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We Wonder: Will America’s Next Ford Ranger Offer A Diesel Option?

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By now, it’s all but certain that the Ford F-150 will be gaining a diesel engine option within the next couple of years – most likely a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter Duratorq unit named “Lion.” The only thing that looks perhaps more certain than a Ford F-150 diesel from our viewpoint is the alleged forthcoming return of the Ford Ranger mid-size pickup.

So, perhaps it’s natural that we start looking ahead to the Ford Ranger’s potential diesel offerings.

The current Ford Ranger T6 sold just about everywhere-not-North-America offers a duo of diesel engines: a 2.2-liter I4 “Puma” unit, and a 3.2-liter five-cylinder version. The larger of these puts out 200 horsepower with 350 lb-ft of torque, compared to the 254 horsepower and 440 lb-ft possible from the Ford F-150’s suspected diesel.

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A version of the 3.2-liter “Puma” diesel has already been federalized for use in the North American-spec Ford Transit, now putting out 185 hp and 350 lb·ft.

But would any of these three diesel engines necessarily end up in the next North American Ford Ranger? We can’t know. The Ram 1500 full-size from Fiat Chrysler has a 3.0-liter “EcoDiesel” mill on offer, and General Motors’ Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon duo of mid-size pickups have an optional 2.8-liter unit, but the idea of a small diesel engine in a light-duty pickup is still something of a new concept in North America. The take-rate tends to be comparatively small, although US customers seem to be gradually warming to the concept of a spark-less light-duty pickup.

At the end of the day, Ford may decide that one diesel-powered light-duty – the Ford F-150 – is enough to meet demand and grab the title of fuel economy king away from FCA. Or, the automaker might decide to watch the diesel take-rate of the mid-size Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon very closely over the next year or two.

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After all, with the Ford Ranger not expected in North America until the 2018 model year, Ford Motor Co. has no shortage of time to make up its mind.

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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