Spied: Will Ford's Upcoming Ranger Spawn a Midsize Raptor?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
spied will fords upcoming ranger spawn a midsize raptor

This ties in nicely with an earlier post detailing the only two options availabl e 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.

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.

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.

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

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  • SD 328I SD 328I on Aug 14, 2017

    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.

    • See 2 previous
    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Aug 15, 2017

      JDG1980, I do know there was an article with the global Colorado with an LS3 in it for evaluation in Australia. That would be nice.

  • FS-320 FS-320 on Aug 17, 2017

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

  • Sayahh Story idea or car design competition: design a compact sedan, a midsize sedan, coupe and/or wagon specifically for people 6'4" through 7'2". Not an SUV nor a crossover nor a raised chassis like the US Toyota Crown or Subaru Outback.
  • Sayahh I only check map app only when absolutely necessary and only at a red light. An observation: lots of ppl leave 2 car lengths (or more) between themselves and the car ahead of theirs so that they can text or check the internet (because they are afraid they might roll forward and hit the car in front of them?) This drives me crazy because many ppl do it and 3 cars will take up almost 7 car lengths and ppl cannot get into the left turn lane when it's bordered by a cement "curb." Worse is when they aren't even using their phone and have both hands on the stewring wheel and waiting for the green light. Half a car length is enough, people. Even one car length is too much, but 3 or 4 car lengths? At 40 MPH, maybe, not at 0 MPH please.
  • 6-speed Pomodoro My phone never leaves my pocket while driving. This is fine in my daily with bluetooth and also fine in my classic car, but people get mad in a hurry that I'm ignoring them.
  • BklynPete Maverick has had recalls but overall seems reliable. Consumer Reports recommends it for whatever that's worth, buyers think they're better than sliced bread, they're sold out, and look like a long-term success.I suppose you're right that DCT can be laid at Mulally's feet too but as COO Fields was in charge of product. When he got Mulally's job, Fields brought back mgmt siloes and lost shareholder value. Maybe Fields took the fall for other's bad decisions. But ultimately as CEO the axe had to land on him. I cannot believe that Farley won't meet the same fate if 2023 warranty claims make Ford lose money again.
  • Inside Looking Out All that is BS. Nissan just tries to buy time. By 2028 every Tesla will have fusion reactor under the hood. Commercial fusion reactor is under development as we speak 5 miles away from my home in Sandia labs in Livermore.