Spy Shots

2019 Ford Ranger spied testing right here in America

Don't be surprised if it looks more like a mini F-150 by the time it's in production.

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The latest rumors about the upcoming Ford Bronco, particularly about a possible solid front axle made by Dana, has gotten us pretty excited about the Jeep Wrangler competitor. But let's not forget about the Ford Ranger, due to be unveiled sometime next year as a 2019 model. Our spy photographer spotted this one in Dearborn, Michigan, driving around with a camouflaged wrapping but lacking the heavy curtain-style coverings you see on vehicles where the manufacturer wants to keep the major styling elements hidden.

That means one of two things. Either this is representative of what our American Ranger will look like – largely similar to the pickup sold in other parts of the world – or that sheetmetal is just being used temporarily to hide the American-market components being tested underneath, and our Ranger will get unique styling. Either is a plausible explanation, but the rest-of-world bodywork might be too understated for American consumers. Maybe Ford will split the difference, and give the Ranger a scaled-down version of the F-150's front and rear ends, while keeping the side stampings largely the same. It's definitely too early to tell, but don't be surprised if our 2019 Ranger at a minimum adopts C-shaped headlights and a three-bar grille.

There's no solid information yet about powertrains, but the smart money is on nothing larger than a V6 finding a home under the hood. Abroad, the Ranger is available with a range of diesel engines, but there are only two probable candidates for our market. One is the 3.0-liter Lion unit that's heading into the F-150 for 2018. It's also available in US-market Land Rovers, where it makes around 254 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. That seems like a lot for a midsize pickup, but it could be detuned. The other is the 3.2-liter diesel inline-five that Ford sells here in the Transit van, which is available in the Ranger in some markets – it's good for 185 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, definitely fits, and closely matches the Chevy Colorado's 2.8-liter Duramax's 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. And an EcoBoost inline-four as a base engine is also likely.

Whatever engines find their way underhood, we're expecting the new Ford-GM 10-speed automatic to show up. We're keeping our ear to the pavement on the Ranger and Bronco, so if we can shake any more info loose we'll pass it along.

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