Mid-size pickup truck segment was almost dead not so long ago. Now, however, the North American buyers can choose between a range of really amazing small workhorses and will be able to get one more fantastic option starting from the 2018 Detroit auto show, because Ford scheduled the comeback of the Ranger nameplate for the date. Aside they announced the arrival of the small truck and Bronco SUV, Blue Oval haven’t said anything about the high-end off-road variant of the mid-size pickup. Still, we managed to catch a prototype yet again, which looks likely an F150 Raptor, but it’s significantly smaller, so it has to be the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor.
The Ranger Raptor won’t be introduced at the 2018 NAIAS of course. The special off-road vehicle will come sometime later, likely in the second half of 2017. However, even though it’s completely camouflaged, the testing mule already dominates on public roads. As you can see, the prototype uses Raptor’s 17-inch aluminum wheels and bigger shocks. The truck sports increased ride height and wider front fenders, and likely a special suspension system, which we can’t see right now. Both front and rear ends are bulky enough, so we are sure they will feature Raptor-based bumpers and grille, as well as a special skid plate for off-road protection.
According to photographers, this prototype was using a diesel powertrain. We are not so sure which one oil-burner the carmaker plans to add under the hood of the 2019 Ranger Raptor, but we would definitely try with the 3.2-liter. The mill currently develops 185 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, but Ford will likely try to improve the output in order to outmatch Colorado ZR2’s diesel which produces 186 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of twist.
As for the gasoline-powered Ranger Raptor, we are not so sure whether the carmaker plans to add an impressive 3.5-liter twin-turbo or something less potent. The most likely choice will be a 2.7-liter EcoBoost. The V6 delivers 325 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, which is more than enough for amazing performance. Of course, if the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor turns out to be interesting to the buyers, Blue Oval will probably add the most potent 450 hp Raptor’s mill. While we are not so sure which transmission will use the diesel option, gasoline unit will definitely come in a pair with a new 10-speed transmission.