As exclusively revealed by CarAdvice in June 2015, Ford is working on a powerful, off-road-focused Ranger with an overhauled the ride and handling setup, expected to be released in 2019.
The vehicle we photographed in 2015 was Ford's first prototype of the Ranger Raptor and was likely testing the first iteration of engines, water fording, suspension and off-roading tyres.
Since spotting this vehicle in 2015, we hadn't heard or seen anything else suggesting it was more than a test mule for an international market product.
That all changed when a CarAdvice mole snapped these images.
So far, all Australian-specification Rangers have sported front-end camouflage with the rear remaining unwrapped. And, all US-specification Rangers have been spied wearing front to rear camouflage - and all being left-hand drive.
The vehicle spied here is right-hand drive and features a host of goodies that we expect will make it to the final version, when it's launched locally in 2019.
Trainspotters will notice:
- A Watt's linkage, which will presumably be used alongside coil springs similar to the Ford Everest, Ranger-based SUV
- Four-wheel disc brakes
- The antenna has been relocated from above the first row to behind the second row
- Flared wheel arches that give the Ranger Raptor an aggressive stance
- A cut-down front lower half to improve approach angle
- Increased ride height, and
- Off-road-focused tyres
A switch to a coil-sprung rear end will reduce the vehicle's load-carrying capacity and is likely to reduce towing capacity, but buyers of this vehicle are unlikely to care.
Under the bonnet will be an engine with mumbo. Our photographer said it sounded very similar to an EcoBoost V6 F-150 - and that makes sense, given Ford has recently updated this engine for the F-150 Raptor to pump out 336kW of power and 690Nm of torque.
The big F-150 uses the 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 mated to a co-developed gearbox with GM, a 10-speed automatic.
It was announced earlier this year that the US-market Ford Ranger will sit on the T6 platform developed by Ford Asia Pacific. The platform will be modified to support the US Ranger, plus the Bronco.
As a global company, Ford's Australian arm is helping with local calibration and tuning work in conjunction with the US team.