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VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. — A long time ago the Nevadans discovered that only a few could get rich from the ore in the ground, but lots could make money from the resulting boom. Maybe those saloons, provisioning shops and mule wranglers were not rolling in instant money, but the customers kept coming back and back.
In these automotive boom days, a lot of products are aimed at getting the quick buck and high profits. But customers are often fickle, jumping from car to truck to whatever, depending on what is hot at the time. The steady market is gained by starting at the bottom of the cycle, by building a good reputation and creating repeat buyers.
That’s where Ranger comes in. The 2001 Ford Ranger is designed to offer customers more choices within the entry-level pickup market, and it capitalizes on years of strong Ranger sales and the big halo produced by Ford’s other hot-selling truck entries.
Physically, it’s easy to see how the new Ranger refers to older versions and to the newer, larger Ford trucks. It’s picked up design elements from the top selling F-Series pickups in this redesign, the first major one since 1998. Just like in the big trucks, the different Ranger models have individual grille treatments, but with a strong family resemblance. The gently curved cabin and bumper treatments are distinctly Ford.
With the subtle muscular cues provided by the raised hood, the promise of power is not an empty one. That hood covers three engine choices: a new 4.0 liter SOHC V-6 shared with the Explorer, with 29 percent more horses than the previous model; a workhorse 3.0-liter OHV V-6 with 150 hp, and the old standby in-line four engine, a 2.5-liter powerplant with 119 horses. Later this winter, an all-new in-line four engine from Ford’s Mazda subsidiary will arrive, and next year holds the possibility for an all-new in-line five.