Ford Australia Will Design

and engineer a new rugged SUV based on the next generation of Ranger ute. The SUV will fall under the One Ford global vehicle programme, so will be offered worldwide, with a release date yet to be announced. The newT6 Ranger 4x4 double-cab ute, currently undergoing final testing, is due next year.

The SUV project will be headed by American Todd Hoevener, who also led the team for the nev/ly released Explorer. In keeping with its tough off-road aspirations, the SUV will feature a full chassis rig and be designed to take on the likes of the Navara-based Pathfinder and TViton-

production is likely to take place in Thailand.

Meanwhile, the new Explorer, recently launched in the US, is based on the Taurus platform, and is offered in both front-wheel-drive and on-demand all-wheel-drive formats. The seven-seater is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 that produces 216 kW and 345 Nm of torque, or a turbocharged four-cylinder with 177kW and 339Nm. The new model is 45kg lighter than the outgoing example, and when matched to the six-speed auto, is reportedly 20 per cent more economical. EC

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