WATCH: Ford teases all-new Ranger ute testing on New Zealand terrain
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Ford has given the biggest hint yet of the look of the all-new Ranger with an official video of prototype testing in the hot, dry terrain of Australia and the snow-covered surfaces of the Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground (SHPG) in Central Otago, New Zealand.
The company has confirmed that the vehicle will be revealed in its entirety later this year, but for now it remains heavily disguised. There's one clear hint at its new styling direction thanks to some careful (and very deliberate) cutouts in the cladding around the headlights that reveal an American F-150 look to the front.
The emphasis in the video is very much on off-road performance. Ford's scant press release says it shows the "highly capable next-gen Ranger in its natural habitat" and promises it will be the "ideal partner for work and adventure".
There's not a lot of hard information beyond that at this stage. But it's likely the current 2.0-litre biturbo diesel engine will carry over, given it's one of the cleaner one-tonne ute powertrains around at the moment. New powertrain options are also expected, including the possibility of petrol V6 power.
It's also a certainty that the new Ranger will eventually be offered with plug-in power. Ford has already announced that all its commercial vehicles in Europe will be zero-emissions capable by 2024 and Ranger is currently the best-selling ute in that part of the world. Hybrid versions have already been spotted testing on the Continent, although it's a long way from that point to being on sale in NZ.
The current Ranger already boasts some class-leading connectivity (it's "live" through FordPass Connect with a SIM card embedded, for example) and Ford is promising even more tech in the new model, which will be "the toughest, most capable and connected Ranger pickup yet."
Ranger will also provide the base for the next-generation Volkswagen Amarok, although Ford is the lead partner in the project.