Finally got to drive the widely touted all-new Ford Ranger Raptor last week. I drove it once off-road, and was glad I did that, as it is not as impressive on tar. It shares DNA with the Wildtrak, and what really makes the Raptor is it’s underpinnings which really set it apart from the opposition. It has bold styling, and standing 51mm taller, 150mm wider in the front & back, with a 283mm ground clearance,32.5 deg approach angle and 24deg departure angle, it certainly looks the -off-road part indeed. The large grille with Ford lettering gives it an aggressive air as well.
Available in Ford Performance Blue, Colorado Red, Absolute Black, Frozen White and Conquer Grey colours with contrasting Dyno Grey accents, the new Ranger Raptor’s aggressive design is driven by performance and functionality.
The front fenders are made from durable composite materials for exciting off-road adventures, while the bumper includes LED fog lamps with air-curtain ducts, which reduce air resistance. The flared shape of the fenders have been designed to accommodate the long-travel suspension and BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres that were specifically developed for the Ranger Raptor.
In the Ranger cabin, and you feel the sportiness at the offset, with sports seats in technical suede, blue stitching and leather accents for Raptor, leather grip steering wheel with magnesium Raptor paddle shifts for quick shifting. The Raptor log debossed into the spoke bezel of the wheel. Safety is well looked after with an array of features for on and off-road driving. It has standard SYNC®3 with Navigation system offers a unique “breadcrumb” feature to leave a trail in uncharted areas – perfect for the serious off-roader. The Ranger Raptor is equipped with Ford Stability Control (FSC), incorporating Roll Stability Control (RSC) that was specifically developed for Ford’s sport utility vehicle (SUV) range, and has been adapted for this exciting new Ford Performance model. It utilises clever sensors to anticipate and minimise oversteer, understeer and rollover incidents.
When you activate the Baja off-road feature , you know that you have the systems to keep you driving safely.
So the heart of the matter is the new 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo diesel engine that delivers a maximum of 157kW of power and 500Nm of torque. This innovative power plant offers both high performance and efficiency, thanks to its combination of a small high-pressure turbo and a large low-pressure turbo that work to provide optimal performance throughout the engine speed range. On the road it feels quite tame, and normal. It is not really a nimble traffic driving car, so don’t expect any major dynamics there.
Mated with Ford’s all-new 10-speed automatic transmission, which is pretty smooth, it careers along country roads like a fly on fly paper. Having 10 gears means a wider ratio-span, resulting in better acceleration and responsiveness in all driving conditions, matched to improved fuel efficiency. With more room to optimise gear spacing, gear progression can be customised for more accurate and quicker shifts. It also features real-time adaptive shift-scheduling algorithms engineered to optimise gear selection.
Unique to the Ranger Raptor are steering wheel-mounted magnesium paddle shifters that give the driver ultimate control over the gear change points and driving dynamics.
Under the skin, the Ranger Raptor’s unique chassis frame is newly-developed and extensively modified for high speeds and endurance in the toughest driving conditions. Built to withstand high-impact off-road encounters, Ranger Raptor’s frame consists of various grades of high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steel, and has been specially designed to support the Ranger Raptor’s increased track and wheel travel.
In keeping with its outstanding off-road capabilities, the Ranger Raptor is equipped with an integrated heavy-duty tow bar, which offers a cleaner appearance than the underslung version used on the standard Ranger, while significantly improving the vehicle’s departure angle. The design incorporates two easily accessible heavy-duty recovery hooks and gives the Ranger Raptor a 2 500kg towing capacity.
To further underline its impressive off-road credentials, the Ranger Raptor’s Terrain Management System (TMS) includes an exciting Baja mode, inspired by Mexico’s famous Baja Desert Rally, which enables ultra-responsive, high-speed off-road performance. In this mode, vehicle systems like Traction Control are pared back to allow spirited off-road driving without intervention from the vehicle’s on-board systems. Gear selection is optimised for maximum performance, and the mapping will hold gears longer and downshift more aggressively.
The Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS) is also linked to the TMS, providing varying levels of assistance and responsiveness according to the specific drive mode selected. The TMS is derived from the system used in the Ford Everest 4×4, and incorporates a full range of drive modes including Normal, Sport, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Sand and Rock.
To tackle unforgiving terrain, Ranger Raptor’s specially developed BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 all-terrain tyres offer a tough sidewall to take on the most formidable environments with confidence, and an aggressive off-road tread pattern that provides outstanding grip in wet, mud, sand and snow conditions.
The Ranger Raptor 2.0 BiT 10AT 4×4 retails for R804 400
All Ford Rangers come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A six-year/90 000km service plan is included, with 15 000km service intervals.
Ford are to date blessed with more orders than stock, so my opinion that it it is quite pricey does not mean much. It is purpose built, unlike the Toyota Gr Gazoo which is just dressed up to look the part. But, would I buy one? Probably not, as I dont drive off the beaten track enough, and it is expensive to buy it otherwise.