Race-proven Fox Live Valve Internal Bypass shock absorbers have been locally tuned to keep the Raptor’s wheels in contact with terra firma, or to soak up the impact when the four-door ute gets airborne.
The 2.5-inch units are said to be the most sophisticated dampers ever bolted onto a Ranger and use Teflon-infused oil to cut friction by around 50 per cent compared to the current Raptor.
A position-sensitive damping capability has let the Ford engineers set the loads according to what the Raptor is doing. As the shocks compress, different zones within the bypass system provide a pre-set degree of support according to the suspension travel. To stop severe bottom-outs in high-speed off-road conditions, the Fox dampers provide maximum resistance in the last 25 per cent of shock travel.
The chassis has also been overhauled to handle the extreme conditions the Raptor can cope with.
There are unique frames for the shock tower and rear shock bracket, along with reinforced sections in the C-pillar, load-box and spare wheel mount.
Underbody protection has also been improved, with a 2.3mm steel front bash plate, along with shields under the engine and transfer case.
There are also a pair of tow-rated recovery hooks on the front and back, ensuring owners can recover their Raptors no matter which side or end they’ve buried.
Seven drive modes
An advanced permanent four-wheel-drive system is new for the Raptor and enables owners to drive on the bitumen with all four wheels providing traction.
Dave Burn says the set-up makes the Raptor a “capable overlanding vehicle” despite its focus as a desert racer.
“Out of the box we’ve created an off-road vehicle that you don’t need to modify to get you where you need to go and back again safely,” Burn says.
There are now seven drive modes to choose from, with three aimed at on-road operation and four for off-road applications. Each setting adjusts the response of the engine, transmission anti-lock braking sensitivity, stability controls, suspension, exhaust valve setting, steering and throttle response
- Normal – designed for comfort and fuel efficiency.
- Sport – more responsive for “spirited” on-road driving
- Slippery – for more confident driving on slippery surfaces.
- Rock Crawl – optimises traction on loose surfaces.
- Sand – for use in soft sand and deep snow conditions.
- Mud/Ruts – for maximum grip off-road during launch and maintaining vehicle momentum.
- Baja – tuned for high-speed off-road performance with all systems set for maximum attack.
The new Ranger Raptor also boasts Trail Control, which Ford describes as “cruise control for off-roading”. The system operates at speeds below 32km/h and manages acceleration and braking as the driver concentrates on steering through difficult terrain.