Here are the latest images of an Australian/European spec Ford Ranger caught in Michigan with manufacturer plates. This particular XLT Hi-Rider is a right-hand drive truck with an extended cab and a longer (6-foot) bed. Thanks to Brock for sending in the images!
We get many questions related to the upcoming Ford Ranger. When is it coming, if ever? What will it look like? How big will it be? Will it be a body-on-frame design? Will it have an all-aluminum body? Will there be an off-road version? How much will it tow?
At this time, Ford has only announced that the next generation, or an American version of the Ranger, will arrive to the US market during the 2019 calendar year. This places the next Ranger as a 2019 model year vehicle (possibly a 2020). At this time, we can assume that the project is on track, and the new pickup will make it to a dealership near you in 2019.
What about all of the other questions? There is not much official information to go on, but there was a report that stated that Ford is working with Dana to incorporate their new independent suspension AdvanTek differentials, presumably for the upcoming Ranger. Will this truck have independent suspension on all four corners? There is no official answer on this yet.
The midsize truck dimensions will limit the wheel articulation with an independent suspension setup, but Ford has off-road aspirations in mind. When they debuted the next Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco logos at the Detroit Auto Show, they used images from what appeared to be Moab Utah off-road trails.
The rest is speculation at this time, but we can make some educated guesses. This is a highly competitive world, and Ford will want to meet and beat most or all competitors on a variety of specifications. I am talking about interior space, bed volume, off-road capability, value, fuel efficiency, road handling, technology features, towing and payload capacities. Claiming all of these titles will be next to impossible.
The Chevy Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro are currently at the top of the off-road capability charts. Honda Ridgeline is the leader in interior comfort and road handling characteristics. The Nissan Frontier is the value leader. GM midsize trucks are leading in fuel efficiency with the 2.8L Duramax diesel and towing leaders with up to 7,700 lbs. Then there is the Jeep Wrangler-based pickup truck that should be coming online in about the same timeframe as the Ranger. Beating all of these claims may be possible, but would very expensive.
Bottom line is that Ford will likely use the frame-based architecture of the current Ranger that is sold elsewhere. However, they also have a lot of freedom to experiment with different designs and high-tech features, such as independent suspension, aluminum body components, adaptive cruise control, trailer backup assist, 360-degree camera, and more.
Ford also has access to a variety of powertrain options: turbocharged gas engines (EcoBoost), turbo-diesels, and gas-electric hybrid systems. Wouldn’t it be great if Ford offered a high efficiency plug-in hybrid version of the Ranger?
It will be very interesting to watch this unfold over the coming year or two.
Here is an older Mexico-market Ford Ranger.