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Ford Everest Raptor ‘not impossible’, but unlikely

Express van: A hotted up Everest is possible, says Ford Performance, but it is unlikely.

Ranger Raptor could, in theory, spawn Ford SUV version, but it will be costly

Ford logo13 Feb 2018

FORD Performance has not closed the door on the idea of a Raptor version of Ford’s Ranger-based Everest SUV, however the chances of it coming to life are slim.

Previewed in Thailand last week, the Ranger Raptor 4x4 dual-cab ute sports bespoke rear suspension and a new powertrain consisting of a 157kW/500Nm 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel and 10-speed automatic transmission combination.

It also features a live rear axle suspended by Fox shocks and long-travel springs, all controlled by a dual-arm Watt’s linkage set-up.

The Everest SUV shares largely the same underpinnings as the T6 Ranger, including a coil-sprung rear axle with a single-sided Watt’s linkage bar attached, which, in theory. makes the notion of transplanting the mechanicals an easier task.

The Everest, however, does not measure up in a few other key areas, according to Ford Performance chief engineer Jamal Hameedi.

Mr Hameedi outlined the key issues that currently stand in the way of an Everest Raptor to Australian journalists, explaining that the width of the Raptor – overall it is 330mm wider than the stock Ranger, with 150mm of extra front and rear track – is the biggest stumbling block.

“There’s no reason (we can’t),” he said. “To do an SUV is a little more difficult because you have to figure out how to deal with the rear suspension in the form of a body-side outer. It’s not just a box outer. So that poses a unique challenge in packaging that.”

A pick-up’s rear tray – or box – is not part of the vehicle’s bodyside construction, he explained, whereas the bodyside of the Raptor is welded together to form a large single structure that is then welded to rails on the chassis.

Mr Hameedi said that the additional width in the rear end would require considerable reworking of the body panels to suit.

“Doing it in the form of an SUV on the front is easy,” he said. “Because you have the wide track, you have to have the long travel suspension, on the back it’s a little more challenging.”

While the Everest and the Raptor share similar rear axle architecture, the Raptor has additional strengthening around the shock mounting points, as well as an additional Watt’s linkage bracket on the left as well as the right. The front shock towers have also been strengthened, along with the chassis rails themselves.

Mr Hameedi did not completely dismiss the notion of an Everest Raptor.

“Well, it would be a lot of money and a lot of development. Not impossible, though,” he said.

He did agree that the notion of styling queues from the Raptor could be used to create bodykits to apply to other vehicles in the line, but not everything would necessarily translate.

“We have STs and ST-Lines now, which is more the appearance part of an ST,” he said. “The difference in off-road is that all of the looks are not really aesthetic they’re all functional. All of that function happens to look beautiful, and that’s the appeal of it. So you can’t extract the function from the aesthetic. They go hand-in-hand.”

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