Although Ford officially unveiled the 2019 Ranger mid-size pickup at the Detroit auto show, it remained mum on any details regarding the highly anticipated Ranger Raptor. We know it’s real, and thanks to promotional video footage, we know it can ford small streams, jump ridges, and do off-road donuts. What remains a mystery, however, is whether it will be able to do any of those things in the United States at the hands of American consumers.
We first caught wind of a Ranger with beefed-up off-road capabilities earlier this year. Spy photographers spotted a wide-fendered, big-tired camo mule romping around with what appeared to be resculpted fenders and enhanced suspension bits. The familiar pieces, reminiscent of the F-150 Raptor we adore so much, pointed toward a mud-running Ranger, but a right-hand-drive setup tempered our excitement.
Ford South Africa confirmed the truck’s reality with a preview video last fall, and now, a second video from Ford Thailand builds on that hype with the confirmation that the Ranger Raptor will indeed make its debut at some point in 2018. But none of this information answers the most important question: Now that the tweaked production Ranger has returned to U.S. soil, will we get a Ranger Raptor?
Ford won’t comment on future products, but when asked if the Ranger Raptor would come to the United States, company reps responded by mentioning how much Ford loves the F-150 Raptor. That’s better than a “no,” and market trends indicate it could make sense from a business standpoint. The F-150 Raptor is a major brand-image booster and has sold well. The same is true of the Toyota Tacoma TRD.
The international-market Ranger Raptor is expected to bow in Thailand this February, as confirmed by Australia’s motoring.com, so more information should be available around that time.