Lusty bakkie prototype tailpipe probably more interesting than what’s under that veil

A growing number of Ford Ranger prototypes being snapped running around under stealthy disguise is creating an awful amount of interest and speculation about how that bakkie actually looks behind all they dreadful disguise. But there’s another hint that rather has us wondering what’s actually under the bonnet of certain of those mules. That’s the bazooka exhaust tailpipe. And why is ot of such a substantial girth.


Well, the answer is probably pretty simple, when you consider what Ford has planned for its newcomer due to be built by the hundreds of thousands out of its Pretoria plant. And perhaps that’s also got quite a bit to do with that billion dollar investment, of which we are sure some will also filter through to the Motor company’s Port Elizabeth engine plant.

See, that’s where they already build the Ranger Raptor’s modern 157 kW 500 Nm 2-litre four-pit biturbo diesel and 130 kW 420 Nm single-turbo used in many other next Ranger models. Now it’s likely that those engines will have an ever increasing role to play in the new T6.2 Ranger line-up, which is unlikely to use many of the old-world 2.2-litre four and 3.2-litre five-pot turbodiesels, except in some more rudimentary workhorse applications.

What interests us more however, are the two new engines we expect to see in the next Ranger and therein likely lies the solution to our bazooka tailpipe conundrum. See, we have it on relatively good authority that the biggest gripe about the current Ranger, and this especially the case of the Raptor, is that it ‘only’ has 157 kW and 500 Nm from its 2-litre four-pot turbodiesel ‘peashooter’.


So what’s Ford going to do about that? Well, we have more than just a hunch that the next Ranger — and likely also its Amarok step-sister — will gain a pair of turbocharged V6s. A 185 kW 600 Nm single-turbo 3-litre diesel lump. And a 230 kW 540 Nm 2.7-litre biturbo petrol to turn those six-speed manual or trick ten-speed auto boxes.

Ford’s port and direct fuel injected 3.5-litre EcoBoost petrol has already been used in a broad variety of applications starting with the base 280 kW 637 Nm version in the US market Expedition. That one was also used in the F-150 until 2017, but the truck now uses a 298 kW 651 Nm unit. Versions of the Ford V6 go all the way up to the full cream 482 kW 746 Nm version you will find midships in the latest GT supercar.

And Ford’s latest-spec 186 kW 596 Nm 3-litre PowerStroke 3-litre V6 turbodiesel, also known as the Lion, was originally co-developed by Ford, Peugeot and Citroën some years ago and is still used in some Land Rovers. Recently upgraded when applied to the F-150 with the 10-speed gearbox in 2019, it now has a compacted graphite-iron casting, forged crankshaft and a variable-geometry turbocharger with a common-rail fuel injection.


Now how these new-to Ranger engines will become integrated into Ford’s South African production plan remains to be seen. But would it be wide of the mark to speculate that one or both of them will be added to that growing Struandale product portfolio too? We don’t think so, Especially considering that fresh investment.

Ford has also just released a F-150 hybird in the US employing a 3.5-litre PowerBoost petrol V6 backed up by a 35-kW electric motor that lives inside a special version of Ford’s 10-speed automatic gearbox. The e-motor is fed by a liquid-cooled 1.5-kWh battery stowed underneath the truck. Which means it does not sacrifice interior or cargo bed space and contributes to a 320 kW 775 Nm total output. That seems a clever option for the Ranger, too…

Ford’s monster R16-billion Ranger (and Amarok) investment covers upgrading the Silverton Plant and “ushering in further upgrades and new facilities to support high quality, efficient production and Ford’s local supplier network”. We gather that likely includes the Struandale engine plant.

All of which leads to a hell of a lot of speculation, not just to how next Ranger will look, but also to exactly what’s behind that bazooka exhaust, no…?

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