Despite what we’d all like to think, America isn’t always the first to receive a particular new vehicle – even when it is made by one of our largest automakers. That was the case with the current Ford Ranger, a pickup truck which was on sale in other markets before it showed up on our shores. Even now, other iterations (Ranger Raptor, anyone?) are not found in North American showrooms.
Such is the case for the next-gen Ranger as well, it seems. Ford launched the revamped mid-sizer in an online event last night, showing off a trio of trims and detailing several powertrains that are unlikely to be options in this country. One thing’s virtually assured, however – it probably won’t take Ford as long to drag this Ranger across the pond as it did with the current model.
Why? Profits, for one. We don’t need to explain to the B&B that pickup trucks are laden with profits in the same way your author’s plate of french fries is laden with gravy. Consider the burgeoning mid-size market as well, with players from Toyota and GM, not to mention the newly introduced Frontier. Leaving its Ranger to wither on the vine would be tantamount to leaving money on the table, something for which the Blue Oval is not known.
Anyways, the truck. This new Ranger cuts a familiar shape but has sufficiently different styling cues to distinguish it from the present model. It also rides on a wheelbase that is 2 inches longer and also has a couple extra inches of width. The latter will likely help with elbow room in the cab; at present, driver and passenger share cozy quarters. Those headlamps are very reminiscent of the Maverick, a choice that was surely intentional in order to create brand harmony across its lineup. That pickup family now runs the gamut from small to extra large, by the way, from unibody Maverick to giant Super Duty.
Behind that new face will reside a choice of powertrains, depending on the market in which the truck is being sold. Suffice it to say there is little chance either of the three diesel engines will make it to America, given recent challenges associated with that type of fuel. It is an excellent bet the existing 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-banger, making 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, will return along with its 10-speed automatic transmission dance partner. Whispers remain that Ford is set to plug the 2.7L EcoBoost V6 into the next Ranger, set for Raptor duty and cranking out similar specs as found in F-150 – namely 325 horses and 400 lb-ft of twist. That is nothing but speculation for now, however.
We would say the interior shots provided by the Ford Thailand media site to show a cabin that is an evolution of the current accommodations. Dominating the dashboard is a large infotainment screen of similar ilk to the one found in Expedition and Mach-E, though it lacks the integrated dial of those units. Controls appear on the display for features such as heated seats but there doesn’t seem to be any fixed buttons for items like a power tailgate.
Speaking of the cargo area, Ford showed this next-gen Ranger with a very handy step integrated into the side of its bed just behind the rear wheel. Like GM’s bumper step, it’s a great way to offer owners a leg up while deploying exactly zero moving parts. Also shown in the promotional photos are twin power outlets in the bed, plus a rail system of sorts which seems to accept both moveable tie-down points and an oddball bed divider.
For some overseas markets, the next Ranger will be produced in Thailand and South Africa starting in 2022. We’ll keep our ears to the ground for the inevitable American version.
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