Ford’s global-market Ranger pickup could get the Raptor treatment

Australian buyers have plenty of pickup trucks to choose from but the Ford F-150 Raptor has never been one of them. The all-new second-gen model that was presented earlier this year in Detroit is tentatively scheduled to finally arrive Down Under in early 2017, and rumors coming out of Australia indicate that it could be joined by a smaller model dubbed Ranger Raptor.

Based on the Ranger Crew Cab, the range-topping Raptor will benefit from a long list of off-road-focused add-ons including a large bull bar up front, a snorkel, and flared fenders all around. The truck will be able to clear nearly every obstacle in the Australian Outback thanks to a heavy-duty suspension, several inches of additional ground clearance, and high-profile off-road tires.

It’s too early to tell whether the Blue Oval will make major mechanical modifications to the Ranger Raptor. What’s almost certain is that the truck will be offered with the Ranger’s top-spec 3.2-liter five-cylinder turbodiesel engine, a mill that makes nearly 200 horsepower, and a generous 246 foot-pounds of torque in its initial state of tune. Four-wheel drive and a manual transmission will come standard, and an automatic unit might be available at an extra cost.

Ford has declined to comment on the rumors. For what it’s worth, though, the company made a trip to an Australian patent office to protect the names “Ranger Raptor,” “Ford Ranger Raptor,” and “Ranger FX4” a couple of weeks ago.

If the rumors do materialize, the Ford Ranger Raptor will likely be presented to the public in the next few months and it will go on sale in early 2016. Designed primarily for the Australian market, it could also be sold in a handful of neighboring countries including Thailand but it stands virtually no chance of ever touching down in the United States.