If you think the Ford Ranger Raptor is just a Ranger with one of those body kits (you know, the kind you often see rolling around in the East Rand area), you’re wrong... it’s so much more. Cars.co.za travelled to Bangkok in Thailand for the global reveal to get in-depth insight into the new model.
1. It’s not about the engine
To quote Jamal Hameedi of Ford performance: "If you think a Raptor is about performance figures, then you don’t know what a Raptor is." The Ranger Raptor’s 2.0-litre bi-turbodiesel unit recently received much criticism in the social media because of the motor's supposedly mediocre peak outputs (157 kW and 500 Nm of torque). However, the engine is said to be more refined and has a more accessible power band, but the Raptor is all about capability -- off-road capability. It’s been built to withstand abuse, punishment and dirt-road hooliganism of the worst kind.
The @FordSouthAfrica Ranger Raptor has been officially revealed! Are you looking forward to its arrival in SA in 2019? Take a look at what this offroad beast has to offer - https://t.co/l6DZUxb02q pic.twitter.com/3knusKf8ZF— Cars.co.za (@CarsSouthAfrica) February 7, 2018
I can’t tell you how many times the Ford engineers at the event used the words "airborne" and "landing" in the same sentence, but it was a lot. Look at the Raptor's ground clearance figure – 283 mm, that’s 16 percent more than the current Ranger. What's more, the newcomer has gnarly off-road tyres and special suspension setup. Think of it as an off-road toy, that’s how Ford presented it at the reveal: it launched the Raptor over mounds like a Dakar rally car!
2. It runs Fox shocks, like a mountain bike
Well sort of, Fox is known for making suspension systems for mountain bikes and they have done extensive work in vehicles before, namely in Baja racing and truck racing in the United States. It also featured on the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – a special performance pick-up built for the US market.
The Raptor’s shocks were actually developed for racing and feature long travel and an internal bypass system that makes landing jumps less back-breaking, but doesn’t compromise on-road comfort by being cumbersome when cornering.
3. Technically it’s got 20 gears!
The Ranger Raptor still maintains its low range transfer case, so you get 10 gears in high range and 10 gears in low range. Ford engineered the 10-speed ‘box in the US for the F150 and notes that having so many gears improves efficiency and power accessibility.
It has been thoroughly tested for the Ranger Raptor in the harshest conditions, having to survive millions of testing kilometres of abuse in the dunes, desert and rocks. We have no real experience with this transmission, so we will reserve judgement until we’ve driven it.
4. There’s a special Baja mode
Baja mode is named after the famous American off-road race. It’s an iconic race that covers 1,000 km through California and Mexico. The special mode turns the Ranger Raptor into a race weapon, it’s like a Sport mode for a performance car, but with all the systems set up to go off-road as wildly as possible. It will pare back the traction control, disengage ABS, hold onto the gears for longer and shift down quicker.
5. It will be built in SA, but not soon
Ford South Africa spent around R3-billion last year upgrading its plant in Silverton so it can produce Ranger Raptors for our local market. It won’t be ready for 2018, but you can expect international launch drives to occur later this year, before eventually going on sale in 2019.
PREVIEW: New cars coming to SA in 2018
Pricing will be a hot topic of debate as many will see the Amarok V6 as a rival. Ford will need to punt the off-road credentials of the Raptor hard if the Blue Oval wants to turn buyers away from the Amarok. As an estimate and considering the amount of extra R&D that’s gone into the Raptor, the price could be around R750,000.