Earlier this year, Ford confirmed plans to bring the midsize Ranger back to the U.S. alongside a new Bronco. Currently, it’s expected to arrive as a 2019 model and be a true body-on-frame truck. But while a lot of details are still up in the air, based on our latest spy shots, it looks like Ford is already working on a Raptor-like off-road version of its upcoming midsize pickup.
As you can see, this camouflaged Ranger has a lot more than a lift kit on it. According to our photographer, the front end is more aggressively styled, and the fenders wider than he’s seen on previous prototypes. You can also clearly see that it’s riding on 285/70 R17 BF Goodrich All-Terrain TA tires, which are pretty close to what you get on the Wrangler Rubicon.
In what may be a first, this prototype also had camouflage under the body to hide the suspension. So even though we were able to get a few shots underneath the truck, there isn’t actually much to see. Then again, the fact that the testers would go to that kind of trouble suggests that it may be hiding Ford’s answer to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2‘s trick suspension.
And speaking of the Colorado, this prototype reportedly had a diesel engine, potentially setting it up as a direct competitor for the ZR2 and its 2.8-liter turbodiesel. Assuming Ford is taking aim at Chevrolet, the off-road-ready Ranger will probably also offer a gas option. Our guess is that it will be the 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6 found in the F-150. Even with the same tune, the 2.7’s 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque already beats the ZR2’s 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine with its 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque.
There’s also the question of what Ford will call this new truck. Ranger FX4? Ranger Raptor? Rangetor? The Lone Ranger? The Tyrannotitan?
With the new Bronco making a comeback, as well, it might make sense for Ford to create a Raptor sub-brand. Then again, maybe that name is better left alone. Either way, we can’t wait for our shot behind the wheel.
Photo source: Brian Williams