Can a unibody construction satisfy truck people?
Ford has officially declared that trucks and SUVs are its current bread and butter, along with the Mustang. As we well know, the automaker announced last spring it will end sales of its entire car lineup in the US, meaning the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus will all soon be goners. Instead of the next generation Focus, which will soon go on sale overseas, Ford will still make use of its platform for the North American market in the form of a small pickup truck slotted below the new Ranger.
According to Ford Authority, the carmaker has officially begun development on this new unibody truck, so we could start seeing early prototypes in the near future. Our spy photographers around Detroit are already on high alert.
It was only last summer when we learned about this new truck which, assuming it is Focus-based, will have a transversely-mounted powertrain. Chances are engine options will consist of four-cylinder units, both naturally aspirated and turbocharged. We wouldn’t be surprised to also see Ford’s new three-cylinder 1.5-liter EcoBoost with up to 180 hp on offer. Front-wheel-drive will be standard and all-wheel drive optional. Chances are a six-speed manual or an eight-speed slushbox will be on offer. But Ford has some serious challenges to overcome, not to mention truck guy skepticism. Can it turn the Focus platform into a capable off-roader?
The unnamed truck will obviously get a pass for not being able to fully keep up with the Ranger and F-150 off-road due to lacking a body on frame chassis, but Ford has already proven it can make unibody construction ‘Ford Tough.' Best proof? The outgoing Explorer.
Along with the Taurus, it is actually based on an old Volvo platform back from when Ford owned that brand. Thanks to some trick engineering and an AWD system the Explorer has survived pretty well. It’s even become the most popular cop car in the US. When will the small truck be ready to go? Sources tell us sales will get underway in 2022.