Pickups

New Ford Ranger prototype hits the road

ford ranger prototype

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The Ford Ranger has returned.

Just a few weeks after the automaker confirmed it’s bringing back the small pickup model in 2019, a prototype has been spotted undergoing testing on public roads in Michigan.

The body of the camouflaged truck appears to be identical to the one on the Ranger that Ford currently builds and sells in other countries, which Ford is basing the new Michigan-made Ranger on.

Chevrolet did the same thing when it reintroduced the Colorado to the USA in 2015, but while it looks much like its foreign market Colorado, it’s been significantly reengineered with more capability to better meet the expectations of American truck buyers. That’s likely the case with the Ranger, which could also end up getting a new body design by the time it goes on sale.

FORD CONFIRMS RETURN OF RANGER PICKUP AND BRONCO SUV

The undercover truck is a fairly conventional crew cab with a solid rear axle and front independent suspension. While its engine is unknown, today’s Rangers are sold with four-cylinder gas and diesel engines, along with a version of the five-cylinder diesel found in the Ford Transit van. It’s likely the American Ranger will be available with one or two of those and at least one V6 to compete with the other small pickups that all offer them in the United States.

With an on sale date expected late next year, the official production version of the new Ranger should make its debut at the 2018 North American Auto Show in Detroit in January.

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Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com's Automotive Editor.