Most of the industry’s automotive journalists have been under the impression that Americans wouldn’t be privy to the Ranger-sized Raptor variant, but if that were the case, we’re not sure why Ford would go to the trouble of dressing up an American-market Ranger SuperCrew with wider front and rear fenders, a taller suspension, F-150 Raptor–style aluminum wheels, and BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A off-road tires.
Also plainly apparent on the Raptor mule are twin exhaust tips, which suggest a higher-performance powertrain than the current Ranger’s 2.3L EcoBoost I-4. Also spotted in the fully camouflaged interior was an A-pillar gauge, likely monitoring exhaust temperature or turbocharger pressure. Spy photographers corroborated that suspicion, saying this mule sounded like it had a V-6 under the hood. Could a 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 with 325 hp and 400 lb-ft be in the Ranger’s future?
According to the photogs at SpiedBilde, this mule is likely a testbed for the next-generation Ranger and its Raptor variant, which should arrive for 2022 or 2023. However, we certainly hope we won’t have to wait that long for an off-road–ready Ranger, which would make a perfect rival to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.