An eagle-eyed Facebook user has spotted the 2018 Ford Ranger in Thailand, giving us a good look at its upgrades ahead of a global launch later this year.
From the photos, we can see that the updates appear to be limited to new headlights and a new daytime running light signature to align it more closely with the 2018 Ford Everest.
We can also make out a new grille and fog lamp housings, and these changes are timed with the United States bringing its own Ranger plant online very soon.
A bit harder to make out are the keyless entry buttons on the door handles, indicating a possible change to keyless start as well.
But the most significant change will be under the hood. With the Ford Ranger Raptor changing to a 2.0-liter engine (also later this year) it seems likely that the old 2.2-liter diesel motor will be dropped in favour of the more efficient 2.0-liter turbo-diesel.
The new, smaller capacity engine makes more power, is smoother and comes with a 10-speed automatic instead of the ageing six-speed auto.
For markets where the diesel motors are preferable, the Ranger’s 3.2-liter five-cylinder turbo-diesel is in line for some enhancements, with a fraction more power, torque and an improvement on fuel economy.
After all, the 3.2-litre is one of Ford’s best selling models, so we don’t expect that to disappear just yet.
We would like to see the larger engine also go with the new ten-speed auto, or even a step up to the ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic, but we’ll wait to see what the official word is, first.
More importantly, Ford should be working on the Ranger’s active safety, with the update being a good opportunity to introduce more technology, such as autonomous emergency braking. Lane change departure and a self-parking feature could also be introduced on this model.
The same body and shape remains, which means there likely won’t be any improvements to the load carrying capacity, although the Ranger’s towing may be changed depending on which automatic is used.
And with the American Ranger on the way, there could be some scope for a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engined model. Of course, we’ll bring you all the details when the new Ranger is officially revealed.