Rebirth of Ford's Ranger Raptor
Back to show what a Raptor should really be.
Arriving with a three litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine mated to a 10-speed automatic, the new Raptor finally gets the heart the old model so desperately missed. The previous model felt as though the marketing team had struck gold by getting a fairly old design to be jacked up and smothered with off-road bits from the nearest outdoor explorer club. Powering it all was a confusing 2.0 diesel that didn't have jet thrusters or some trick tuning that would prove to every tribute band redneck from Reading that you didn't need American muscle to get your kicks. The momentum built like any large heavy pick-up and sold based on its looks and token gestures of off road ready wheels and suspension but few could really claim this was the little brother of the mighty F150 Raptor that those across the pond could choose. Sure, fuel is a lot cheaper in the quote-unquote free world, but the old Ranger Raptor just couldn't quite make a strong enough case for itself all things considered. None of this should have been a surprise, the Ranger had become an unexpected international success for Ford, who didn't even offer the Ranger to a home market until it was nearing the end of its shelf life. Sales remained and Australians, South Africans, and Brits seemed unable to get enough of the Ranger with several better equipped models and more expensive limited editions flying off dealer forecourts. The Raptor name gave a much needed boost to those final years of production and Ford appear to be set on continuing that gusto by bringing the newest Ranger to the UK exclusively as a Raptor model at launch before the real workman editions arrive. It is no secret that the next Ranger will be a close cousin of the new VW Amarok, the two companies already have several commercial vehicles sharing almost every component but lights and badges. Ford are clearly keen to cement a position in the highest profit segment of the pick-up truck market, making us all question if we could see an Amarok GTI appear. Don't ask the Germans, they will just giggle at such an idea, at least for now.
you get the feeling this is the one they wanted to build all along
What can we expect from the new Ranger Raptor apart from a more fitting engine note, more power, and a drastic leap in dynamics? Given the age of its predecessor when the final curtain call arrived, it is likely that the new Ranger will have a host of technology that is more integrated with the chassis and with costs spread across two manufacturers, there is likely to be a bump in overall quality and feel. Those that will be looking at the Ranger Raptor as a business purchase over the long standing Japanese competitors may want to wait until the regular Ranger arrives before making any hasty decision though. Those who currently have an Amarok may want to sample both the Ford and VW to see who has made the best of the shared chassis.
If you have been dreaming of a big American truck for years but just couldn't justify left hand drive, customs fees, and a very large footprint that would be a squeeze everywhere but the motorways, the new Raptor may have answered all your prayers. To get you hot under the collar Ford has told us the vehicle will be fitted with an anti-lag system (Like a Ford GT) to keep those turbos spinning for a few seconds when you lift off the throttle. The twin turbo V6 has spent hours having its exhaust tune refined to give just the right raucous note according to Ford. Add to this seven driving modes, Fox suspension, and a thick bash plate for the underbody. They're serious when they say they are proud of the new Raptor Ranger, you get the feeling this is the one they wanted to build all along but limitations of the old chassis meant that they have had to wait until now to really show what they can do.
Ford haven't released official pricing as we write but considering the current generation Raptor entered the market just shy of £50,000 and the special edition run out model commanded £55,000 we expect to see the new one begin around this figure with possible additional extras or upgrade packs available to take the price north of £60,000.
A note from Miles
I'm not even going to pretend I am not giddy at the thought of a proper Raptor on UK shores. Although the Ram TRX tops my list for most desirable pick-up with the F150 Raptor just behind it wouldn't be sensible to try and thread them through some of the skinny roads we have in the UK. The Raptor Ranger was a bit disappointing previously but this new one appears to finally deliver on the nameplate.