ARE these the first-ever fully undisguised shots of the next-generation Ford Ranger due out in 2021? Or some future pickup from a rival carmaker that happens to pay uncannily close visual homage to the phenomenally successful Australian-designed and developed medium truck?
Nobody at Ford is saying obviously, but from what we can ascertain from the prototype snapped in an outer Melbourne suburb this week is that the crisp styling, overall proportions and even some minute detailing aspects all suggest a very strong and very clear Ford influence.
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And not just from the existing T6 Ranger series either, since the mystery ute’s wide stance, bold grille, boxy wheel arches, deep glass area and subtle rear window-line kink speak with a very Ford F-Series truck accent.
If the mystery ute is from a competitor carmaker hellbent on muscling-in on the current Ranger’s worldwide success, its similarity to the just-unveiled full-sized 2020 Ford Super Duty F-250 sold Stateside is surely no coincidence. Check out how alike the C-shaped LED headlights, six-point grille garnish and square front foglight housings are, while the taillights and shape of the chrome back bumpers seem nearly identical. Even the spoked alloys are very similar.
All suggest that either this is true Blue Oval or somebody from another company’s design studios seem to have access to what’s coming up out of Ford HQ in Dearborn. It’s just too bad the blacked-out windows prevented the eagle-eyed photographer from snapping images of the dashboard and interior. So blacked out are the windows that it could suggest this is actually a clay-model of the next-gen Ranger on its way to Ford Australia, not a rolling prototype.
Above: Mystery Ford Ranger
Above: Ford F-250 Superduty
Given Ford’s current penchant for protruding tablet-like touchscreens, small steering wheels and big central vents, see inside the cabin might have been the confirmation we would have needed to identify this mystery ute for certain.
If the mystery ute indeed is the next-generation Ranger, then it’s a good-looking update on what has remained both a critical and commercial global success for Ford Australia, gaining a closer visual connection to the top-selling F-Series and underlining the Ranger’s increasingly vital role in the North American truck market. The general shape and proportions also bode very well for the 2022 Volkswagen Amarok that will be based on next Ranger.
On the other hand, if it is a close copy from an unknown carmaker from China or any other part of the world, then hats off to Ford’s international design team for influencing the next lot of mid-sized pickups. Either way, what we’re seeing here is a real good looker.
Watch this space…
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