Ford Ranger 2018 US-spec revealed ahead of Detroit

15 January 2018
 by 
, GoAutoMedia

Ford has uncovered its US-spec Ranger pick-up equipped with a fresh look and a host of driver-assist technologies that could make their way into Australian showrooms as part of the Blue Oval ute’s mid-life update due this year.

Visually, the North American Ranger wears a new front grille with the Blue Oval badge sitting on a split horizontal slat flanked by updated headlights.

The front end is also characterised by a split bumper design with a darkened lower chin, prominent skid plate and exposed tow hooks, while a double-bulge bonnet houses the 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine borrowed from the Mustang sportscar and Focus RS hot hatch.

The 2.3-litre petrol powerplant is unlikely to make its way to Australian Rangers. The 2.3-litre petrol powerplant is unlikely to make its way to Australian Rangers.

US-spec Rangers – built in Ford’s plant in Michigan – also gain darkened wheelarch protectors, a model-stamped rear tailgate and chunkier rear bumper.

However, it is currently unclear how many of these visual changes, if any, will make their way into Australian-market models due for a refresh later this year, as local Rangers are sourced from a production facility in Thailand.

Unlikely to make its way into Australian Rangers however, is the 2.3-litre petrol powerplant – which produces up to 231kW/475Nm under the bonnet of the 2018 Mustang – with the local light-commercial market skewing heavily towards diesel engines.

Also in doubt is Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission that is mated to the EcoBoost engine, with refreshed local Rangers likely retaining the 3.2-litre turbocharged five-cylinder diesel, producing 147kW/470Nm paired with six-speed manual and automatic configurations.

Inside, US versions mirror Australian versions with 'Sync3' multimedia touchscreen. Inside, US versions mirror Australian versions with 'Sync3' multimedia touchscreen.

Ford’s American Ranger will also benefit from a raft of driver-safety technologies including auto emergency braking, lane-keep assist, lane departure warning and blind-spot monitoring in mid-spec XLT grades and upwards.

Top-spec Lariat variants also gain adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection, systems which are expected to proliferate further across Ford Australia’s Ranger update.

In addition, the XLT and Lariat, US-spec Rangers will also be made available in the entry-level XL grade, as well as with an FX Off-Road pack that bundles off-road-tuned shocks, all-terrain tyres, steel front bash plate, side skid plates and FX4 badging.

Inside, US-market Rangers mirror Australian versions with a large 'Sync3' multimedia touchscreen, portrait-orientated air vents and steering wheel design. Notably however, North American vehicles gain a ‘Ranger’-stamped dashboard and access to an off-road Trail Control system if the option box is ticked. 

Last year in Australia, the Ford Ranger finished as the second-most popular model with 42,728 new registrations behind the Toyota HiLux (47,093).

Will the incoming mid-life changes to the Ford Ranger keep it fresh amongst competitors? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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