Dearborn, Michigan - Ford Performance has announced the first off-road performance version of its Ranger one-tonner and though we don't get to see it in the flesh just yet, the company has released a few teaser images of the ferocious new bakkie in disguised prototype form.

Inspired by desert races such as the Baja 1000, it’s called the Ranger Raptor (if it’s anything like the severely attitudinous F-150 Raptor with which it shares the name that’s not a bad thing) and it will be coming to South Africa in due course - expect more information closer to the time.

Ford has revealed no engine or drivetrain details, quoting merely “a level of capability and off-road performance never before seen in the mid-size bakkie segment”, but the video, shot during testing in the Australian outback, briefly shows its multi-link independent rear suspension in place of the standard model’s live axle, longer coilover shocks and chunky all-terrain tyres, giving it a significantly increased ground clearance.

Speculation in the cybergarage is that it will have the same 336kW/690Nm, 3.5-litre turbopetrol V6 as the F-150 Raptor (and the GT supercar!) but that may be wishful thinking, as a test mule spied on the road on the United States was running what sounded like a diesel engine - presumably a tweaked version of the 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo that tops the Ranger line-up here and elsewhere.

Either way, expect to see Ford’s new joint-venture (with GM) 10-speed automatic transmission pushing all four wheels via a rear-biased split.

IOL Motoring
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