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Ranger Raptor is a fully fledged performance car – Ford
Forthcoming Ranger Raptor 4x4 dual-cab ute can do it all, claims Ford
12 Feb 2018
By TIM ROBSON
ACCORDING to the team that built the Ford Ranger Raptor, the dual-cab 4x4 pick-up is a master of all trades, including both on-road and off-road performance.
Powered by a 157kW/500Nm 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine and sporting competition-level Fox suspension, the Ranger Raptor has been extensively tested in the United States and outback Australia to glowing internal reviews.
Ford Performance head engineer Jamal Hameedi told GoAuto that the Raptor was conceptualised differently to a typical off-road special that is more suited to steep, slow terrain.
Mr Hameedi was attending the annual Baja 1000, one of the world’s longest point-to-point desert races held on the Baja California peninsula in Mexico, when he first saw what would eventually morph into the US-market F-150 Raptor, then its Ranger sibling.
“I wasn’t from the west coast (of the United States), and the trucks that I had seen growing up were tall and narrow,” he told GoAuto at the reveal of the Raptor in Thailand. “And then I got to Mexico for the first time and it’s about these trucks that are low to the ground and wide, just hover-crafting over the ground at top speed.”
The Ranger Raptor was designed around what Americans call a ‘pre-runner’, mimicking the vehicle used by racers to reconnoitre, or pre-run, the Baja race ahead of the event.
“You have to go and ‘recce’ the course in a non-racing car, but you use a very fast, very capable car so that you can get a feel for your racecar, and how fast you can go,” said Mr Hameedi.
The chief program engineer of the Ranger Raptor program, Damien Ross, said the vehicle also has a luxury bent to go with its off-road performance.
“It’s like a luxury car on the road, so you can do long journeys with your family,” he said. “It’s got a great diesel with power and torque, but it’s a really good diesel in terms of mileage, so you'll be able to get there, you'll be able to go off road and not be looking at your fuel gauge for the day.”
The Raptor’s long-travel suspension also has the benefit of reducing fatigue, said Mr Ross.
“You can really cover three or four times the distance when you’re going off road and at the other end you’ll feel refreshed,” he said. “Even when we were on the road (in Alice Springs testing prototypes), everybody wanted to drive the vehicle back home. Nobody wanted any of the other vehicles.”
The interior of the Ranger Raptor reveal car – only a single hand-built example currently exists – sported a leather interior with detailed stitching and heavily bolstered front leather/suede appointed seats.
Ford vice-president of product development for Asia-Pacific, Trevor Worthington, said that the current Ranger offered both sporting and luxury elements, and that the Raptor maximises both of these traits.
“The combination of the Ford Performance DNA, and the fundamental capability of what we’ve been able to put in the truck, at last means there’s a sports version that has credibility,” he said, “but it’s not so uncomfortable to use in everyday use, not so compromised that no one would ever buy it.”
Mr Worthington said he believed that the Ranger Raptor has the credentials to rank it amongst some of Ford’s most accomplished vehicles.
“I think we only know how to do things one way, and that is to do it properly.
And if you’re going to do a sports truck, it, to some extent, has no limit in terms of what it can achieve. What the (F-150) Raptor has done over the last number of years has set the benchmark for what these kind of trucks are, straight out of the factory. Our goal with this truck was to absolutely replicate exactly what the other Raptor has achieved.
“We are the little brother to the big Raptor, and so this thing doesn’t make any apologies. It meets all the Ford Performance DNA, sits next to GT350s and GTs and the big Raptor. It’s a fully-fledged member of the Ford Performance family. And that means something.”
The Ranger Raptor will launch in Australia half-way through 2018, with pricing and final specs yet to be announced.
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