Top of the Rangers announced

by Andy Bryenton

Ford’s American customers have long enjoyed a big range of pickup trucks from the company’s Detroit factories — icons since the 1950s, in fact. But there are plenty of Statesiders who are looking enviously outside their own borders at what’s on offer here downunder. And the object of that scrutiny is the highly popular Ranger ute.

Semantics aside, the difference between our Ranger ute and their F150 pickup truck is basically one of size. Like most All-American pickups, the big Ford is generously proportioned, and armed with a hefty V8 powerplant under the hood. The recipe is simple but effective — there are millions of F150s on the road, and, like the Ranger is in New Zealand, they’re top of the automotive food chain.

American customers will get their wish in 2019, however, as the new Ranger — a truly global next generation of Ford’s super-ute comes to their shores. For a whole swag of reasons, not the least of which is a more compact size and more refined road manners, Ford are rightly convinced that they’re onto a winner.

Certainly, American writers who have tested the Ranger here and in Oz have loved what they’ve seen. But Ford are being more generous to us, perhaps, than they are to their own countrymen. 

Because before a new Ranger breaks cover for worldwide release, the current shape is about to get a serious shot in the arm.

Ford have announced the new Ranger Raptor with a video showing full-noise off-road racing antics in the Australian outback. But this alone is not the appeal. The name itself is a family tiein to the F150 Raptor, and that machine is a snarling beast. Able to power across the badlands of the Wild West like a Baja trophy truck or a very low flying missile, the Raptor name means power. And that means we’re very, very interested in what the Ranger Raptor has under the hood. Sage nods and winks among petrolheads abound, with many guessing that this ultimate Ranger will pack the full fury of the new Mustang’s V8, maybe with forced-induction magic bolted on.

Others look at the mad, brilliant Focus RS and wonder if motorsport legend Ken Block will be involved in the project. All gree however, that something special is on the horizon. One video in, and everyone’s talking. When the Ranger aptor lands in early 2018, it will be yet another coup for Ford, who have shown in recent years that you can be a giant of the auto world and still keep that sense of fun and adventure.