The next-generation Ford Ranger is set to be revealed in the coming months – and the new model will be a very different beast, introducing both hybrid power.
While official details are still under wraps, there’s a lot we already know about the new Ranger thanks to the two all-new utes Ford has unveiled in 2021, the electric F-150 Lightning and the compact Maverick. Both of these models continue Ford’s electrification transition, with the Maverick available with a hybrid powertrain alongside conventional petrol engines.
The Ranger is set to follow suit, introducing a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain alongside new petrol and diesel engines in Ford Australia’s make-or-break model. While the company is tight-lipped on the new Ranger so close to its reveal (which is expected by the end of the year), Ford of Europe confirmed earlier this year that it will introduce all-electric or plug-in hybrid variants for every model in its range by 2024. That line-up includes the Ranger, all-but-confirming a PHEV-version of the popular ute. European websites have published images of what they claim is a prototype Ranger PHEV undergoing hot weather testing ahead of its release.
The powertrain is likely to be based on the one already used in the Escape PHEV, which combines a 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with an electric motor for 167kW of power and 50km of EV-only driving range.
But while the Ranger PHEV appears all-but-certain, there’s no guarantee that Ford Australia will offer it as part of its local line-up but it would make the ideal model to help kickstart the brand’s transition towards electrification. While Ford of Europe is going all-electric by the end of the decade and Ford USA continues to add EV models like the Lightning and Mustang Mach-E, Ford Australia’s first PHEV will be the Escape which is scheduled to belatedly debut in 2022.
Introducing a Ranger PHEV would give the brand a unique selling point in the highly-competitive ute segment and would likely help the Ranger maintain its position as the second-best selling ute in the country, behind only the Toyota HiLux.
If Ford Australia opts against the Ranger PHEV it should still offer a wide range of engine options with reports indicating the new model will have a choice of single or twin-turbo four-cylinder diesels and a choice of 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel or 2.7-litre V6 turbo petrol.