Is the Ford Ranger Raptor worth fifty thousand?

Think no one will pay nearly fifty thousand pounds for a Ford? Think again. And it’s not just the Mustang Bullitt that does good business with British Ford. The high-priced Ranger Raptor is selling well in a sub-segment where even Mercedes-Benz hasn’t been able to gain traction.

The Raptor lists at GBP47,874 but you can push the specs closer to the top fifty mark. The model that was tested came with for example GBP720 worth of ‘Ford Performance Blue’ paint and looked better for that too. While the price sounds high for what is essentially a commercial vehicle built in a low-cost country, the range-topper Ranger has the magic wand of the latest tech, safety, and luxury gear.

Standard equipment includes all-terrain tires, 150mm wider track, unique bumper, alloy side steps, Fox Pro shock absorbers (you can see how well it performs on gravel), four tow hooks, load box roller shutter, soft tailgate cover , Ford’s Sync 3 system with eight-inch display, heated windshield and custom suede trim plus blue and red interior details.

The allure of the Raptor sub-brand makes people forget any thoughts they might have about Ford not being on par with the German brand. The Mercedes X-Class is the best example. Theoretically there might be an AMG equivalent but Daimler doesn’t seem to believe it will sell. So what makes the Raptor special? It should definitely start with a name, and appearance. There are decals on the sides and tailgate, while the brutal-looking grille with FORD in large font also helps.

One global Ranger but no Raptor for the US

The locally made North American Ranger didn’t come with a diesel option so the only Raptors available there were the originals: a wider and taller F-150, and a turbo-powered V6. For all the talk about leveraging the Mustang name to create demand for expensive electric SUVs (that’s still twelve months away), Ford lost the trick by not creating the petrol Ranger Raptor for the US and other regional markets.

One of the problems was that the company wanted to make sure that the smaller of its two main pick-ups didn’t challenge the F-150 Raptor. Although it’s hard to think of the 5,362mm-long Ranger (in the form of a double cab) as a big vehicle. It’s almost too long for the UK and the 2,180mm width could also be a problem now and then. Ironically, the owner of this tough looking vehicle must treat it with extra care on narrow streets. And then there’s the unexpected disappearance of the parking sensor for the front end. That’s the only thing that makes me question the premium price.

European class leader

The class in which the Ranger competes contains many vehicles: from the Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200/Triton to the Nissan Navara, Volkswagen Amarok and of course the X-Class. Ever seen a Renault Alaskan? I also. It is not offered in RHD form but even in France it is rare. Neither of these are available in the world’s number one pick-up market. In contrast, the Toyota Tacoma, Jeep Gladiator plus the GM Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon and to a lesser extent the vintage Nissan Frontier are other big sellers in the US.

The Federalized Ranger, which has several exterior differences, was revealed at the Detroit auto show in January 2018. Series production began at Wayne (Michigan Assembly) in October last year, the truck is new for the 2019 model year. Four-door SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations are available and there are also FX4 Off-Road Package. All Rangers for the US and Canada are powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, standard with a ten-speed automatic gearbox. Both rear-wheel and four-wheel drive are offered.

The Ranger is claimed by Ford of Europe as the number one model in 50 regional market segments, something Daimler is envious of. The X-Class, which launched with great fanfare, has yet to find much success in the model’s key markets of Europe, Australasia and southern Africa, all where Ford has done very well. Rumors even claim that a Nissan Mercedes-based pick-up will be dropped, plus its new CEO wants to loosen ties with the RNM Alliance.

Nine years young and some have not left

Ford’s global pick-up has been in its current generation since October 2010, the public saw it for the first time with the equally new Mazda BT-50 twin at the Sydney motor show, although production only started in mid-2011. This model introduces the T6 architecture. This separate chassis platform has already been used by the Endeavor/Everest SUV and will also be the basis of the never-before-seen Bronco, another SUV that will be mainly aimed at North America.

The Ranger will be produced in Thailand, South Africa and Argentina, Ford said at the vehicle’s launch. Since then, FTM, which is Ford’s own Thailand plant as opposed to Ford-Mazda’s AutoAlliance facility, has also gained production. Both facilities are located in Rayong. Knock down assembly started in Nigeria two years ago, the Lagos site has an annual capacity of 20,000 vehicles. Little by little, this vehicle has become a model that is widely made on various continents.

The successors to the Ranger as well as the future VW Amarok will be T6 based too when they appear in maybe three years time: Mazda has been dropped as Ford’s partner, replaced by Volkswagen. The Japanese company instead asked Isuzu to supply it with a Thai-made replacement for the BT-50.

A petrol engine too for the next Raptor?

The potential for the Raptor in Australia – the Ranger is the country’s best-selling Ford – is believed to have persuaded the Ford Motor Company to make the vehicle part of the next Ranger lineup. around the world. Which means gasoline engines for North America and certain other places. The biturbo four-cylinder diesel should remain for other markets, but in the US and neighboring countries, a V6 turbo seems possible.

Prior to the arrival of the revised line-up in January this year, up to four different engines had been offered in the Ranger: 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel, 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel, 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline or 3.2-liter five-cylinder diesel. Five- and six-speed manual gearboxes are featured, as are the six-speed and ten-speed automatic transmissions.

Automatic ten speed and 500Nm

The changes announced a few weeks into 2019 consist of a revised 213PS and 500Nm version of Ford’s 2.0-liter biturbo EcoBlue diesel. It replaces the 3.2 liter five-cylinder engine, at least in European countries and is standard for the Raptor.

The EcoBlue 2.0 is also equipped with outputs of 130PS and 340Nm or 170PS and 420PS: each has a single turbocharger. At the same time, the 2.2 liter diesel was discontinued. For transmission, a ten-speed automatic is optional for the 170PS and 213PS engines but standard for the Raptor. Other revisions include the addition of Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Intelligent Speed ​​Limiter as standard. Incidentally, these ten ratio gearboxes are the same as those on the F-150 and Mustang.

Built in ZA for EU market

More than eight years ago, Ford revealed plans to build up to 110,000 units per year of this light truck at its Silverton plant near Pretoria. The plant in South Africa, which also supplies trucks to the European market, began manufacturing the updated model during the first quarter of 2019. Ford Europe notified us in July that Silverton would be introducing a third shift due to high demand for the Ranger.

The Raptor has not been part of the line-up for a long time, its pre-facelift debut announced in February 2018. Ford gave it an upgraded suspension (coil springs replace the usual Ranger leaf spring rear end) and a new one. 2.0 liter bi-turbo diesel engine and ten-speed automatic transmission. The original 157kW (213PS) and 500Nm power and torque figures were unchanged when the facelifted line-up arrived in Europe this summer.

The performance of this truck is nothing special, zero to 62mph in 10.0 seconds but at least a top speed in three figures (106mph) even with the large front area and suspension lift. It weighs over two and a half tons, which is one of the reasons why the average CO2 is 233g/km and the fuel consumption I saw was only 33mpg. If you don’t spend too much time on the road, the Raptor can come back close to 40mpg.

Dynamics

Even with such a large weight and width, this large vehicle can drive along road A, even when the weather is bad. I expected the body roll to be spectacular but somehow it wasn’t and the damping, which must have been set up for such good off-road conditions on loose surfaces, was also surprising on the road. If only it was possible to adjust the steering wheel with fewer turns. Incidentally, the brakes are better than usual for this type of vehicle: not all pick-ups in this size class have discs in the rear.

Think of the Raptor as an extreme pick-up rather than a road car and the dynamics are actually really strong and some slack in the steering is tolerable. It’s actually a good rule of thumb for all vehicles. Don’t think of this as a luxury off-roader because it’s not like such a vehicle. If Land Rover built a pick-up it wouldn’t be like this.

Summary

The Raptor is a tame off-road racer, sadly without the insane speed. And that would be the one thing I would change about it: somehow lose weight and add power.

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