It looks like Ford might have some stretching plans for its new-generation Ranger ute.
On June 3 we were able to capture exclusive images of what looks like a longer version of a Ford Ranger while parked at an IKEA in Melbourne.
Seemingly normal from the cabin forward, this spied Ranger prototype is left-hand drive and has a longer tub than the regular double-cab ute with extra space between the rear door and rear wheel. There’s also a side-exit exhaust on the right-hand side.
It’s unclear how much longer this spied prototype actually is in comparison to the existing 2023 Ford Ranger dual-cab, but going off the images it looks like an extra 25-30cm long.
The spied prototype barely fits in the carpark, and it makes the Toyota Yaris parked in front of it look miniature.
Although Ford Australia hasn’t detailed exterior dimensions for the regular Ranger ute, Ford Thailand says the regular double-cab hi-rider measures in at 5370mm long, 1918mm wide and 1884mm wide, with a 3270mm wheelbase.
As per the build label for the longer tub on the spied prototype, it was produced in China in December 2021 and is a one-off.
Inside the tub is a 12V socket and a 400V inverter with a US-style power plug. Australian-bound Ranger models currently don’t receive this 400V inverter.
There are also a number of tie-down points in the tub, as well as the load box access caps for accessories such as canopies and equipment crossbars. Click here to view all the clever tub details of the 2022 Ford Ranger.
One strange omission from the longer tub on this spied prototype are the access steps behind the rear wheels. It’s unclear why these aren’t on this prototype but it could have something to do with the side-exit exhaust.
As previously detailed, Ford Australia has once again led the global development program for the Ranger ute.
This means the Blue Oval’s local division not only worked on the Ranger that’s going to be sold in Australia, but also for the North American, South American, and African markets as examples.
Ford has previously said the new-generation Ranger will be sold in a total of 180 markets.
It’s unclear what’s under the bonnet of this long-wheelbase camouflaged prototype as there’s typically a plaque where the side indicator is which shows what powertrain the ute has. This plaque is blank on the spied prototype.
Ford Australia currently offers the Ranger ute with a total of four different turbocharged powertrains.
These include a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel producing 125kW of power and 405Nm of torque, a 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo four-cylinder diesel producing 154kW and 500Nm, a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo-diesel producing 184kW and 600Nm, and a 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 producing 292kW and 583Nm.
The latter of these engines is currently reserved for the baja-ready Ranger Raptor.
Extended-wheelbase utes are not a strange concept, with automakers such as Ssangyong, LDV and Volkswagen already offering manufacturer-backed options.
Ssangyong currently offers its Musso dual-cab ute in a longer-wheelbase XLV guise.
This brings with it a 300mm longer tub which provides an additional 251L of capacity. The wheelbase is also 110mm longer than the regular Musso.
Other additions include an extra 20Nm of torque, bringing the total to 420Nm, and extra payload capacity.
Volkswagen has been offering the Amarok ute in two different longer-wheelbase guises since 2020.
The Volkswagen Amarok XL and XXL are factory-backed conversions that are conducted locally by Adelaide firm Adaptive Automotive.
The Amarok XL features a 310mm longer wheelbase and the Amarok XXL has a 650mm longer wheelbase.
Besides the extra wheelbase length, Volkswagen also reprograms the electronic stability control to compensate for the longer wheelbase. There are also three centre of gravity height programs.
LDV previously offered its last-generation T60 dual-cab ute in what it called a Mega Tub guise. It was 315mm longer than the standard T60 and had a tub which was 275mm longer.
The Chinese automaker now sells its updated T60 Max dual-cab ute locally which isn’t currently available in a longer-wheelbase Mega Tub guise.
It’s unclear if this long-wheelbase Ford Ranger prototype will ever make it into production, nor if it will ever be offered in Australia.
Seeing this prototype is left-hand drive, don’t hold your breath just yet.
Click an image to view the full gallery.
MORE: Everything Ford Ranger