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Ranger bakkie to get EcoBoost 2l

2010-08-06 06:54

Ford’s next-generation T6 Ranger is having its finishing touches added by an American.

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.

Could an EcoBoost engine could satisfy local Ranger customers? Share your thoughts here...

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