It’s the first question a lot of punters ask when they see the Ford Ranger Raptor roll up at the lights: has it got enough grunt?
The simple answer is, yes. The 2.0-litre diesel bi-turbo has enough herbs for lumbering along country and suburban roads and towing a tonne, but it’s nothing special. At least not special enough to match the desert-busting chassis and tough truck looks of a ute that sits in the Ford Performance stable and has a ‘Baja’ race mode. Though that might all change soon.
Ford has been spotted testing the Ranger Raptor in the US with a petrol motor. It’s a bit unusual, considering the Raptor is not available in the US Ranger line-up and is currently only available with the same 2.0-litre oiler on sale down under. So what of it?
Spy photographers for Automedia caught the black test mule running around the streets of Detroit. Reports are that it sounded like there was a petrol V6 engine lurking underneath, pumping its tune out of two rear exhausts. The video confirms it’s no diesel.
Blacked-out in typical test mule fashion and without badging or a closer inspection, it’s impossible to know what exactly was sitting under the bonnet, but it’s possible it could have been either Ford’s 2.7-litre turbo V6 or the smaller 2.3-litre EcoBoost currently powering the North American Ranger.
Read next: 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Development Program
It points towards the blue oval introducing the Aussie-developed Ranger Raptor in the US, or the possibility it is testing for an update we might receive. The smaller 2.3-litre would bode well for Australia, with the engine already implemented here in the Ford Mustang and previous-generation Focus RS producing up to 257kW and 440Nm. The 2.7-litre unit that’s being speculated overseas wouldn’t work out well for Australian tastes, as that engine has so far been canned for any right-hand drive market vehicles.
It seems less likely that the engine was in testing for the next-generation ute due in 2022, that Wheels got the first look on. In the US at least, a petrol-powered Raptor would give Ford a sharp rival to the likes of the 3.6-litre V6 Jeep Gladiator (that’s due here next year), or the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 with the same size engine. Though Australians will no doubt be pining for a V8…