(CNN) — In America, “Ford truck” usually means the F-series, the best-selling truck here for decades. But in many parts of the world, it probably means the Ford Ranger.

The Ranger is sold in 180 markets around the globe and, in 17 of them, it’s actually the best-seller in its class. In the United States, where the model was re-introduced in 2018 after going on hiatus in 2011, the Ranger is something of a middle-child. In terms of size and capabilities, it fits between the big F-150 and the small, car-like Ford Maverick. Originally developed in Australia, it was designed as a serious work truck for places where roads are narrow and often sketchy.

Jim Baumbick, Ford’s vice president of product development for non-electric vehicles, described the Ranger as “the F-150 for the rest of the world.” Here in the US, added: “It has this really important sweet spot when we think about our customers.”

On Wednesday, Ford unveiled a redesigned version for the American market, along with a new (for this part of the world) high-performance variant, the Ranger Raptor. The new, more rugged-looking Ranger is Ford’s entry into an increasingly competitive market segment replete with fresh products. In the US, it will compete against trucks like the Toyota Tacoma, Honda Ridgeline, Jeep Gladiator, and Nissan Frontier, as well as General Motors’ Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

A 10-inch touch-screen is standard in the new Ranger but a 12-inch screen is also available. Credit: Ford

Toyota is expected to soon reveal a redesigned version of the popular Tacoma and General Motors recently began selling redesigned versions of its two mid-sized trucks. The Nissan Frontier was redesigned just a couple of years ago, giving it a fresh new look and boosting its sales.

The new Ranger is slightly bigger than the current model, bringing it a little closer in size to the F-150. It’s about two inches wider and two inches longer than the previous generation Ranger.

“That enables us to get four-by-eight sheets of plywood into the back of the Ranger comfortably,” said Baumbick, “And that extra space just provides the utility that’s one of the things that I think is very, very germane to the US customer.”

The Ranger’s base-model engine remains the same 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder as in today’s Ranger. A larger and more powerful 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 will also be available as an option, though. Four-wheel-drive will be available with either engine.

Besides the base truck, the Ranger will also now be available in a 405-horsepower high-performance Ranger Raptor version, a model variant that was not available in the US before.

The Ranger Raptor, which will have big 33-inch diameter tires, is designed for high-speed off-road driving. The Ranger Raptor’s frame and suspension have also been engineered specifically to withstand harsh off-road use. Ranger Raptor drivers will be able to select from a variety of on- and off-road driving modes, including ones for handling slippery conditions and for driving at high speeds over sand.

2024 Ford Ranger XLT Credit: Ford

The previous generation Ford Ranger was available in other markets for many years before Ford finally decided to sell it in North America. Still, the US was always a target market for the truck, said Baumbick, it just took a long time to get here.

Planning for the Ford Bronco SUV, which shares a lot of the Ranger’s engineering, helped provide the business case to build and sell the Ranger here.. The two vehicles are built in the same Wayne, Michigan, factory. This new Ranger has, similarly, been available in global markets for just under a year before its North American unveiling. As before, it stills shares a lot with the Bronco, said Baumbick.

The new Ranger will also offer the sort of driver-assistance technologies that are available on the big F-150, such as Pro Trailer Backup Assist, which allows the driver to maneuver a trailer in reverse using a knob in the dashboard.

BlueCruise, Ford’s driving assist feature that allows drivers to remove their hands from the steering wheel on some limited-access highways, will not be available on the Ranger, at least for the time being, however. The redesigned Ranger will go on sale later this year at prices starting around $34,000 for the base model, and $56,000 for the Raptor.

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