If you live in the UK and want a pick-up truck, the Ford Ranger has long been the way to go. The Blue Oval’s versatile load-lugger dominates the market, and just to make things even worse for makers of rival cars, there’s a new and improved version. This time, though, Ford has outside help.
Perhaps realising it was better off adopting an “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach, VW joined forces with Ford to develop both this Ranger and the all-new Amarok. We probably won’t be seeing the latter until next year, though, so today’s announcement is all about Ford’s end of the deal.
Unlike the smaller Maverick, which uses a car platform borrowed from the Focus, the Ranger sticks with a traditional ladder chassis. You get a 50mm longer wheelbase, however, and 50mm wider tracks. There’s also a new hydroformed front end structure giving lots of room for better cooling and bigger engines.
The largest of these will be a 3.0-litre turbodiesel, power and torque figures for which we don’t have just yet. Below that will be a pair of 2.0-litre inline-four diesels - a single-turbo engine and the twin-turbo unit lifted from the current-generation Ranger Raptor and Thunder models.
Eventually, there will be a Raptor version, which sounds an awful lot like it has a petrol V6 in a very well hidden teaser video, which also gave a February 2022 reveal window. That engine will likely be reserved for the North American market, though. Expect our European Ranger Raptor to stick with a diesel.
As for the standard version, it’ll be available with two kinds of four-wheel drive systems. There’s an “electronic shift-on-the-fly” on-demand setup or a permanent system. These are fed by either a 10-speed automatic or a six-speed manual gearbox.
The Ranger’s wider body should make for a more practical load bay (we don’t have any capacity figures just yet), and with the rear dampers in a new “outboard” position, the pick-up should be more comfortable even when the rear is filled up with stuff. Back there, there’s also a power outlet offering up to 400W via an onboard inverter.
The current Ranger’s cabin is already good at eschewing the more utilitarian feel of rival pickups, and the new one looks to explore further levels of interior niceness. The centrepiece is a big portrait touchscreen measuring 10.1 or 12 inches depending on spec. It runs Ford’s ‘Sync 4’ system.
Sales will likely begin towards the end of next year, with the first UK cars reaching owners in early 2023.