The rumor mill surrounding Ford’s next Ranger truck has picked up in recent weeks, though some pieces of info seem to be more than just hearsay. Signs have long been pointing to an improved selection of powertrain options for the Ranger, keeping the 2.3-liter EcoBoost but adding a series of more powerful engines for good measure. The most likely to join the lineup, according to various sources and reports, is the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6—a 325-horsepower, 400 pound-foot lump that could even potentially power the buzzed-about Ranger Raptor.
Reports dating back to September of last year claimed such a Ranger was in development to more fittingly compete in the expanding midsize truck segment. As Jeep’s Gladiator continues to pick up steam and Nissan rolls out a new generation of its Frontier for the first time since 2005, Ford needs to stay fresh to continue its ascent in the sales hierarchy. The Ranger more than doubled its sales in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the year prior, and it’s knocking on the Chevy Colorado’s door for runner-up behind the Toyota Tacoma.
A supposed new leak from Australia’s CarExpert cites a spied document for a 2021 Ranger prototype on the T6 platform. A screenshot that was allegedly sourced from a Ford computer or a registration database lays out all the details of the prototype, including its Nano 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 and left-hand-drive for the U.S. market.
Interestingly, the spec sheet also mentions all-wheel-drive. CarExpert claims this could be a permanent four-wheel system, similar to the Volkswagen Amarok with which the Ranger shares a platform. Four-wheel-drive Ranger models currently sold in the U.S. offer selectable 4×4, so this would be new if it does indeed make its way to dealer lots.
It’s believed that Ford will at last bring the Ranger Raptor stateside with the next generation, perhaps for the 2022 model year. Although the Ranger was only recently reintroduced to the U.S. in 2018, the current platform has been on sale elsewhere for years. Therefore, it’s likely that Ford held off on offering the high-performance pickup here until it could produce a truly new package. When you’re competing against the likes of the Chevy Colorado ZR2, it pays to be prepared.
Credibility is lent to these engine rumors as the upcoming 2021 Bronco is expected to share a platform with the Ranger. Numerous reports claim the Bronco will offer the 2.7-liter EcoBoost as an option down the line, alluding to a similar situation with its pickup brethren. Of course, there’s no word if the Ranger will also gain a seven-speed manual transmission with an ultra-low crawler gear, but we can dream.
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