Aussie-Spec 2016 Ford Ranger at SEMA for Measuring Session
Much of Engineering, R&D for U.S. Model Reportedly Done in Australia
It’s all but officially confirmed that the Ford Ranger will be returning to the U.S. market in 2018. Exactly which form the truck will take is unknown. However, that hasn’t stopped the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) from hosting an Australian-spec 2016 Ford Ranger at its headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, just east of Los Angeles. The truck will be a right-hand-drive crew cab 4x4 model equipped with the optional 3.2L I-5 diesel engine. Global sales for the Ranger in 2015 totaled 208,251 units, according to data provided by SEMA. The top market for the Ranger is South Africa, with 33,916 units sold in 2015, followed closely thereafter by Australia, with 29,185 units sold.
Assuming a modest sales target of 6,000 units per month in the U.S., annual sales would be 72,000 per year, making the U.S. the largest single market for the Ranger brand. The 2018 introduction of the U.S.-spec Ranger is expected to coincide with a significant refresh or redesign of the global model. Much of the engineering for the upcoming U.S.-spec Ranger is reportedly being carried out in Australia, away from the prying eyes of U.S. spy photographers—in a country where the current Ranger is a common sight. The only giveaway on Australian roads would be left-hand drive.
Although availability of a diesel option in the U.S. model is possible considering the introduction of the Colorado and Canyon diesels, it’s not a foregone conclusion. The most likely engine candidates for the U.S. Ranger are a 2.5L I-4 base engine, possibly with gasoline direct injection (GDI), a naturally aspirated V-6, possibly the 3.5L, and the 2.3L I-4 or 2.7L V-6 EcoBoost as the top engine option. If a diesel is offered, it will likely be the brand-new 2.0L I-4 diesel introduced for the European market, reportedly capable of more than 200 hp and 332 lb-ft. The top 3.2L I-5 diesel offered in the current global Ranger may have trouble meeting future U.S. diesel emissions standards.