Next T6 Ranger and Everest/Endeavor to feature the 2.0EB
Ford has sent the lead engineer for its Explorer project, American Todd Hoevener, to Australia to finalise the new Ranger bakkie line-up.
His challenge is to ensure the ladder-frame chassis of the next-generation Ranger (codenamed T6) can spin off a convincing SUV alternative to Nissan's Pathfinder, Toyota’s Fortuner and Mitsubishi's Pajero Sport.
The T6 Ranger bakkie and SUV offering will be sold in Australia, South-East Asia and South Africa - regions where the impressive fifth-generation Explorer is unlikely to be sold.
In terms of powertain possibilities, Hoevener’s T6 appointment increases the likelihood that Ford's next-generation Ranger could be buoyed by the company’s latest EcoBoost engines. The first of these sophisticated direct-injection turbo engines was launched to great fanfare in the new Explorer - a project for which Hoevener was personally responsible.
The Explorer has a two-litre EcoBoost I-4 engine that delivers 176kW and 325Nm over an impressively generous engine-speed range of 2000-5500r/min.
These EcoBoost outputs are in line with those of the discontinued Ranger V6 engine, yet consumption should average as much as 20% less, efficiency boosted by direct injection and variable valve-timing on both inlet and exhaust valve camshafts.
First for VW Amarok
Odds are that the EcoBoost I-4 will power the new Ranger, making it the first mainstream bakkie/SUV offer to combine rugged ladder-chassis strength with sophisticated small-capacity forced-induction petrol power.
VW's Amarok bakkie, due in September, 2010, will of course debut two-litre turbodiesel power to the local double-cab market - being the first bakkie to offer a downsized engine alternative, albeit diesel-powered.
Engineers in Thailand, Japan and Australia have been working on the T6 Ranger since 2006 with a budget of $700m.