Sometimes, it’s OK to start a story in the middle. Just ask Ford.
The 2019 Ranger is not new, but it’s new to us. The underlying engineering was handled by Ford of Australia, and the truck was first introduced back in 2011. Ford has been selling it all over the world ever since. Well, almost all over the world. The U.S. and Canada were left out of the party. Until now, that is.
There are upsides to this. While the Ranger may be “old” by passenger car standards, its age means Ford has had time to refine and improve it. Thus, the version we finally got for the 2019 model year should be the best Ranger Ford has built.
Ok, “Giant Slayer” is going a bit far, but when it comes time for my annual “what ridiculous thing can Byron try to beat Miatas with?” piece, the answer can’t always be “Crosstour.” This year, I found that the MSCW’s normal spring autocross happened to be within the Soul loan period. A week earlier, it would have been a Mazda3; one or two later, and I’d have been in a Cayman S. At least the hamster-mobile is yellow—the appropriate hue for making lemonade.
Normally, when I’m queued up in front of a bunch of cones, I’m running on adrenaline and a less-than-optimal amount of sleep. I’m reviewing the version of the course I’ve tried to burn into my subconscious from the course walk, and my hands are flexing almost imperceptibly on the wheel as I rehearse my line. I’ve been told my lips move, as if I’m mumbling. I believe it. It’s how I program; how I run the course before I run the course.
Not this time. I’m a passenger for this run, sitting shotgun in a high-performance SUV, watching a Fiat 500 Abarth burble through a long sweeper a few hundred yards to my right.
Such a feelin’s comin’ over me There is wonder in most everything I see Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes And I won’t be surprised if it’s a dream
It’s 9:45 a.m., local time. I’m standing at one of what must be a hundred overlooks in Wildcat Canyon Park, looking down on, well, everything. If you’ve never been to the Bay area (as I had not until this point), there’s no way for me to describe to you the view before me—one that photography has no hope of doing justice. There’s so much going on, yet it’s all encapsulated in a way. One could easily convince a child that the entire world exists within the geography visible from this vantage point. That goes a long way toward explaining the mindset of the average resident, I think.