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Customers ordering Ford Ranger Raptor sight unseen

Philoso-Raptor: Ford Australia has yet to confirm its Ranger Raptor powerplant, but recent rumours are pointing to a new twin-turbo diesel unit instead of the mooted 3.5-litre turbo-petrol V6.

Ford taking pre-orders for flagship Ranger Ranger despite no confirmed details

5 Oct 2017

FORD Australia is yet to confirm any powertrain or pricing details on its forthcoming flagship Ranger Raptor pick-up, but customers are undeterred and already heading to dealerships to place pre-orders.

Speaking to GoAuto at the 2017 Driving Skills for Life launch, Ford Australia president and CEO Graeme Whickman said interest in its latest hero model has been exceptional since the announcement that the Ranger Raptor would go into production via a teaser video released in September.

“It was crazy because we had people who turned up and put money down on vehicles, who don’t know the powertrain, they don’t know the sheet metal, they don’t know the interior, they don’t know anything other than what they saw in that video,” he said.

“We didn’t put that video out with the view to generate pre-orders, but it created so much excitement that people came to dealerships to say ‘I want to be on that list, here is some money’ and they don’t know the price.”

Pricing is expected to come in at around $80,000 before on-road costs, putting it roughly $20,000 upstream of the current range-topping Ranger Wildtrak and making it the most expensive offering in Ford Australia’s product stable.

Although Mr Whickman revealed only a “handful” of people have put their money down for the Raptor, it still remains to be seen what engine will power the off-road performance halo.

Initially thought to be the same 336kW/691Nm twin-turbo 3.5-litre EcoBoost petrol V6 found under the bonnet of its F-150 Raptor US cousin, recent reports suggest the Ranger Raptor will lob with a high-performing 2.0-litre twin-turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine.

The current Ranger flagship is topped by the Wildtrak and its 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five-cylinder engine, which the new powerplant is expected to easily exceed in Raptor guise.

However, it remains unclear if the Ranger Raptor will be able to outgun the incoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class X350d and its potent 190kW/550Nm for the most-powerful Australian market one-tonne pick-up crown.

Instead, Mr Whickman revealed Ford’s new Ranger flagship will adopt a holistic approach and deliver a complete vehicle package in place of just gunning for the most-powerful ute title.

“Being the most powerful is not necessarily the crown you want to have, you want to have the best vehicle,” he said. “And the best vehicle is a combination of its driveline, its powertrain, its dynamics, its interior, its visual appeal, it’s all that.

“I understand why people would talk about that, I think it’s important but it’s not the most important thing.”

The Raptor will likely share the same equipment levels as its Wildtrak sibling, including power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, reversing camera and front parking sensors, but gain bespoke additions such as bigger wheels, a beefed-up bodykit, updated infotainment system and autonomous emergency braking as standard.

Ford is remaining tight-lipped on any and all Raptor details, instead opting for a drip-feed approach to disseminating information on the model expected to launch by mid-2018 alongside a facelifted Ranger line-up.

Images of the Raptor test mule however, have been circulating since as early as March this year and when asked if these leaks forced Ford’s hand in revealing development of the flagship Ranger, Mr Whickman said the official reveal “was part of a plan”.

“You know as a company, it doesn’t have to be automotive, but any company that’s got a product cycle that’s at a certain duration makes decisions around when they’re willing to talk about things and at what level of specificity,” he said.

“We’d known there had been a lot of speculation and we thought it was a cool and interesting time to say, without giving any level of specificity, ‘yeah something is coming’.

“And we had an unbelievable reaction in terms of the number of people viewing the clip, as an example, which just blew our mind.

“It’s a great testimony to the levels of interest in that product, and the derivatives of that product, so it was kind of cool, it was part of a plan.”

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