Though pickups don't enjoy the same popularity in Europe that they enjoy in North America, there is nonetheless still a strong market for utilitarian trucks in the "Old World." While those of us living in the U.S. will have to make do with a modestly updated Ford Ranger for the time being, the rest of the world will be getting an all-new version of the small pickup for 2009.

The new Ranger will offer seating for up to five, and will be available in three body styles -- Single Cab, Double Cab and RAP (Rear Access Panel) Cab, the latter featuring two forward-hinged doors and two rear-hinged access panels. A number of models, from base XL to range-topping Wildtrak, will also be available in 4X2 and 4X4 configurations.

Ranger buyers will be able to choose from two diesel powerplants - a 143 horsepower 2.5L cranking out 243 lb-ft of torque or a 3.0L generating 156 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. Either engine option is available with a five-speed automatic or manual gearbox.

The new ranger will begin production in Thailand this March, with European sales kicking off a month later. Ford has yet to official confirm if the new Ranger will make it to our shores - replacing U.S.-spec Ranger that has been largely unchanged since 1998 - but the new truck could surface in the United States as early as 2011.