Widened fenders, and knobby off-road tires: these are the features that identify a camouflage-clad Ford Ranger recently captured in a series of spy shots as a possible Ford Ranger Raptor test mule. Rumor has it that Ford is working on an extreme off-road version of its mid-size truck model in much the same spirit as its lauded F-150 Raptor, and these photos suggest that there could be something to the speculation.
Said spy photos can be viewed on the Car and Driver website.
Apart from the fenders and tires, another giveaway that the spied Ford Ranger is packing in some extra off-road performance is the apparent raised front overhang, lending this truck a greater maximum approach angle than a base model. Of course, all of these attributes could just as easily lend themselves to a rock-crawler as a high-speed desert runner like the F-150 Raptor; which sort of spirit this suspected Ford Ranger Raptor would be crafted in is still uncertain.
Also uncertain is what sort of powerplant a Ford Ranger Raptor might ship with. The most obvious choice, assuming that the truck chases the same sort of high-speed off-road performance as the F-150 Raptor, is a tuned-up version of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6; if it’s aimed more at low-speed rock crawling, a torquey diesel like the world truck’s 3.2-liter Duratorq inline-five might be more appropriate. That latter engine has already been federalized and rebranded as a “Power Stroke” for use in the Transit.
Ford confirmed last January that the Ranger mid-size truck will indeed return to the North American market for 2019. We expect we’ll know more about this alleged Ranger Raptor test mule as that date draws nearer.