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.
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.
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).