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Of the small pickup truck competition, the new Ford Ranger remains in its own camp. Despite being all new and offering tons of new features, the 2024 Ranger will come to us all, missing one of its coolest cheap features, steel wheels. 

The new Ford Ranger is now available with a V6 engine and no steel wheels.
New Ford Ranger | Ford

Will the 2024 Ford Ranger get steel wheels? 

Ford has confirmed that the 2024 Ford Ranger will only come with aluminum wheel options. The old steelies are no longer offered. Look, as MotorTrend points out, steel wheels are the cheapest, most basic, and heaviest wheel option. Many people will be thrilled to only get the lighter, fancier wheels, but there is something sad about seeing the old-school truck wheels fading away. 

Steel wheels are classic. They have a vibe. Steel wheels are 100% functional, with little concern for form. Steel wheels are heavier, yes, but they also are tough and rugged. They have a place. 

Why are steel wheels going away? 

Here’s where a little more information can actually quell our angered car nerd hoards. The lack of steel wheels isn’t because Ford hates us but because of the models that are going on sale first. 

MotorTrend reports that when the Ranger order books open next month,  buyers can only get the SuperCrew four-door crew cab configuration with the short bed. The extended-cab Ranger (SuperCab!) with the longer bed comes later. However, there is more to the story. 

Ford says last year’s STX styling package will now be standard on even the most basic trucks. Yep, that means the steel wheels got the axe in lieu of the STX’s 17-inch, six-spoke aluminum wheels. It’s not all bad, though; the Ranger also gets more body-color trim, a digital gauge cluster and a larger 10-inch touchscreen, lane-keep assist, LED headlights, and other upmarket features as standard. 

Will steel wheels come back? 

Beige 2006 Ford Ranger with steel wheels
2006 Ford Ranger with classic steel wheels | Ford

Ford hasn’t said that the steelies are gone for good. The idea is that making the STX package standard gives more buyers what they want and simplifies production. As you may have known, we have been in a bit of a drought season for pickup trucks. Production has struggled to keep up with the demand. Getting rid of the steelies isn’t necessarily permanent. Once production returns to normal, it stands to reason that Ford might bring back the coolest cheap Ranger feature. 

While we don’t have a crystal ball, we think the recent bump in truck production might bring the truck market back to something that resembles sanity soon enough. In the meantime, we must understand that these changes, lame as they may be, might be what we need to get back on track. I don’t know; I still miss the steelies.