First drive review: Ford Ranger Raptor

  • FORD RANGER RAPTOR
  • Price range: $89,990 (Estimated Net Car cost: $5125)
  • Powertrains: 3.0 liter twin-turbo petrol V6 with 292kW/583Nm, 11.5L/100km and 262g/km CO2 (WLTP), 10-speed automatic transmission, AWD.
  • body style: Double taxi.
  • For sale: Now.

In days of increasing awareness of the impact our choices have on the planet we live on, it may seem unwise to release a high-performance ute with nearly twice the power it replaces. But, guys, the Ford Ranger Raptor is great…

Make me an instant expert: what do I need to know?

Ford has released the latest Raptor version of the popular Ranger ute.  And that's good.

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Ford has released the latest Raptor version of the popular Ranger ute. And that’s good.

When Ford first released the Raptor version of the Ranger ute, it surprised everyone with how good it was – its ride and handling on the road literally crushed every other vehicle off the road, where it put them all the more ashamed of its excellent performance.

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But there are still complaints that it doesn’t have a powerful enough engine, despite the new 157kW 2.0-liter four-cylinder biturbo diesel being the most powerful engine in the Ranger lineup, and exclusive to the Raptor. Well, to begin with, at least.

The Raptor's interior features everything you'd expect from a high-performance sports car.  i mean u...

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The Raptor’s interior features everything you’d expect from a high-performance sports car. i mean u…

But even though the first-generation Raptor was a huge success for Ford, the company is still listening to criticism and now the new Raptor pumps out almost twice the power of a 3.0-liter turbo V6 – that’s 292kW for you – and has stepped up its game in almost every other area as well.

While the new Ranger, and later, the Raptor, use the same T6 platform as the previous ute, extensive tweaks set it apart further from its bog standard Ranger brethren. While the front wheels have been moved forward by 50mm and the rear suspension moved off the chassis rails on the Ranger chassis, the Raptor goes a step further with extra reinforcement for the c-pillar, different shock mounts, and high-strength steel plates to protect the bit underneath.

The undeniable rock star feature of the last generation Raptor is its truly awesome dampers specially designed for the Raptor (both F-150 and Ranger) by Fox Racing Shox and packing 46.6mm front and rear pistons featuring internal bypass with a number of “zones”. ” different that progressively manages the shock power and makes him an absolute champion both on and off the road at any speed.

Trying his best to disguise himself with mud, to keep the 'Code Orange' paint shining.

Damien O’Carroll/Stuff

Trying his best to disguise himself with mud, to keep the ‘Code Orange’ paint shining.

But Ford and Fox decided to step things up even further this time by using ‘live valve technology’ that monitors driver and vehicle input 500 times per second, making adjustments to damping in real-time. The system is linked to the Raptor’s seven selectable driving modes, and has been developed to provide better on-road comfort and off-road driving quality at all speeds.

And boy, did it work well…

Where do you drive it?

The most impressive thing about the new Raptor is how much better it is than the old one, which is still a very good thing.

Damien O’Carroll/Stuff

The most impressive thing about the new Raptor is how much better it is than the old one, which is still a very good thing.

At a winery. Not really.

Ford Australia created a high-speed off-road track for us to beat the Raptor on the grounds of the Sirromet Wines winery in Mount Cotton, just outside Brisbane, as well as a lower-speed and more challenging off-road track and a bit of road driving thrown in for good measure.

We hit the high-speed off-road laps first, but in the last-gen Raptor, both for sighting laps and comparison purposes. The old Raptor remains a very impressive machine, with the truly excellent Fox Racing suspension making it an absolute blast to throw around rough trails. But while it was still a very impressive thing, what happened next just ruined it…

With 292kW of power, this is what the Raptor does best.

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With 292kW of power, this is what the Raptor does best.

What first strikes you about the new Raptor is its striking presence compared to the old car. It’s actually not much bigger, but the squarer styling and bolder grille make the old one look a little shy and retired in comparison. Then you turn it on and nail the throttle and it’s all forgotten.

Everything happens a lot faster in a car at twice the power of the previous one, and the Raptor is no exception, darting off the line with some serious aggression and a furious roar of the V6 (when you put it into ‘Steel’ mode, that is, and the Raptor with gently reminds you not to be used on the street, without adding “unless you REALLY want to be an antisocial jerk”…).

And, yes, the suspension is even more spectacular than before. Driving at full speed across very bumpy, gravel mud/gravel tracks is exactly what the Raptor was designed for, and there’s no need to slow anything down this side of the wall. Everything else, the Raptor just crushes it and keeps going. Quickly.

The Raptor also happens to be very talented at speeding slowly off the highway.

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The Raptor also happens to be very talented at speeding slowly off the highway.

Did I mention it’s fast? I’ve probably done it once or twice, but it serves to mention it again, because the Raptor’s twin-turbo V6 petrol engine is a really fun thing filled with power and torque. It’s also super smooth and tame when you don’t need all that crazy power, making it super fun to stroll around town when you go to scrape off the mud at the local car wash after a day of fun.

And you don’t have to worry about 292kW power meaning an off-road light switch either, as the drive mode does a great job of dampening power delivery in off-road mode, while sharpening it well for on-road driving.

That’s where the suspension shines too, with a smooth and comfortable ride, and some very sharp handling on offer too.

During our short highway rides, the Raptor was impressed with its ride comfort and precise, accurate steering, while the mischievous little moment of dropping the permanent AWD system to 2H at a roundabout quickly proved that it would happily relieve an itch that had gone away no matter what. etched in Ford fans since the days of the Falcon XR8 and XR6 Turbo. I won’t say much more about it, however…

What stands out the most?

Yes, the sweet jump is still the core of the existence of the Raptor.

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Yes, the sweet jump is still the core of the existence of the Raptor.

It sounds hard to say this, but there really isn’t a single feature of the Raptor that stands out – the whole package is so convincing that whenever you thought the angry engine was overriding, the ride would blow your mind. and change your mind.

Then the sharp and precise on-road handling will have you giggling like an excited child. Then the off-road capabilities will slap you in the face and scream “Remember me? I’m awesome too!” It just keeps on giving…

But it’s really Fox Racing’s spectacular surprise that it’s the heroes here – the near-supernatural abilities that the Raptor portrays both on and off the road should be impossible. But is.

Is the Raptor the spiritual successor to the much-loved Falcon XR8 and XR6 Turbo?  Maybe, but only with so much more off-road capability.

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Is the Raptor the spiritual successor to the much-loved Falcon XR8 and XR6 Turbo? Maybe, but only with so much more off-road capability.

Why did I buy it?

Because it’s a lot of fun to drive both on the road and off the road. It has most of the practicality of a normal ute (like the last model, the towing and load-down capacity on the standard Ranger, at 2500kg and 750kg respectively), off-road capability superior to a serious 4×4 and, apparently a direct contrast to it, handling and sports car performance on the road.

Why didn’t I buy it?

Since you really need the ute to work and that lower load and towing capacity won’t work. Or the whole idea of ​​utes makes you cringe in every way, be it their size or their impact on the environment. The fast and aggressive ones emitting 262g/km CO2 definitely won’t make you feel any better about them…

Then, of course, there’s the Clean Car elephant in the room – you’ll be paying a $5175 fine on the $89,990 asking price for the Raptor, making it very close to breaking the $100,000 magic figure, especially if you want to throw in some picks too…

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