Ranger Raptor exploits a whole new performance envelope
Performance. It sells cars. It always has and it always will.
Whether it’s the latest Nurburgring lap record, the first car under four, three or two — even one second to one-hundred or a street car under ten seconds to the quarter-mile; every man and his dog is exploiting some or other alleged speed record in an effort to shift more metal off the showroom floor. It’s all quantifiable, it's pretty exciting and it involves some driver dude pedalling a particular car apparently quicker across a stretch than any next guy.
Well, that's all just changed. Enter the new Ford Ranger Raptor and no, it’s no quicker than the next common garden Wildtrak and in fact it evens shares the same all-new 157kW 500Nm 2-litre biturbo diesel engine turning a splendid 10-speed automatic transmission with power optimised gear selection and an aggressive downshift mode, so it's no quicker than its common garden kin. But that is where I am afraid the comparisons end…
See, Raptor is different — it is not about how much power it makes to propel it so much quicker across such and such a piece of tarmac; no, this thing is all about how fast you can push it across the wickedest and worst sand track you can find. The Ford Ranger Raptor is all about how quick it is off-road, than down Tarlton or around Kyalami, and for now it's the only vehicle out there trying to prove this quite intriguing point…
"instead of spanning in a herd of extra Kilowatts and who knows how many more Newton-metres in, Raptor goes in exactly the opposite direction in search of its newfound performance prowess to deliver insane driving performance over the worst possible conditions"
Proudly built in South Africa, instead of spanning in a herd of extra Kilowatts and who knows how many more Newton-metres in, Raptor goes in exactly the opposite direction in search of its newfound performance prowess to deliver insane driving performance over the worst possible conditions.
That's thanks en main to Raptor packing the very best of Ford Performance suspension expertise in race-like Fox 2.5-inch high-performance Position Sensitive Damping shock absorbers to see front wheel travel increased by 32 percent and rear travel by 22 percent over a standard Ranger. Raptor however runs far deeper than just slapping some trick shocks on your old Ford Ranger however.
See, Ford's super bakkie also gains aluminium control arms with protruding shock towers up front and bespoke Watt's linkage coil-over rear suspension for maximal horizontal and least lateral movement at the back, while its high-strength low-alloy steel reinforced ladder frame chassis was developed from scratch to accommodate that increased track and wheel travel. That empowers this bakkie to quite literally tackle the toughest possible terrain at the fastest pace imaginable.
Raptor is little more than a Baja racing bakkie in exclusive street drag. Sitting 51mm taller and riding on a 283mm ground clearance and on 150mm wider tracks with a 850mm wading depth, 32.5-degree approach and 24-degree ramp and departure angles and furnished with variably assisted Electronic Power Assist Steering, Raptor's Terrain Management System's five driving modes include a high performance Baja mode inspired by the famous desert race with high performance traction control.
Add specially developed BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 all-terrain tyres with tough sidewalls and an aggressive off-road tread pattern, all the regular Ranger safety, convenience and driver-assist technologies at the touch of a button to bring control and comfort for the best of both worlds.
Raptor furthermore packs extreme stopping power courtesy of two-pot performance front callipers clamping 332mm ventilated disc brakes front and rear, a 2.3mm thick bash plate, two sturdy recovery hooks, an integrated heavy-duty tow bar and a handy 2 500kg towing capacity.
Ranger Raptor looks very much the part too — one immediately notices its wider, taller stance in the flesh, while an aggressive Ford grille and flared durable composite material fenders to accommodate that long-travel suspension, a bumper with LED fog lamps, air-curtain ducts and Raptor-specific BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres clearly announce that this bakkie is without doubt out to prove a quite particular performance point.
Step inside Raptor to an unmistakable high-performance off-road driving environment that also delivers exceptional comfort when cruising in town. Raptor’s performance-bred cockpit also boasts a race-like instrument cluster, unique maximum support Technical Suede trimmed blue stitched leather Ford Performance sports seats and a magnesium paddle shifter equipped with a perforated grip red centreline multifunction steering wheel.
"To say that Raptor stunned in the Kalahari is a pretty wild understatement. How this thing soaks up the bumps, blasts across the most extreme and harshest terrain imaginable, handles, rides and runs, is simply quite astonishing"
All of that conspires to present a bakkie like no other. Ford took us out to the wide open spaces of the Kalahari Desert to allow us to experience this wild Raptor in action in its natural habitat. To say that it stunned is a pretty wild understatement. How this thing soaks up the bumps, blasts across the most extreme and harshest terrain imaginable, handles, rides and runs, is simply quite astonishing.
We should have a better chance to experience this mad machine in our home environment soon, but for now, first impressions are all we have to go on, and let’s be honest, no new car of late has quite impressed us as much as this wild bakkie has for quite a while now, no matter how well it performs in whatever discipline. So much so that we’d love to just enter one in an off-road race to see where it ends up. I for one am sure that we’d all be shocked by how effective this Raptor really is...
Best of all for last however — the all-new SA-built Ford Ranger Raptor 2.0 BiT 10AT 4x4 is quite literally a steal at R786K complete with a with four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty and a six-year/90 000km service plan at 15 000km intervals.
Now that should be giving that vibrant Ranger aftermarket sleepless nights — how possibly could anyone top that?