US version of new Ford Ranger caught on camera, what’s the difference?
A new series of spy photos have provided another glimpse of the US version of the new-generation Ford Ranger ute. So what's the difference?
The US-market Ford Ranger is still undergoing development ahead of expected showroom arrivals in North America next year.
It is unusual for Australia to beat the US to a new-model debut, but that's the case with the latest Ford Ranger – which is sold in 180 countries, more than any other vehicle currently produced by the Blue Oval brand.
Ford makes the Ranger in four factories including Thailand (where models sold in Australia are sourced), South Africa (where the VW Amarok version is also made), South America and Detroit.
The release of the latest-generation Ford Ranger has been staggered in the US – after launching in Australia, the Asia-Pacific, South Africa and Europe earlier this year – because it is subtly different from the global version, and because its predecessor arrived there late in the previous model cycle.
North American versions of the Ford Ranger must meet tougher crash test and rollover protection requirements, so there are some structural changes under the skin.
And petrol power is preferred in North America, which requires a new engine development program.
The new Ford Ranger in the US is expected to be sold primarily with turbo 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol power. Ford Australia does not offer this engine in its Ranger locally, but it will be available with the new VW Amarok in Australia.
Diesel may not even be an option, however Ford US of course has access to at least three diesel engines (the single-turbo 2.0-litre, twin-turbo 2.0-litre and single-turbo 3.0-litre V6 available in Australia) should it decide to broaden the North American line-up.
There is also the anticipated option of plug-in hybrid petrol power being developed for the new Ranger in Europe, the US and Australia – with a possible 2024 release.
Meantime, eagle-eyed readers might have noticed in these images of what is claimed by our spy agency to be an XLT model grade: there is no step wedge in the lower section of the rear fender.
There could be two reasons: Ford has just fitted a plain insert on this test vehicle so it doesn't spoil the surprise at the US launch, or Ford is not planning to apply the handy step wedge to many – or any – models sold in North America.
In Australia, the majority of the new Ford Ranger line-up have this handy step wedge feature, to make it easier to access the cargo bed (it's not available on the Raptor because the exhaust system takes up the space).
Beyond these subtle differences, the new Ford Ranger sold in the US will largely be the same as we get in Australia.
There is one mystery yet to be solved, however. A long-wheelbase version of the new Ford Ranger is reportedly under development in the US. But it is yet to break cover.
Here's hoping when it is unmasked, it's a chance for Australia.