Eagle-eyed reader busts Ford’s next-gen Ranger on the road. Here’s what we know so far…

A keen-eyed reader has spotted what looks like Ford’s next-generation Ranger on the streets of Melbourne.

The 2018 Ranger sighting comes a fortnight before the international debut of Ford’s first Ranger Raptor, the new 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine in which is understood to feature more broadly in the upgraded MY18 Ranger line-up.

Australia’s new-look 2018 Ford Ranger will mirror the design of the 2019 US-build Ranger that made its global debut in dual-cab guise at the 2018 Detroit motor show, marking the ute’s return to the US for the first time in a generation.

The video shows what appears to be a Ranger Super Cab engineering evaluation vehicle clad in polka-dot camouflage and padding, driving through the inner Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn, and its shooter said it sounded “distinctly four-cylinder”.

Developed by Ford Asia Pacific, the heavily upgraded 2018 Ranger is expected to become available with a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine that, at least in the Raptor, promises more power and torque than the Ranger’s current 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre ‘five’.

The Ranger’s five-cylinder diesel will continue to be available in non-Raptor models, but it’s unclear whether a lower-output version of the Raptor’s new 2.0-litre diesel will replace the 118kW 2.2-litre diesel that currently powers entry-level Rangers.

Ford’s new ‘EcoBlue’ diesel will reportedly be produced with 142 and 160kW outputs, but so far there’s no word on torque – and whether it will match the outputs of Volkswagen’s Amarok V6 or the upcoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class.

It is tipped, however, that the MY18 Ranger – or at least the Raptor version – will debut Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission, a unit it co-developed with arch-rival General Motors.

The Ranger will be underpinned by the same T6 ladder platform developed by Australian engineers and used under Ranger and Everest variants since 2011.

Ranger Raptor variants are understood to feature a development of the same coil-sprung multi-link rear-end found under the Everest SUV, a wider wheel track, and up to 250mm of ground clearance.

Likely to be priced around $80,000, the first Ranger Raptor is also tipped to run four-wheel disc brakes and 285/70 R17 BF Goodrich All-Terrain tyres on blacked-out 17-inch alloys.

Stand by for more information on the Ford Ranger Raptor from its world debut in Bangkok on February 7.

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