Ford Ranger Raptor (2019 – )

Advantages:

  • Great for off-road driving performance

  • Comfortable

  • Excellent handling

Counter:

  • Very expensive to buy and tax

  • Not very economical

  • Low cargo capacity

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introduction

If you’re not familiar with the Raptor, let us tell you.

The Ranger is, first and foremost, a pick-up truck. While it’s smaller than America’s famous and massively massive F-150 Lightning that Ford also made, it’s also no slouch and takes inspiration from its oversized cousin.

The Raptor is a ‘super’ version (yes, such a thing exists) in the same way that the Honda Civic has the Type-R and Ford itself has the ST moniker for its street cars.

So, think of it as the hot hatch of the… er… pick-up truck.

It features a double cabin (spoke truck for four doors), so it can accommodate five passengers. And, although we’d say it’s “smaller”, at 5,258mm, it’s 100mm or so longer than the Range Rover with its long wheelbase.

You also get a more sophisticated suspension with racing shock absorbers, large 33-inch tires (up on 17-inch rims), which increase ride height by five centimeters, and a 10-speed automatic gearbox taken from the Mustang.

Granted, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as the full list of upgrades over the standard Ranger is so extensive that Ford will be making a new version by the time you read it.
Disappointingly, the one thing that didn’t get an upgrade was the engine. Instead, it has the same 2.0-liter turbodiesel as the rest of the lineup, producing 213PS, which will disappoint those looking to drive through the Nevada (or Cumbria) deserts in a thumping V8.

Zero to 62mph is achieved in 10.5 seconds.

The Raptor comes in white by default, but red, dark gray, black, and blue are also available for the extra cash, while you also get a premium interior.

On the road

Ford Ranger Raptor (2022 - )

Show

Diesel seems to be an odd engine choice. Yes, it’s all about fuel economy and environmental friendliness these days. But the Raptor would be bought by the so-called ‘gearheads’ who really wanted a pick-up truck – and who were American at that. So they’re going to want a big engine regardless of whether it’s four miles to the gallon.

As a powertrain, the diesel isn’t bad. It doesn’t sound that great (some diesels do), but it’s a bi-turbo, with a smaller turbocharger for low revs grunts and a larger one for higher revs.

It accelerates well but doesn’t run like a muscle car. And, as you drive, it makes you feel like something is missing (like a few extra cylinders).

You’d imagine the 10-speed auto would be constantly shifting, and, to some extent, it is. But it’s smooth and silky – plus, it has a manual mode, which you might want to try now and then.

Top speed is 112mph, that’s okay. We didn’t expect it to hit 200mph or even 155mph, but we imagine some Texans might be disappointed by this.

Ford Ranger Raptor (2022 - )

Travel Handling

In fact, measuring the Raptor by its on-road capabilities is incorrect. This bike is made for rough things – driving in the desert rather than on the roads that pass through it.

To get there, on-road travel is the Raptor’s hallmark. It’s very convenient. Of course, this helps when your tire walls are made like a monster truck, but the endless amount of suspension, damper, and spring modifications Ford made on the Raptor version means it’s absorbent.

And this bodes well when it comes to handling rough stuff. The chassis is well tuned, and, despite the lack of power from the engine, is still responsive enough to make good progress.

You can switch between two-wheel and four-wheel drive, plus four-wheel drive with a low-range gearbox for maximum off-road grip. Meanwhile, hill descent control is also included for navigating rocky inclines.
There are six other driving modes depending on what surface you are on. Normal, Sports, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Sand, Rocks – and our personal favourite, Steel mode. This latter setting is named after Mexico’s annual Baja 1000 off-road race – which maximizes your off-road speed if you decide to hit the beach – or a similar place.

It’s amazing off-road, and on the road, the handling is pretty good too.

Even though the tires are spongy, the body roll in corners is well controlled. But the steering isn’t great, with a limited amount of feedback, while the brakes are less pronounced, although they work well.

Overall, this is arguably the best handling pick-up you can buy in all scenarios.

Ford Ranger Raptor (2022 - )

styling

All pick-up trucks tend to look pretty much the same, but while the standard Ranger gets a simpler look, the Raptor gets a makeover.

The blackened grille has large American ‘FORD’ inscription (something you don’t get on the standard Rangers, simpler), and it has a lot more presence than its non-Raptor sibling in range.

You also get a ‘RAPTOR’ sticker on the side, which brings out your inner child as it reminds you of the signature logo from the opening titles of 1990s superhero cartoons.

In the car

Ford Ranger Raptor (2022 - )

Behind the Wheel

Thanks to its elevated driving position, you can get a good view of the road ahead – and it’s so wide that you’ll be grateful for that viewing angle.

We wish the interior looked a little more utilitarian, but it looks like any other Ford road car.

Nothing special – but quite functional and fun, if a little out of date. You get an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with the SatNav. However, you do get an analog dial, unlike most of the Ford lineup, which is gradually becoming digital. You, at least, get a digital readout for the travel computer.

You also get heated electronically foldable mirrors, heated windshield, privacy glass, keyless entry and start, LED headlights, daytime running lights and windshield wipers with rain sensor.

The soft-touch top covers the dashboard, but other than that, it’s made of hard plastic. We usually criticize the latter, but, in a pick-up truck, that’s understandable considering it’s likely to be penalized more than your average family car.

Ford Ranger Raptor (2022 - )

Space & Practicality

There is a fair amount of space in the cabin.

Getting comfortable is simple enough, while the gym chair is absorbent.

Legroom in the second row isn’t great, but there’s plenty of headroom. You can fit three adults in the back, but only if they don’t mind being squeezed together.

Without such a boot, cargo capacity is measured in kilos, not liters. Only 620kg on the Raptor, which is very low. Other Ranger variants can manage over 1,000 kilograms.

At least it can tow up to 2,500 kg, but other variants can hold up to 3,500 kg.

Ownership

Ford Ranger Raptor (2022 - )

Running Cost

Fuel economy is 31.7mpg, which isn’t great for something that has a 2.0 liter diesel in it.

It also produces 233g/km CO2, which isn’t fantastic either.

And the bad news kept coming because it cost more than fifty thousand dollars to buy it.

And, if you’re thinking, ‘but I can get a corporate car tax at a low rate because it would qualify as a light commercial vehicle’… no. It must have a load capacity of 1,040kg or higher.

At 620kg, that’s a long way.

Ford Ranger Raptor (2022 - )

Quality & Reliability

Because this is a dedicated vehicle, Ranger is generally not featured in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys.

Historically, reliability has not been Ford’s advantage in recent years. However, the newer car models seem to be bucking the trend. So, we can’t do much other than hope the Ranger Raptor can do well.

You’ll get a three year warranty, 60,000 miles as standard. Ford also offers an extended warranty, but its three-year base offer is lower than many of its challengers.

Ford Ranger Raptor (2022 - )

Safety security

The Ford Ranger hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP since 2012. But back then it was rated five stars and scored 96 percent for adult passengers, 86 percent for children and 71 percent for safety assistance.

Of course, a lot has changed in ten years, so we’ll be interested to see how well it performs if retested today.
The Raptor still has to be safer, because thanks to everything Ford has done with the chassis and suspension, it’s more powerful than the standard Ranger.

You also get lane guard assistance, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection and electronic stability control, plus seven airbags and a rearview camera.

Summary

Ford Ranger Raptor (2022 - )

It’s hard to make a case for the Ford Ranger Raptor as a reasonable purchase.

The Raptor’s low cargo capacity and reduced towing capability mean that, as a commercial vehicle, it doesn’t actually run. But, as a family vehicle, few people would chase a pick-up truck.

Expensive to buy and tax and the whole point of the Raptor is that it’s the king of off-roading. So even if you want a pick-up truck, there’s no point in owning a Raptor unless you’re going to be doing really rough stuff a lot.

This is a vehicle for the enthusiast, then. Someone who wants to enjoy themselves and doesn’t care about anything else. Which makes the choice of machines even more curious.

Thankfully, there’s a new Ranger – and, with it, a new Raptor – coming soon, with a 3.0-liter V6 petrol, a refreshed look, and an overhauled interior design.

What we can say is that this Raptor is full of character and because it’s a special vehicle, it’s undeniably lovable.

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