I’m not a Ranger fanboy but I’d have one ahead of a Hilux every day of the week. In my Inbox a couple of days ago lobbed an invite from Ford to witness the reveal of the new Ranger T6.1. And on my birthday too! Nice pressie, and it would be even nicer if we could get our hands on one when they officially launch in 2022! Hint, hint.
So, Ford must have their new truck awfully close to being finished and ready for launch because there’s been a lot of testing here in Oz of late. The camo versions of Ranger and Everest have been spied in the Flinders Ranges and in the Victorian Alps, getting some real-world kilometres. It shouldn’t be too hard for them to get it right, because the basic architecture of the new car is the same as the current version.
New Ranger has been stretched in the snout to accommodate some new motivation that’s likely to start a dual-cab arms race.
And some will say it’s about time!
The Ranger/Everest 4WD family has so far been powered by a 3.2-litre five-cylinder single-turbo diesel or a 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel (excusing the 2.2-litre single turbo seen in the commercials and 2WD range) and, they were tidy in their day.
I’ll admit to loving the sound of the five-cylinder with a big pipe. My favourite though is the 2.0-litre twin-turbo in the Raptor. It is surprisingly quick and outgunned the 3.2-litre motor in a couple of tow tests we did and easily, thanks in part to its ten-speed auto. You’ll recall the 3.2 was good for 470Nm and the 2.0 punched out a few more torques at 500Nm.
Toyota, knowing it had to join the game to keep its closest competitor at bay, bumped the Hilux’s 1GD-FTV 2.8 litre single-turbo four to 500Nm last year, but it is not as fluid to drive as the Ford, because the tranny is only a six-speeder. Once again, the big T is going to be caught napping, too little, too late.
All the talk says the new Ranger will sport in the glamour Raptor model, some sparkle from the USA.
More like gold dust I reckon! Try a Raptor with a 3.0-litre single-turbo V6 diesel with a 185kW/600Nm punch or, if you like your fuel of the petrol variety, a 2.7 litre V6 twin-turbo nutter, with 230kW/540Nm!
The existing 2.0 litre will in the future do the job for the basic jiggers, in either detuned single-turbo 130kW/420Nm form or the familiar twin-turbo 157kW/500Nm setup.
Don’t be surprised to see a middle life release, maybe in 2024, of a hybrid version with economy akin to something half the size. It’s coming.
But back to 2022, when Ranger will sport a bold new face, with more than a nod to F-series trucks in the States. Vertically stacked LEDs will do the job of illuminating the path ahead at night time, whilst C-shaped daytime running lights will frame the cluster. That’ll be welcome because the vehicle’s profile won’t look a lot different to what’s around at the moment.
Expect the interior will be a shock and awe affair, with a massive telly in the middle of the dash and hooked up to all sorts of interconnectivity. Ranger seats have been pleasant on the bum and eye for a while now, so I hope they don’t wreck that formula into the future.
I’m also hoping they don’t go too nuts on the electronic safety aids. If they must, please offer a button to turn all but the most essential stuff off and easily.
I know I won’t be the only one rejoicing in the knowledge that the new Ranger wears a rear disc-brake setup! Whilst we can’t confirm whether that’s an across-the-model-range offering or reserved only for high-end models, it is about bloody time manufacturers grew a pair and ditched drums. They suck almost as much as Covid!
Another point worth mentioning in closing is that Ford is about to really trump the opposition in the accessory world. Their recently announced teaming with local accessory giant ARB means there’ll be quality bar work and bibs and bobs in the Ford catalogue. That means a raft of accessories that are well-engineered and available ex-showroom the moment the new fleet goes on sale. After suffering rubbish masquerading as genuine OEM accessories over the years, the buying public will finally see some products adorning vehicles that aren’t a joke. Hmmm, unless Ford meddle???
Our pics have come from an assortment of sources including Ford, but a big shout out to the blog Ranger6G for the Thai and Aussie pics with the best detail.