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Is This the Next-Gen 2022 Ford Ranger Pickup? We Think So

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 2/21/2019 Daniel Golson
a car parked on the side of a road: An Australian magazine has published photos of what we think is the next-gen Ford Ranger pickup, which is due in 2021 and will be new from the ground up.© Ford An Australian magazine has published photos of what we think is the next-gen Ford Ranger pickup, which is due in 2021 and will be new from the ground up.

Enthusiasts in the United States rejoiced when news broke a few years ago that the compact-well, now mid-size-Ford Ranger pickup would be returning to the American market. That enthusiasm was somewhat dampened when we found out that the Ranger we'd be getting would actually be a reworked version of the truck that had existed overseas since 2011. The 2019 Ranger (pictured above) is now finally on sale, and despite its aging underpinnings and styling, it's a competitive truck that hasn't been phoned in. But just weeks after the new Ranger has hit dealer lots in the United States, we're already getting what could be our first look at the next-generation Ranger, which should make its debut in 2021 as a 2022 model.

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Our colleagues at Australia's Wheels magazine posted two photos of what look like a final model of the truck. The windows are blacked out and some of the surfaces are a little wonky, leading us to believe that this is a clay styling mockup. Now, this could just be one of multiple styling proposals that Ford has yet to decide on, but we don't think that's the case for a couple of reasons: First, it's close enough to the debut of the next Ranger that the design should be close to finalized now (if it hasn't been already), and second, the details on this truck look extremely thought out and production ready. And the fact that the truck was spotted in Melbourne also lends credence to its being the real thing; the current T6 Ranger was designed and engineered by Ford of Australia, so it would make sense that the Aussies at Ford would have at least some hand in the next-gen model.

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A post shared by Wheels (@wheelsaustralia) on Feb 19, 2019 at 9:04pm PST

If these photos do show the real, final thing, there will be no mistaking the next-gen Ranger for anything but a Ford. At the front, the truck has two large chrome bars bisecting a rectangular grille, like what is found on the F-150 and Super Duty pickups. Thin, C-shaped headlights wrap around the two bars, and there are square foglights in the bumper. The hood is way more aggressive and pronounced than what's on the current Ranger, and it is also like what the Super Duty has. The chrome bumper has two large vertical elements that extend up, kind of like the supports of a brush guard.

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The overall styling of the sides of the truck is just as blocky as the front, with boxed fender flares that are reminiscent of 1980s rally cars instead of the exaggerated, rounded fenders that the current Ranger has. The surfacing in general is a lot more subdued than that of the '19 Ranger, with creases and nonhorizontal lines kept to a minimum. A vertical vent in the fenders looks like the one on the "Baby Bronco" crossover that leaked late last year.

At the rear, the changes are more evolutionary. The tailgate has lost the stamped "RANGER" script, the Ford oval has moved higher up (as has the tailgate handle), and the taillights are a little blockier and more complex. Upon closer examination, the rear bumper looks identical to the current Ranger's-Ford could have just used a bumper it had sitting around for this model, or the production truck could have some carryover parts.

Ford Bronco teaser© Ford Ford Bronco teaser

Unlike the current truck, the next Ranger will actually be all new from the ground up. It will share a new platform with the long-awaited Bronco (shown in the teaser above), which is due next year as a 2021 model and is rumored to get a new turbocharged V-6 engine and an optional seven-speed manual transmission. (The current Ranger uses a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four.) Ford has also confirmed that the Bronco will get a hybrid variant, and with the F-150 getting electrified in the near future, we bet the Ranger will be, too.

The next-gen Ranger's new platform will also underpin the Volkswagen Amarok pickup, although the VW is unlikely to make its way to the States. What is likely to make its way to the States, though, is the high-performance off-road Raptor version of the next-gen Ranger. The U.S. has been denied the current Ranger Raptor, but recent rumors point to its successor being offered in America. With the next-gen Ranger still about two years away, it may be a while before we get any concrete details on the truck, so keep your fingers crossed that more info about the Ranger and its Bronco sibling continues to leak out.

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