled Ford Robbed Us Of The Old Four-Door Ranger Because It Wanted To Sell Explorers

Photo: Ford

In Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, among others, Ford sold the familiar Ranger to those who wanted a small truck with enough room for a family or group of workers. Seeing one of these little big trucks on the border is a hoot because the proportions always seem slightly off.

The bigger cab and stubby five-foot bed makes the Ranger look like a caricature of itself. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t bother me whenever I see one, and it’s one of few four-door pickups I actively root for — the others being the similarly weird four-door Chevy S-10 and long bed, double cab Nissan Frontier of the same era.

That’s why it strikes me as odd that Ford never sold the four-door Ranger in the U.S.; by the early aughts, Toyota, Nissan, Chevy and Dodge all sold a four door compact truck. Or rather a midsizer, since that’s around the time that midsize trucks supplanted compacts.

Image for article titled Ford Robbed Us Of The Old Four-Door Ranger Because It Wanted To Sell Explorers

Photo: Ford

The Explorer Sport Trac might very well have been a better match in terms of size and mechanical output to duke it out with rivals. But, in retrospect, the Sport Trac had no staying power. It seems like a flash in the pan compared to long-running badges like Tacoma, Frontier or the Ranger itself.

Of course, it’s unlikely that Ford would’ve brought a vehicle conceived of by its Argentina subsidiary, which came up with the double cab Ranger due to the unexpected popularity of the U.S. Ranger in South America. But importing a truck designed for another market can be a success, as in the case of the Australian-designed T6 platform, which underpinned the 2019 Ranger.

I guess I just love a quirky little truck, and the old double cab Ranger is quirky. It looks wonderfully anachronistic with its two-tone paint finish and chrome accents on the side mirror caps and bumpers. It even came with the option for a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder diesel engine. A manual transmission was standard equipment, as it should be. The U.S. would get the last laugh with its own four-door version, but by then it wasn’t really recognizable as the little Ranger anymore.

Image for article titled Ford Robbed Us Of The Old Four-Door Ranger Because It Wanted To Sell Explorers

Photo: Ford

Image for article titled Ford Robbed Us Of The Old Four-Door Ranger Because It Wanted To Sell Explorers

Photo: Ford

Image for article titled Ford Robbed Us Of The Old Four-Door Ranger Because It Wanted To Sell Explorers

Photo: Ford



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