The new Ford Ranger is likely to be inspired by the “tough truck” styling of the F-150 (pictured). Picture: SUPPLIED
The new Ford Ranger is likely to be inspired by the “tough truck” styling of the F-150 (pictured). Picture: SUPPLIED

Ford Motor Company this week announced a huge R15.8bn investment in its SA operations — the highest yet in the blue oval’s 97-year history in the country — to manufacture the next-generation Ranger at the Silverton plant from the end of 2022.

With annual production capacity at the factory to increase from 168,000 to 200,000 vehicles, Ford’s all-new one-tonner will be built for the local market and export to more than 100 countries. The plant also will manufacture the next-generation Volkswagen Amarok on a shared platform with the new Ranger as part of a strategic alliance between the two automakers.

Ford SA wouldn’t confirm any details about the forthcoming Ranger, but spy pictures suggest it is set to adopt a “tough truck” design inspired by the larger Ford F-150, with more squared-off frontal styling and C-shaped headlights. As before, the bakkie will be available in single- and double-cab.

The interior will also be redesigned and is likely to get an upgraded version of Ford’s Sync4 multimedia system with a larger touchscreen, and perhaps also the F-150’s digital instrument cluster.

The 157kW/500Nm 2.0l four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel engine, first introduced in the current Ranger Raptor, will almost certainly be carried over. To appease the power hounds, flagship versions of the new Ranger may get a powerful 3.0l V6 turbo diesel under the bonnet, either the 185kW unit from the F-150 or the 190kW engine from the Amarok.

There’s a petrol-electric hybrid engine rumoured too.

It may mark the end of the long-in-the-tooth 3.2l five-cylinder turbo diesel, but the 2.2l four-cylinder turbo diesel could be retained for lower-end Ranger derivatives.

Power will be transmitted via two- or four-wheel drive through a choice of six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic gearboxes.

Higher-end Rangers will likely have the latest versions of driver-assist features such as autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping systems.

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