A diesel Ford Ranger gives the Blue Oval a competitor against midsized trucks from Chevrolet, GMC, and Jeep.

New spy shots seem to catch the Ford Ranger possibly with a diesel engine under development in the United States. There's some very odd equipment underneath this truck that leads to this theory. 

Gallery: Ford Ranger Diesel Spy Shots

The exterior of this truck looks largely stock, except for Ford covering up the logos, emblems, and some of the trim. Check out the low-angle photos that peek underneath the pickup, though. There's a massive concealment panel that occupies where the driveshaft usually would be. An odd canister is in the spot where we'd usually see the exhaust. Extra equipment is in the bed, too.

The location of this equipment suggests that Ford is doing something with the truck's powertrain. Our spies speculate that a diesel engine's development is a likely answer to what the engineers are doing here.

Is a diesel-powered Ford Ranger something you'd want in your garage?

As further evidence, Ford updated the European-market Ranger for the 2019 model year by adding a revised diesel engine. The 2.0-liter turbodiesel is available with 130 horsepower (97 kilowatts) and 170 hp (127 kW) with a single turbo or a 210-hp (157-kW) tune with a twin-turbo setup. These powerplants hook up to a 10-speed automatic or six-speed manual. All-wheel drive comes standard.

This test mule could be a way for Ford to figure out how to adapt the 2.0-liter turbodiesel for the American market by fine-tuning its emissions. The resulting variant of the Ranger would be a natural competitor against the 2.8-liter, 181-hp turbodiesel Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, in addition to the forthcoming Jeep Gladiator with a 3.0-liter making 260 hp (194 kW).

Source: Automedia