Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 20 May 2019
We were invited to a remote and arid landscape in Upington to experience the new Ford Ranger Raptor. The eagerly awaited and long-developed latest addition to the Ford Ranger line-up and a vehicle which is assembled to be Ford tough here on South African soil. This is not another pickup truck, its a true one of a kind, meet the new Ranger Raptor.
The Bare Bones
You might have already seen Ford Rangers driving around baring a Raptor inspired body kit and think you know what this vehicle is all about, you might think it’s just a Ford Ranger Wildtrack in a fancy outfit, but if you do, trust me you are wrong, very wrong!
Under the skin, the gearbox is Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission, the one which recently launched with the refreshed Ranger XLT and Wildtrack models. Under the hood is Ford’s familiar 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbocharged diesel engine (157 kW : 500 Nm ) as we find in the Wildtrack and the interior closely resembles a Ranger XLT or Wildtrack, however, from here onwards things begin to intensify.
Ford has lengthened and widened the Ranger’s footprint. They have increased its ride height substantially by 51 mm and given it a new set of springs by Fox Suspension. The Raptor also features beefier aluminium suspension arms built to take more of a pounding as well as lengthened and strengthed magnesium alloy bash-plates and running boards. The result of these changes is a vehicle which will break you as the driver far quicker than you can break it.
More of The Magic
Ford partnered-up with BF Goodrich to develop a very special all-terrain tyre for the Ranger Raptor. With a 285/70 17-inch profile and the bakkies specially developed 332 x 32-mm ventilated brakes with twin-piston 51 mm callipers, the result is a vehicle which will take you from home to the most gruelling landscapes on earth and then back home again all without any hassle.
Further enhancing the Ranger Raptor is a meaner-looking grille with large bold FORD insignia. Widened flared arches and a larger dimension profile. The Ranger Raptor will even wade through up to 850 mm of water. All of this in a vehicle which has a svelte suede leather combination interior with Ford’s Sync 3 multimedia interface and all the luxuries you could wish for.
Despite its tough appearance and truly incredible “You cannot break me” offroad qualities, the Ranger Raptor remains an incredibly competent on-road double cab with a comfortable and refined performance.
The Split Personality
Comfortable on-road utility, sand warrior, rally performer, BAJA 1000 contender. No matter the conditions which are presented, a clever little drive select button allows you to reconfigure the entire attitude of the new Ranger Raptor. Whether being driven in 2H, 4H or 4L, nothing is too great of a task.
I have previously driven tough and rugged vehicles in some tough conditions, but nothing has ever let me do what the Ranger Raptor would. While my mind said that 150 km/h was fast enough through rough gravel rock and bumps. Driving at over 135 km/h around a rough drift course and “getting air,” in a production vehicle was a stupid idea, the Ranger Raptor was able to prove me wrong and do it all.
I went up to Upington expecting to meet a Ford Ranger which was wearing a fancy suit and had been toughed somewhat over the already very capable Ranger Wildtrack. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The Ranger Raptor truly sits within a unique place in which it is the most rugged and offroad capable bakkie in SA on sale period. Available in one spec and variant and packed with features, it staggers me that Ford South Africa has been able to introduce it at a price significantly cheaper than that of other performance-based bakkie competitors currently on the market. While it may not be the fastest bakkie on the road, it certainly is the most rugged and capable one offroad and one which deserves all the praise which I can give it. This is one of a kind!
The Ranger Raptor costs R786 400 (May 2019) and comes standard with a 4-year /120 000 km comprehensive warranty, 5-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty, 3 years of roadside assistance, 6-year/90 000 km service plan.