Dearborn - Not long ago rumours started circulating that Ford was considering creating a new compact bakkie to slot beneath the Ranger, and now it appears to be a done deal.
According to the website Ford Authority, people close to the project have confirmed that Ford has started developing the new compact pick-up, and it is expected to go on sale in 2021. It is too early to say, though, whether this vehicle would be destined for South Africa.
Unlike the ladder-frame Ranger, and as per the Fiat Toro and upcoming Volkswagen Tarok, the compact Ford bakkie is expected to be a unibody vehicle, based on the Ford Focus platform, although it remains to be seen just how closely it will be related to its passenger car donor.
It’s likely then that most of the line-up will be front-wheel-driven, although flagship models could offer a permanent all-wheel-drive system similar to the Kuga’s.
Engines, if we follow the Focus script, will almost certainly be small and turbocharged, with Ford’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost likely being the mainstay of the range.
And what will it be called?
Ford Authority says that, according to its sources, the Courier name is currently the front runner, although the name has reportedly not been cast in stone as yet.
That will certainly bring back memories for South Africans as that badge was used on the Ranger’s predecessor locally, which was Mazda-based. Incidentally the Courier name was also used on a Fiesta-based compact bakkie that was built in Brazil until recently and which was similar, but certainly not identical, to South Africa’s Bantam.