Ford's newest performance pick-up is tailor-made for high-speed off-road action across a variety of terrains, with Fox racing shocks, impressive ground clearance, and a 2.0-liter biturbo diesel engine with a 10-speed paddle-shift gearbox. And despite the fact it's got a Baja mode, it's not coming to the US yet.
Looking like an athletic baby brother to the F150 Raptor, and built off the midsize Ranger platform, Ford's latest off-road masterpiece was unveiled yesterday in Thailand, where it'll be manufactured. The Ranger Raptor is a twin-cab sports truck focused on serious speed in the rough stuff. It'll debut as the only factory-built performance truck in the Asia-Pacific region.
Chunky, wide wheel arches allow it to fit in fat, 17-inch rims, 285/70 R17 all-terrain tires, beefy 332-mm (13 inch) brake rotors and a set of race-bred 46.6 mm (1.83 inch) Fox Racing Shox front and rear. "Position sensitive damping" softens the ride in the middle of the suspension travel for road comfort, and firms things up at the upper and lower extremes for when this machine is belting through the sand dunes or spending time airborne. And a Watt's linkage rear suspension design with coilover springs builds lateral stability for the rear axle in the really gnarly stuff.
The engine, a 2-liter diesel developing 210 horses and 369 pound-feet, uses two turbos to get the job done. At low engine speeds, both the large, low pressure turbo and the smaller high pressure one operate in series to provide quick, responsive power. As the revs come up, a valve bypasses the high-pressure turbo, and the lower one takes over completely for more horsepower.
The power output is well down on the 450-horsepower F150 Raptor, but then the F150 weighs 5525 lbs (2506 kg), and the Ranger Raptor should be considerably lighter. It's also going to guzzle far less juice. To help squeeze the power out most efficiently, it runs a 10-speed gearbox with close ratios. And while it's an intelligently programmed auto, there's a set of paddles ready for you to take over shifting at any time.
There's Normal and Sport modes for on-road use, plus four extra modes for off-roading. Grass/Gravel/Snow mode is designed to reduce the possibility of wheel slip. Mud/Sand mode aims for maximum torque and traction to keep momentum going in the really goopy stuff. Rock mode aims for smoothness and controllability getting the thing over highly uneven and unreliable surfaces.
And then there's Baja mode, named for the famous Baja 1000 desert race. This mode is designed for high-speed dune running, allowing a lot of slide at the wheels under power and braking, and holding gears longer for flat-out performance.
In terms of electronics, it gets some good gear, from Ford's SYNC 3 voice command system, to stability control, roll mitigation, trailer sway control, hill start assist, hill descent control, load adaptive control, electric power-assisted steering, lane keep assist and rollover mitigation. The sat-nav system lets you drop "breadcrumbs" when you're out in the bush, to help make sure you can't get lost. There's keyless entry, remote start and a nice looking interior featuring swathes of "technical suede" for grip on the seats.
As far as off-road practicalities go, apart from the beastly suspension there's LED fog lamps, recovery hooks front and rear, and a 1560 x 1743mm (61.4 x 68.6 in) rear tray with an easy-lift tailgate.
The underlying Ranger chassis has been reworked and strengthened with high strength, low allow steel, and there's 2.3mm steel bashplates underneath to protect the guts of the thing. Ground clearance is increased to 283 mm (11.1 inches), with an approach angle of 32.5°, a ramp over angle of 24°, and a departure angle of 24° to handle harsh changes in gradient.
The Ford team is fired up: "We are so excited and proud to unleash this vehicle to the public, driving it really makes you feel like a hero," said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance. "It is amazing to enable this level of performance and create a vehicle that can provide off-road enthusiasts such an adrenaline rush. It really is like a motocross bike, snowmobile and an ATV rolled up into a pickup truck – it's an incredible, awesome experience!"
The Ranger Raptor will be rolling out later this year in the Asia-Pacific region. No information is available yet on pricing, or whether it will eventually make its way to American shores, but it looks to us like a sure-fire hit wherever it does make it into showrooms.