By on August 13, 2017

Ford Ranger Raptor, Image: Spiedbilde/The Truth About Cars

This ties in nicely with an earlier post detailing the only two options available for midsize pickup buyers wanting more off-road prowess. For now, it’s Chevrolet and Toyota’s arena. Both GM and Toyota dominate the midsize pickup segment — a class that saw its U.S. market share rise to 17 percent of total pickup sales last year.

However, Ford’s late-to-the-game Ranger pickup, arriving on these shores in 2019 as a 2020 model, should bring a third player to the midsize mud and rock jamboree. It might not carry the Raptor name made famous by its bigger brother F-150, but this spied test vehicle shows Ford isn’t willing to send the Ranger to America wearing just work clothes.

Ford Ranger Raptor, Image: Spiedbilde/The Truth About Cars

As next-generation Ranger development is mainly the responsibility of Ford’s Asia-Pacific development center in Melbourne, Australia, an Aussie engineer along for the ride apparently thought challenging the photographer to a fight was a fine idea. Passionate, those Aussies. Bless ’em.

The photos reveal front end styling that’s more aggressive than other Ranger prototypes, hinting at its special status in the lineup. No cutaway bumpers like on Chevrolet’s Colorado ZR2, but aggressive, nonetheless. Interestingly, there was also camouflage concealing the vehicle’s undercarriage, suggesting an upgraded suspension.

Ford Ranger Raptor, Image: Spiedbilde/The Truth About Cars

What we can tell you about this particular test mule (test goat?) is it rides on beefy 285/70 R17 BF Goodrich All-Terrain TA tires and emits the unmistakable sound of a diesel engine. Of course, the ZR2 also carries a diesel, and Ford has an obvious engine rival in its 3.2-liter inline-five. In Australian Rangers, this engine makes 197 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque.

It’s possible, even likely, that Ford wouldn’t want to enter the U.S. market with a diesel-only off-road Ranger. That leaves the company’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost (upgraded for 2018) and potentially the 3.5-liter EcoBoost as gas-powered options.

If the downsized mini-Raptor does find its way to the U.S., don’t expect it to roll out of the Michigan Assembly Plant at the same time as the first “ordinary” Ranger. It’s likely the off-road variant will hold off for a while as the regular model finds its footing.

Ford Ranger Raptor, Image: Spiedbilde/The Truth About Cars

[Images: © 2017 Spiedbilde/The Truth About Cars]

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32 Comments on “Spied: Will Ford’s Upcoming Ranger Spawn a Midsize Raptor?...”


  • avatar
    deviousadvice

    giggity

  • avatar
    thelaine

    The Nissan Frontier Pro 4x exists. It has a rear locker. It is less expensive. I think it competes in this segment as a trail vehicle, if not a desert runner.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      +1

      And it’s significantly less costly than the TRD Pro, ZR2, and most likely this, while having enough performance for most buyers.

      I like dirt bikes off road, but if I had to choose something with four wheels it’d be a SxS.

  • avatar
    turbosasquatch

    I mean, with the ZR2 and TRD Pro as well as their own Raptor, it would be crazy to not offer their own Raptor Ranger. Here in Central Ohio I see plenty of Raptors ZR2 and TRD Pros.

    It’s the modern muscle car and everybody wants one around here.

    • 0 avatar
      quasimondo

      In overseas markets, the Ranger has a Wildtrak trim option. Highlighted features are a 5-cylinder turobdiesel and a diff lock in the rear, and lots of creature comforts.

      Based on comparisons between those spy shots and pictures of what’s sold in Australia and elsewhere, I’m betting that you’re looking at a (soon to be) federalized version of a Wildtrak.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        quasimondo,
        An XL has pretty much the same features as the Wildcat. The Wildcat does have more bling.

        In Australia even most base models in the pickups have the same 4×4 systems as the premium models, like the rear locking diffs, trailer sway, and all the electronic traction wizardry.

        I don’t see the value in the Wildtrak. I have the Mazda version of the Ranger and it’s the top of the line model. I only bought it because of the price. Even though the Ranger is an identical ute my Mazda was fully blinged and still $12k cheaper than an XLT Ranger.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    But will they offer an extended-cab, short bed option?
    I don’t need four full doors but do need extra space behind the seats. Only rarely would I need a 6′ or longer enclosed bed, so I could get by with a short bed with dropped tailgate and a good tie-down system.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “But will they offer an extended-cab, short bed option?”

      Silly fox. I’m sure sure if you ask them nicely you’d get whatever your woodland heart desires.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Maybe. For the moment I’m in ‘wait & see’ mode. The Colorado was an overlarge disappointment because I really liked it’s looks in the pre-release photos and even more tempting in the two pre-release auto show events I went to… because they wouldn’t let anyone get close enough to get a real feel for its size and the staging was intended to make it look larger by putting it above the viewer and using a relatively short MC talking about it on the mic. It wasn’t until I finally got a chance to view it at a dealership that I realized just how big it really is. Put my ’97 Ranger next to it and the C-twins stand taller and longer by far. That’s not what I’m looking for in a “mid-sized” truck.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “For the moment I’m in ‘wait & see’ mo…”

          Uh, go ahead and schedule the appointment with your therapist. It’s not gonna be what you’re looking for.

          It’s better you hear it from us, your pals…

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Believe it or not, DM, I agree with you, it probably won’t be what I’m looking for. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up hope; I could get lucky… just like you could win the lottery (too bad you missed that big one on Friday night.)

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      You know I thought about you last weekend when I tried to buy a Ranger. I needed a 4wd to leave with the kids at school and at the auction in their town they had 2 Ranger Supercab Flareside 4×4. A 2001 4.0 AT 4dr Supercab and a 1999 3.0 5sp 2dr Supercab. Unfortunately the 99 had a lift and cheesy aftermarket wheels that were too big for the stock size tires. It was also loosing clear coat and a bit rough. The 01 had been hit in the front and a so so repair. The problem was there was also a 02 F150 Supercab 4×4 with the 5.4 AT 6.5′. It was the best condition ex gov’t fleet truck I’ve ever seen. When the bidding stalled at $3500 I knew I couldn’t wait for those rough Rangers and raised my number.

      To me it seems so small compared to my 250 Crew with the 8′ bed. The hauling it will do will be light and just around that town so I can make do with the limited amount I’ll be using it.

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    Ford currently doesn’t need the Ranger, they are outselling all 6 lines of GM trucks with just 2 lines of their own. Thats the Silverado (1500 & HDs), Sierras (1500 & HDS), the Colorado & GMC Canyon combined against only the F150 & HDs.

    What’s more impressive is Ford is beating them with higher transaction prices and less money on the hood to boot. Adding a Ranger now may only steal sales from themselves, with a lower margin truck like the Ranger.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      Disagree, midsize trucks make sense in bigger cities and not having one means lost market share that could spread over the long term. Plus the profits on them are decent as demand is high.

      I love the Australian Ranger and it feels like it’s taking far too long to get here. Two years from now is a major misread of the market on Ford’s part. Hell even Honda called a need for a mid size truck.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    If the photographer was crawling around under the truck shooting the chassis, and lifting up a car cover (last photo), then I guess I understand why the Aussie might want to fight.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    To compete with the Tacoma TuRD and the Colorado ZR2? I think it’s a no-brainer. We need more brodozers! I think the better question is whether the cute ute segment will get similar models. Trixiedozers? How about a RAV4 TuRD?

    • 0 avatar
      turbosasquatch

      Those would sell like crazy. Currently only Jeep offers anything like that with their Trailhawk trim levels and I see an awful lot of those on the road.

      If anyone else were to make something like that, think of all the urban and suburban bros who can’t have even a midsize truck because of where they live but don’t want an FCA product.

      An Equinox ZR2 would sell extremely well.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      The RAV4 Trail is already on its way.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Rumours indicate that Ford wants to compete against Jeep Wrangler with the Bronco. it makes sense to have an off-road package shared between the two vehicles. Raptor tech applied to both the Ranger and Bronco is a no-brainer.

    The author’s last statement, in my opinion is the wrong way to go. Ford should hit the ground running with a Raptor variant of both vehicles.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    The Hummer Tax Loophole is mostly closed… Now we can have sub-6000 lb GVWR pickups…

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    That rough stucco finish will never catch on.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The difference between the 1G and 2G F-150 Raptor is like the difference between the E39 M5 and F10 M5.

    Whether that’s a positive or a negative change depends on your perspective.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      I like your analogy and I totally agree. I’ve had/have two Raptors…a ’10 SCab and now a ’12 SCrew and love them both (despite a few QC issues). Admittedly, I’ve had little seat time in a 2nd gen Raptor(a few extended test drives)..but I prefer mine. The new one is a very nice truck, rides better than mine, engine is very responsive but I can’t get past the twin boosted V6….call me a caveman but I love the 6.2 V8. The visceral appeal of the the original is somewhat lost with the new one, so your M5 analogy is apropos.

      Regarding a Ranger based Raptor…yup, no brainer…build it. The Raptor has been wildly successful for Ford, a downsize version will continue that trend.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Hopefully the Ecosport Raptor is coming with the corporate EB2.7. It will be so nose heavy it will do endos under hard braking.

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    The 2.7L V8 in a F150 Supercrew will do 0-60 in 5.8 seconds, Imagine what it will do in a smaller and lighter Ranger.

  • avatar
    FS-320

    I can’t believe it took me this long to realize the most obvious name:

    Velociraptor!


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