This gives new meaning to being "Built Ford Tough."
The next-generation Ford Ranger midsize pickup truck is due to arrive for the 2023 or 2024 model year. Its arrival will come just in time because an all-new Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma are on the way as well. There's also the just-launched 2021 Nissan Frontier. Given that automakers, especially Ford, are rapidly accelerating towards full-scale electrification, it makes us wonder just how long the new Ranger will remain relevant. Can its platform accept electrification? Probably, yes.
We recently learned that the next Ranger will stick around until 2031. An eight-year or so lifespan may sound pretty extreme but bear in mind the outgoing generation dates back to 2011, it just didn't go on sale in North America until 2019.
Trucks sometimes last longer than traditional vehicles (best example: the previous-gen Frontier), so it's not entirely unusual for Ford to keep the next Ranger around for a while. Now, here's where things can get interesting. The current Ranger and reborn Bronco share a platform, internally called T6. The Bronco is expected to receive a mid-life update in 2024 but won't change platforms.
This means Ford will have two platforms for its midsize truck and SUV offerings. By the time the Bronco is due for a complete redesign, the next Ranger will already be a few years into its life cycle.
Until then, the Bronco will somehow have to retain its competitive edge despite riding on a decade-and-half-old architecture. Jeep has taken note, no doubt. As for the next Ranger, it's expected to eventually yield a plug-in hybrid variant and, possibly, an all-electric version. Come 2031 or 2032, don't be surprised if the Ranger goes all-electric. The Bronco would then follow suit.
Having an eight-year Ranger lifespan gives Ford ample time to experiment with electrification for everything truck- and SUV-related in a smaller package than the F-150 Lightning. Expect the new Ranger to begin production by spring 2023 at the Blue Oval's Michigan Assembly Plant.