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The Ford Ranger was first introduced in 1983 as an entrant in the growing compact pickup truck marketplace in North America. Serving as the basis for the popular Explorer sport utility vehicle, the Ford Ranger entered 1998 as a redesigned truck. The exterior for the 1998 Ford Ranger resembled a mix between the Explorer and the large F-Series pickup trucks.
As well as offering a regular cab and Supercab body style, a Flareside bed option was also available for 1998. The wheelbase was lengthened allowing for greater interior room and rack and pinion steering was added to the 1998 model year Ranger. Engine options presented within the 1998 Ford Ranger line-up consisted of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine as well as a 3-liter and 4-liter V-6 powerplant. The 4.0-liter V-6 engine variant of the Ford Ranger was paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel and four-wheel drivetrains were offered on the Ford Ranger. The Flareside Splash model was discontinued in 1999 while a four-door version of the Ranger was added. After 2000, the larger V-6 engine was replaced by a more potent 4-liter engine for the 2001 model year generating 210 horsepower.
A Duratec four-cylinder engine replaced the previous base powerplant on the Ford Ranger. Cosmetic upgrades were performed to the Ford Ranger in 2004 and 2006 while the mechanicals for the truck were left unchanged through to the 2011 model year. Despite some popularity among businesses and fans of small trucks, the Ford Ranger was discontinued in the United States without a direct replacement.