It was in 1983 when the Ford Ranger was first introduced into the U.S. compact, pickup truck market. By 2002, it had become one of the top-selling compact trucks with a loyal following due to its low entrance price, tough reliability, great gas mileage, and simplicity of the engine components. So, if you needed a pickup truck but didn’t require all additional features and trimmings, then a Ford Ranger is the go-to choice for a scaled-down truck.
Fast-forward through the Ranger’s many upgrades and style offerings, it was in 2011 when the Ford Ranger was discontinued due to falling sales. The smaller Ford truck was relaunched in 2019, probably due to the increase in pickup truck sales throughout the U.S. Notably, Ford’s F-Series, GM’s Chevrolet Silverado, and FCA’s Ram Pickup.
Recently, the auto rumor mill has been circulating the release of a next-generation, 2021 Ford Ranger with a 325 hp, V6 engine. We’ll take a snapshot look at the current 5th generation Ford Ranger to get a handle on just how much of a jump this redesigned engine and new look would be for an old favorite brought back to life.
The Current Ford Ranger
The current 2019 Ford Ranger marks the automaker’s return of the Ranger to U.S. markets. Ford hopes to attract auto buyers that desire a mid-size pickup for recreation use instead of marketing the Ford Ranger as a utility vehicle. The compact, exterior footprint may be attractive to buyers that don’t need the larger-sized, F-series trucks. Most prominent with the 2019 release was the exterior and front-end redesign. It features a sturdier, frame-mounted steel bumper, distinctive hood, and grilles, along with color-contrasting fender grilles and molding, multiple trim levels, along with 3 option packages – Chrome, Sport, and FX.
The present Ford Ranger powertrain features a turbo four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection for efficiency. The 2.3-liter engine is rated at 279 hp and the 2019 model comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Instead of a V6 engine, this series of economy-booting engines are used in many of Ford’s vehicles and was designed to provide consistent power and torque while still getting about 30% better fuel economy.
Now that the Ford Ranger has made a successful comeback into the American auto market, what will Ford do to keep midsize truck buyers looking and real truck enthusiasts excited?
Redesigned Ranger Rumors
Rumor is that Ford will introduce a fifth-generation Ford Ranger in 2021. This next-gen Ford truck will possibly be offered with both a petrol and diesel turbocharged V6 engine choices along with an extensive line of body redesigns. It is unclear if the existing engines will still be offered, and whether the pair of V6 engines would be powertrain options. This would put the Ford Ranger closer in power to the regular F-150 that already has a twin-turbo V6 engine.
While it has been verified that Ford’s Australian test facilities are presently testing a 3.0-liter single turbo diesel and a 2.7-liter twin-turbo, petrol engine, it would be more likely that this new engine will be developed for the North American market – making it the first to offer a high-power petrol dual-cab. Ford isn’t verifying or denying any details about what the 2021 Ford Ranger truck will look like, drive like, or any price point information.
So, could the mysterious utility vehicle that has been sighted and thought to be coming out of Ford’s Melbourne, AU plant be the future of the Ford Ranger. The vehicle was spotted by an eagle-eyed photographer who noted that the truck had blacked-out windows. But no one knows if it is a rolling prototype of a future 2021 Ford Ranger or if this is a next-generation model for foreign production and sales.
Stay tuned – auto secrets can only last for so long, and we are quickly moving towards the 2021 Auto Trade show season. In the opinion of the photographer that spotted this redesigned pick-up truck suggests a very strong Ford influence with a wide stance, bold grille, and boxy wheel arches.