Although the current-generation Ford Ranger is fairly new in the United States, it's aging in global markets and needs a new edge to keep it competitive. Whether that means a drastic styling change, reconfigured powertrains, or a little bit of both, it'll take a healthy leap to keep sales trending upward. If a new report from Australia's Car Expert is to be believed, the 2022 Ranger will get completely new styling and sport a variety of gas and diesel engines, with a plug-in hybrid option on the way.
We'll go ahead and say that a diesel Ranger isn't likely to hit our shores. There simply doesn't seem to be enough interest in such a truck for Ford to bring it to the States, and its competitors are finding it out the hard way. Chevy is expected to cull its own diesel Colorado midsizer for the next generation, and Jeep still hasn't brought its compression-ignition Gladiator to market. As such, we'll focus on the gasoline engine options that could also bring electrification to the Ranger lineup.
That's a shame, though, because we could really get down with a Ranger that has the F-150's 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel.
Instead, the U.S.-spec Ranger is likely to offer the familiar 2.3-liter EcoBoost as its base engine option. Performance specs may or may not change from the current ratings of 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet, though an electric motor could catapult output into another category. While these figures aren't yet set in stone, Car Expert claims we could see as much as 362 hp and 502 pound-feet of torque from the plug-in hybrid variant. The outlet cites confidential sources for this information, though the possibility of an electrified Ranger doesn't seem too far-fetched.
After all, Ford is in the middle of an $11-billion investment to bring six fully electric vehicles to market in the next few years. That'll kick off later this year with the Mustang Mach-E and continue once the F-150 EV is launched. So why not augment the Ranger with instant power from an electric motor while also increasing efficiency and fuel economy?
While the next-gen Ranger is expected to kick off in the 2022 model year, the plug-in hybrid may be a year or two behind. Ford doesn't offer a hybridized version of its 2.3-liter EcoBoost at present, so it'll take a decent amount of R&D before that product is ready for the road. Regardless, expect the new Ranger to launch with a slew of tech including Ford's upcoming SYNC4 infotainment system and a 12.8-inch vertical screen.
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