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When it comes to the Ford Ranger, it feels like the United States is getting Europe’s scraps. Many stateside have questioned what Ford Motor Co. was doing with the Ranger, a midsize pickup truck that merely felt like a slightly smaller F-150. Meanwhile, the Ranger has remained popular overseas. Heck, it even remained a production vehicle there during the late ’90s and early 2000s when the Ranger was discontinued here.

Ranger returned to the North American market in 2019 as a midsize truck but failed to distinguish itself from the popular F-150. It seemed like Ford didn’t quite know what to do with the Ranger and how to present it.

A new version of the Ranger is coming next year, as a 2023 model. And this now slots the Ranger nicely between the F-150 and compact Maverick.

Now let’s look at what we think the next-generation Ranger will look — and what we hope it will have. The two aren’t always the same, and Ford, as usual, has remained tight-lipped about details.

What we hope the 2023 Ford Ranger has

Hybrid technology. This may annoy some of you, but Ford put a hybrid platform in the F-150, and we absolutely loved it. Our publisher Tim Esterdahl bought and thoroughly enjoyed the Ford F-150 PowerBoost. Sure he sold it, but that was more of a business move than any kind knock against the hybrid F-150.

Imagine a Ranger with north of 30 MPG and a towing capacity more than the current 7,500 pounds. Now imagine a hybrid Ranger that had the Pro Power Onboard Generator, too? How could anyone not want that? Oh, and, Ford, please give us a PHEV option for the Ranger.

Ranger Raptor. It’s high time that Ford brings the Ranger Raptor to North America. This truck has been a hit overseas already. It’s powered by a bi-turbo version of Ford’s 2.0‑liter EcoBlue diesel engine. Obviously, this engine would not be part of a Ranger Raptor here in America, but it’d be cool if Ford would put its high-output EcoBoost engine into the Ranger and unleash a Raptor version on its smaller truck. Ford confirmed a Bronco Raptor, so why not a Ranger Raptor, too? Imagine how much fun it would be to scream through creek beds and over different terrains in something that is a little more exciting than the current EcoBoost engine found in the Ranger. We can imagine it and sure hope this happens!

Bronco-like Ranger. The Ranger and Bronco will share Ford’s new T6 platform, so it only makes sense for the Ranger to get a little more rugged as a result. This would help the Ranger to develop its own vibe and differentiate itself further from the F-150. Imagine blending a smaller F-150 with some qualities of the Bronco. That’s what would be ideal for the next-gen Ranger.  We saw a camouflaged Ranger that resembled the Bronco’s WIldtrak trim. And that seems to make a lot of sense. Although Ford already has the Tremor available and the FX4 for the Ranger, so maybe it’s just a variant of that. But either way, a rugged Ranger with Bronco-like qualities would be oh-so-nice.

Manual transmission. Hey, we can dream, right? I mean, the Bronco has a 7-speed manual transmission option for the 2.3-liter four-banger so why couldn’t the Ranger have it, too? We’d sacrifice the smaller engine for a manual transmission option.

What we expect the 2023 Ford Ranger to have

Four-door crew AND extended cab. You can only camouflage so much without revealing things. And the spy photos that have been captured of the 2023 Ranger show two different sizes. So it’s a safe bet that this will be part of the next-generation Ranger.

Maverick-like styling. Again spy photos have revealed the C-shaped headlights that are similar to those of the Maverick. We see several similarities between the front end of the Maverick and the front end of the 2023 Ranger. That isn’t a bad thing as we are a huge fan of the compact Maverick.

Significant interior updates. Even though the Ranger re-entered the U.S. market in 2019 as a “new” vehicle it was actually a long-in-the-tooth leftover from Europe. And frankly, it felt that way. Thus, the Ranger’s return to the North American market was less than stellar, mostly due to its dated interior that lacked pizzazz. We are confident that the next-gen Ranger will have significant updates to the interior including a 12- or 15-inch touchscreen with Ford’s Sync 4 system.

Under-seat storage. Ford made a big deal of how much can be stored in the Maverick under the rear seat. The current generation Ranger doesn’t have that impressive of storage space and second-row under-seat storage is a craze right now for trucks. So it stands to reason that the sixth-generation Ranger will get a significant improvement in its rear seat storage. And that’s a good thing.

The bottom line on the 2023 Ford Ranger

Much of this is just speculation based upon rumors, forums and spy photos. Europe and Australia will get the big reveal before us, as Ford Europe plans to release the Ranger overseas first. But, we can all watch the official reveal of the 2023 Ranger on Ford Europe’s YouTube Channel on November 24.

Though the 2023 Ranger will be available to them before it makes its way onto our shores, it is expected to be available the latter part of 2022, barring production setbacks.

With the Maverick, Ranger and F-150, plus the return the Bronco, we think Ford has found its groove. It’s time to refocus some attention on the Ranger and make it what the American market wants, rather than just some remnant from overseas. Make the improvements needed plus some of the things from our wishlist above, and Ford might just truly revive the Ranger.

What changes do you want to see for the next-generation Ranger? Leave your comment below.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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1 Comment

  1. Jason Kolar November 20, 2021

    I would like to see a plug in hybrid with tow capacity north of 7k. A smaller turning radius would be great to get into smaller parking spaces. Luxury and tech packages similar to what is in the maverick. I might go for an electric Ranger as well. And it is important that the price does not go up with this new model. The Ranger is already at the top of my spending limits when equipped how I want.

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