The Ford Ranger was such a successful compact pickup truck during its 1983-2011 run that some estimates say there are still more than 2 million of them on the road today. 

But by the time the last new ones were sold, American tastes were changing. The Los Angeles Times reported that buyers wanted bigger. Sales of Ford’s F-150, the best-selling vehicle in the country, were rising. Sales of the small, inexpensive Ranger were falling. Ford dropped it from its lineup. 

Now Ford sees tastes changing again, and the Ranger is back. It’s no longer small, and it’s no longer inexpensive. In fact, it has moved up a whole class. “The old Ranger was smaller and less capable, and at the end of its life was sold principally on cost,” said Ranger marketing manager Chad Callander. “We saw that the opportunity and the room existed to bring it back as a midsize truck.”

Truck sales across the brands are strong, as drivers increasingly eschew sedans for SUVs and pickups. Typically cheaper to produce than passenger cars, they sell at high average transaction prices. That number for the F-150 is about $48,000, according to Edmunds manager of industry analysis Jeremy Acevedo — and even higher for new full-size truck entries from Chevrolet and Ram.

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