The next-generation Ford Ranger Raptor has shown its sharp new face and petrol V6 engine for the first time… and it’s dressed up for Australia.
That’s right, the 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor has been snapped testing in right-hand drive with a petrol V6 engine under the bonnet, suggesting Australia should get a petrol-powered Raptor for the first time.
“We have no news to share on the next generation Ranger at this time,” a Ford Australia spokesperson told CarExpert.
Our spy photographers report the 2023 Ranger Raptor on test here sounded the same as the petrol-powered Bronco being put through its paces alongside it.
Revealed last year, the range-topping Bronco is available with a second-generation Nano 2.7-litre EcoBoost turbocharged V6 engine. CarExpert expects the same engine to feature in the next-generation Ranger Raptor.
It outputs 231kW of power and 540Nm and torque, mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission and full-time all-wheel drive.
That’s a jump of 74kW and 40Nm on what’s offered by the current Ranger Raptor.
There are a number of signs this car is being engineered for Australia. All the American market prototypes we’ve seen previously have featured side-exit exhausts, which aren’t allowed in Australia, but this right-hand drive prototype has a conventional exhaust.
Why develop a car that meets Australian specifications unless it’s going to be sold in Australia?
Australia was also a launch market and a critical cog in the development process of the previous-generation Ranger Raptor, and remains a big market for the dual-cab ute despite our small car parc.
“Our Australian team plays a central role in the design and engineering of Ranger and Everest, and includes work carried out at our centres at Campbellfield, which hosts design and engineering teams, as well as our Geelong engineering capability only a short distance from Ford’s You Yangs Proving Ground,” a Ford Australia spokesperson told CarExpert.
“These assets enable our expert teams from around the globe to input into these vehicles, which are sold in over 180 markets worldwide, with the capability to conduct rigorous testing and analysis for the highest quality and standards for our customers.
“We’re proud that the team’s local input helped make Ranger Australia’s best-selling 4X4 in 2020.”
Beyond the engine, there are plenty of pointers about what to expect from the next Ranger Raptor.
The wheels on the car here are very similar to those of the current Ranger Raptor, and they’re wrapped in more serious BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 rubber than regular road-going models.
Under the camouflage, this tester has a bold grille with the FORD script writ large in keeping with other Raptor products.
Oh, and there’s no getting away from the car’s jacked-up ride and lane-filling stance.
Those flared arches hide next-generation Fox Racing suspension including live valve technology, which is essentially marketing speak for adaptive damping.
The dampers are expected to work a little differently to conventional adaptive damping systems, with the ability to offer more travel for off-roading and rock crawling.
They’re also expected to feature a jump mode that braces the suspension for a hard impact, softening the blow for passengers.
It’s not yet clear whether the Ranger Raptor will also be offered with diesel power in Australia.
CarExpert understands the next-generation car could launch with the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine as the current model, and a turbo-diesel V6 option borrowed from the larger F-150 pickup with 190kW and 600Nm.
We expect these engine options to be sold side-by-side, giving buyers more choice than is currently available.
Developed alongside the next-generation Volkswagen Amarok, the 2023 Ford Ranger is expected to launch late in 2022.
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