The new Ranger will make a big Splash.
Though it's not the freshest model on the market, the 2021 Ford Ranger still outsells other midsize pickup trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado, Jeep Gladiator, and Nissan Frontier. But if Ford ever wants to take the down the clear segment leader, the Toyota Tacoma, it will need to reveal an all-new model. Ford is currently developing the next-generation Ranger, and our spy photographers spotted it undergoing hot weather testing in southern Europe.
These particular Ranger prototypes were wearing UK plates with a right-hand-drive configuration, but should otherwise be the same as the model that will arrive in the United States. The test mules were still heavily camouflaged to avoid giving away what the truck looks like, though we can still draw some important conclusions based on this sighting.
Our photographers spotted two Ranger prototypes, both wearing a round yellow sticker that typically signifies a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Ford has previously hinted that the next-generation Ranger will be offered as an electrified model, likely a PHEV. Rumors suggest Ford will pair its 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder to an electric motor, producing 362 horsepower and 501 lb-ft of torque.
There are currently no PHEV pickup trucks on the market in the US, so the Ranger could offer a nice middle-ground for buyers who aren't ready for a full EV, like the F-150 Lightning. Eventually, an all-electric Ranger will arrive on the market, likely wearing the Splash name that was trademarked earlier this year.
We can't tell much else from these camouflaged test mules, but it looks like the Ranger will adopt F-150-inspired headlights up front. At the back, one of the prototypes has chrome bed bars, a feature not currently offered on the US market Ranger. Bars like this improve a truck's structural integrity during rollovers or off-road driving, and also serve as a mounting point for off-road lights. The other prototype has a more subtle style bar behind the rear window. Many truck owners add these through the aftermarket, but this style is much more common from OEMs in Europe.
The new Ford Ranger should make its debut next year in 2022, and will also serve as the basis for the next-gen Volkswagen Amarok pickup truck.