This second generation of the Ranger Raptor raises the bar for off-road capability, with pickup’s performance enhanced and overhauled, with updates to the chassis, bodywork, suspension, engines, interior and gearbox, amongst others.
Dave Burn, Ford Performance chief programme engineer for Ranger Raptor said:
“We’ve really focused on delivering a genuine performance truck with the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor, it’s significantly faster, looks incredible, is packed with new features, and it’s the toughest Ranger we’ve ever made.”
While the current Raptor has been criticised in some quarters for being underpowered, it won’t be a complaint the new model receives. The twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 engine, petrol powered rather than diesel, produces 288hp of power and 491Nm of torque and promises impressive performance. Ford’s Ranger Raptor program supervisor, Justin Capicchiano, explained that Raptor 'isn’t just fast compared to other midsized trucks. It’s fast, period. It’s hot hatch fast.'
The 288hp is sent through a 10-speed automatic gearbox that has been calibrated specifically for the Ranger Raptor. Add in the race-bred anti-lag system to the turbochargers - a system that keeps the turbos spinning for a short while after the throttle is released, holding on to some power before diverting it back to the engine next time the driver requires acceleration - and you have a pickup truck that will keep the smile plastered on your face, both on- and off-road.
Along with improved engine performance, Ford also overhauled the suspension system, with Fox 2.5-inch Live Valve dampers. These feature cutting-edge control technology offering position-sensitive damping capability and are the most sophisticated ever fitted to Ranger Raptor. Lightweight aluminium upper and lower control arms and a refined Watts link rear end, replacing the rear leaf springs from the regular Ranger, offer more control over rough terrain and improved vehicle stability.
“The suspension upgrades in the Ranger Raptor make the most of the new Fox Live Valve dampers. The suspension adapts in real-time to enable exceptional on-road body control while absorbing corrugations and bigger ruts off-road with ease, ensuring maximum control and performance,”
There are seven driving modes to choose from, allowing drivers to select the optimum dynamics for any given situation. Normal, Slippery, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl are modes you might expect to see and are self-explanatory. These are joined by Sport and Quiet modes - also doing what you might expect, with Sport amping up the exhaust note from the active valve twin exhaust system, and Quiet doing the exact opposite.
The final mode, Baja, creates the most striking exhaust profile in both volume and note, the exhaust behaving more like a straight-through system. This is intended for off-road use only, but a steering wheel-mounted switch allows the engine note to be adjusted as you drive, should you find yourself needing immediate aural gratification.
The Ranger’s chassis has also undergone improvements since the previous iteration. The Raptor has some specific mount and reinforcement changes, including the C-pillar, front bash plate and engine under shield, load box and spare wheel, as well as unique frames for the jounce bumper, shock tower and rear shock bracket, adding extra strength to allow the Raptor to handle the most punishing off-road conditions.
An advanced full-time four-wheel-drive system with an all-new electronically-controlled on-demand two-speed transfer case, combined with front and rear locking differentials – a valuable feature for hardcore off-road enthusiasts - will ensure that the new Ranger Raptor has even greater performance than its predecessor, which was never going to struggle in difficult terrain.
The changes are evident on the surface too, with flared wheel arches emphasising the pickup’s width, bold ‘FORD’ lettering on the grille and the Raptor-specific tough separate bumper adding more visual muscle. There are muscular 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Raptor-exclusive BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tyres, adding to the rugged stance.
At the rear, LED tail lights provide a styling link to the front, while the rear bumper features an integrated step and towbar that is tucked up high to avoid compromising the departure angle.
In the cabin, all-new sports seats - allegedly inspired by those in the F-22 Raptor military jet - are fitted, to increase comfort and offer improved support during high-speed cornering. Code Orange accents throughout pull together the whole Ranger Raptor look, while the rest of the cabin follows the new Ranger specification, featuring a 12.0-inch infotainment screen mounted vertically in the centre of the dashboard and a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster. Ford’s latest Sync 4 infotainment software is in place, which allows for wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and a 10-speaker B&O sound system is fitted too.
The Ford Ranger Raptor will arrive in Europe late in the Summer, with the first deliveries expected towards the end of the year, ahead of the regular Ford Ranger’s appearance in 2023.
“While Ranger Raptor was inspired by desert racers, it’s also a supremely capable overlanding vehicle. Out of the box we’ve created an off-road vehicle that you don’t need to modify to get you where you need to go and back again safely, we knew that customers would expect improved performance with the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor, but I’m not sure they’re really expecting the enormous leap we’ve made.
It’s a seriously fun truck to drive and I think the raw performance is going to blow them away.”
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