What’s the Ford Ranger Raptor like to drive?
Hot hatch speed in a four-door ute nudging 2.5 tonnes is always going to be an entertaining mix.
Throw in a set of shock absorbers that typically see duty in off-road racing vehicles and you have a vehicle more than capable of carving up traffic irrespective of the terrain.
Its on-road manners are better than any four-door ute in the class. From behind the wheel, drivers could easily forget they’re not driving an SUV.
The pitch and dive that often besets powerful high-riding vehicles when accelerating and braking is effectively quelled by the Fox shocks automatically maximising resistance at the front and rear in near-instant response to whichever pedal the driver is depressing.
Ford hasn’t quoted a 100km/h time but we expect the Ranger Raptor to be somewhere in the md six-second territory - about as fast as the just-retired Ford Fiesta ST hatch.
Yet the Ranger is also happy to lope along at 40km/h with the 10-speed automatic transmission keeping the engine in a high gear to improve fuel economy and ease of low-speed driving. There’s no disguising the Ranger is a big vehicle when parking, but that’s what the park assist software is there for.
The launch route didn’t give much opportunity to test the diff locks, despite navigating some decent slippery ascents.
That is a positive thing, indicating the Raptor will have the competence, clearance and articulation to tackle highly technical sections without needing much in the way of aftermarket accessories.
A 2.3mm front bash plate protects the Raptor from rocks, along with shields for the engine and transfer case. The likes of bull bars, rock rails and winches have been developed by ARB in conjunction with Ford.
There are seven drive modes, including the “Baja” mode that transforms the Raptor into a high-speed off-road racer.
The active exhaust flaps open to improve the V6 soundtrack and an “anti-lag” system keeps the turbochargers spinning for up to three seconds after the driver lifts off the throttle. This has the effect of maximising acceleration when the driver gets back on the accelerator.
Should I buy one?
If you are prepared to wait and can afford to drop $90,000 on a four-door ute, yes.
Ford isn’t quoting a delivery time for someone who orders a Raptor right now, but if you want a Ranger Wildtrak V6 turbodiesel, you’ll be in the queue until May, 2023. Based on that, expect the Raptor to take longer to deliver.
Once delivered, there’s no doubt it delivers the goods. The Ford Ranger Raptor is a unique proposition in the four-door ute segment and this version is only going to enhance that status.