Alert shutterbugs have give us our first look inside a Ford Ranger prototype caught testing in Colorado, along with a peek under the hood of what appears to be the FX4 off-road model.
Despite the test driver’s best efforts to block the camera from capturing the dashboard, we now have a good look at the interior that is fitted to Ranger test trucks being developed in America.
Ford’s corporate small-screen radio is on display, flanked with plastic buttons. Big, meaty tuning and volume knobs are directly south of the infotainment display, which is great news for glove-wearing drivers in northern climates. Below that are the HVAC controls which appear to be arrayed in a similarly logical fashion. A CD player is also present.
The cabin looks to have a lot in common with what is in the current global Ranger. Given that the American Ranger’s launch should coincide with the mid-cycle facelift of the global model, seeing a somewhat familiar dashboard makes sense, suggesting Ford will remain cost-conscious while developing the Ranger for our shores.
While not as extreme as the coming Ranger Raptor, the latest prototype caught testing shows signs of ruggedness that may well point to a Ranger FX4 equivalent for American showrooms. The new prototype sports aggressive wheels, a front skid plate, and tow hooks mounted in the front bumper.
Bridgestone Dueler H/T tires are seen on the test truck, complete with the six-lug hubs we’ve seen before. Brake discs look pretty standard and are neither slotted nor cross-drilled. This truck will look to compete against the likes of the Chevy Colorado Z71 and Tacoma TRD Off-Road.
Shots which capture the truck bed reveal a plain-Jane cargo area, seemingly devoid of in-bed lighting or innovative tie-down solutions. Hopefully, this is simply because Ford saw no reason to install a kitted-out bed on this truck, given the nature of the testing that day, and not a harbinger to a lack of cargo innovation.
Chrome caps adorn the side mirrors, lending further credence to the notion that the Ranger shown here is decidedly not a base model. An antenna sits front and center on the cab’s roof above the windshield, scuppering the plans of any roofer who wants to transport a professional-sized ladder atop their new Ranger. Perhaps it’ll fold away for utility purposes.
The crew-cab models shown here naturally have four full-sized, forward swinging doors. Neither truck has a sliding rear window.
While the photographer did a great job of snapping a couple of underhood shots, the rat’s nest of wiring and tubing makes identifying what’s powering these mules a bit difficult. It sure doesn’t look like the 2.7-liter EcoBoost, as the battery and some other important bits are in the wrong place, but the Mustang’s 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-cylinder engine – which makes 310 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque – wouldn’t be out of place here.
Signs point to the new Ranger offering least one EcoBoost model, plus a hot version for the potential Wildtrak trim. This author highly doubts the current inline-five DuraTorq diesel will make its way here from foreign markets.
It is expected that the 2019 Ford Ranger will be revealed at the next North American International Auto Show in Detroit.