OPINION | Ford’s Ranger Raptor: the harder you drive, the more fun it feels

  • If you’re looking for dream vehicles, they don’t come any more dreamy than the Ranger Raptor.
  • Under 10 liters per 100km/m can be achieved if you respect the accelerator pedal.
  • Outstanding off-roading and extremely comfortable on-road performance.
  • For automotive news, visit Wheel24

We took the Ford Ranger Raptor on safari to Kruger National Park, and while the drive there was too windy, we couldn’t think of a better vehicle to hit the open road.

The Ford Ranger Raptor needs no introduction in South Africa. This is the tallest bakkie from the Blue Oval, and Ford recently gave it a slight upgrade by introducing the limited edition SE version. We have a ‘normal’ Ranger Raptor under test, albeit with a dealer-approved soft cover for the cargo area so we can keep our luggage and valuables away from prying eyes and protected from the elements.

At R905 200, the Ranger Raptor is the dream bakkie for most of us and is one of the most expensive light commercial vehicles sold in South Africa, but there’s very little to say about it.

It looks like it’s ready to take on the South African Cross Country Series from the factory outside. On the inside, you might mistake it for a high-end Ford luxury passenger car. Under the skin, it’s a proper monster truck that likes to drive hard, and the harder you drive it, the more rewarding it feels.

What’s your new favorite bakkie being sold in South Africa, and why? Let us know in the comments section, or email us.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Very good on the highway

Our trip from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park will cover a distance of 450km, according to the Waze app that we use via the vehicle’s onboard system, thanks to Apple CarPlay.

We stayed in a quaint cottage just outside the main gate to the nature reserve near Hazyview. With a full tank (80 liters) of diesel fuel, we set out with climate control in full swing and with the thrilling Ford Sync multimedia system singing our favorite songs from the Apple Music app.

Navigating Jo’burg’s heavy traffic and then Pretoria’s congested network proved easy, as the Ranger Raptor just purred well.

We were nervous that the bakkie would prove challenging to drive and that changing lanes would be a tough nightmare, but the view from the cab and the light steering gave us a convincing look at the road ahead and around us, so we quickly became confident. behind the wheel.

Ford Ranger Raptor

The Ford Ranger Raptor comes with bespoke tires.

Braking took a while to get used to the Ranger Raptor test vehicle, as we felt that the brake pedal was moving too much before the anchor started to bite. I’m not sure if the odd, unpleasant brake pedal feel is due to the off-road bias tires that come standard on BF Goodrich’s vehicles.

Nevertheless, we got used to brake modulation after a while on the N1 as people swooped in front of us (taking the gap I left as a safe distance as room for them to enter).

Luckily, Ranger Raptors have some presence, so even when people do weird things like cut us down dangerously without showing, their danger usually shows up as olive branches.

We’d expect the twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel to struggle on the highway considering most here, but thanks to the ten-speed automatic box that Ford mounts into the vehicle as standard, there’s always enough oomph from under the hood to ensure you can safely move the family around. You are at highway speed.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor

Sure, it could have done with a little more huff for overtaking, but we found that the car only ran its best when we kept our input soft and our right foot light on the accelerator pedal.

On the way to Kruger we had an average of 9.5 liters per 100km; amazing considering the strong winds and headwinds we sometimes encountered on our way. Ford claims that the bakkie will suck 8.3 liters per 100km in the combined cycle, and we think that’s very achievable if you value throttle.

We were impressed by how the bakkie coped with the damaged roads in the Mpumalanga area and how it was able to handle the strong winds we mentioned. At some point, we had to slow down and wrestle with the steering wheel to keep the bakkie straight and narrow, but most vehicles struggled on the roads around us. We felt much better and more confident with the Ranger Raptor in those challenging climatic conditions.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor and Porsche Cayenne Platinum Edition at Kruger Park.

Better than any car we’ve ever used

We have passed this route several times, mainly in sports cars and passenger cars or SUVs. This trip was our first time taking northern bakkie, and I was really nervous because it wouldn’t be as comfortable or have the safety features I like to keep my family safe on the road. To my surprise, the Ranger Raptor was more comfortable than some cars that cost twice as much. And I’m not just talking about ride comfort here, which is arguably, the best ride you can experience in a new bakkie to date.

The leather/suede section seats offer great support, and since I’ve been suffering from a bad back since an accident a few years ago, I appreciate the level of lumbar support this bakkie offers. Even my wife commented that the back seat was comfortable and she and our son had plenty of room in the back. My son enjoys riding on the Raptor, as he can see out the window from his child seat. He also loves that I can bring our home LTE router in the car to allow him to log onto Twitch and YouTube to watch his favorite gamers on his iPad. Since the Ranger Raptor has a 120W power outlet at the back of the cab, I was able to plug our router into the car easily, and we had a Wi-Fi hotspot around the clock.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor

There are seven airbags on offer here and plenty of active driver assistance such as traction control and safety-related stability control. You also get more driving modes than you’ll ever need. We tested several sand modes and a low-range all-wheel-drive mode at Kruger Park and found that they actually changed the driving characteristics of the vehicle.

There is one bend in the road at Kruger Park with a corner radius of closure, and in most vehicles in our experience, at a low speed of 40km/h, the front of the car pushes wide. We could feel the Ranger’s traction system working to reduce understeer around these loose gritty corners, and it’s great to feel how much control you have at all times thanks to Fox Racing’s suspension tricks and slight changes to the platform for power here and there.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor

Overall summary

The header of this section hints at the Ranger Raptor as a good automotive investment. We think it’s one of the best vehicles you can buy in South Africa right now, and while R1 million is almost a lot of money, it’s one to buy and keep.

Seriously. Ford will launch the new Ranger later this month, and while we’re very excited about what it has to offer, the current generation Ranger is at the top of its game right now. From the Ranger FX4 to the ever-popular Thunder and Stormtrak and Ranger Wildtrak, Ford has honed and polished these bakkies to perfection over the last decade.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Kids enjoy exploring the park from the cabin of the Ford Ranger Raptor.

Our test Raptor already had 20,000km on it, and it took a few hard hits in Kruger Park and on some off-road trails, and it refused to rattle and squeak on the inside. The fit and finish are excellent, and it makes us feel proud that South Africans make bakkies in Pretoria. This is a very interesting vehicle because it does everything you would expect from a passenger car, but with the power of a monster truck.

Okay, getting in and out of the garage and into cramped places in the mall can be a challenge. And, if you’re not careful, the city can be thirsty for diesel. However, there’s no competition for this vehicle, and if you’re looking to buy something now that will give you a genuine feeling of confidence every time you start it, then it’s hard not to think of the Ranger Raptor as a good automotive investment.

Sure, most vehicles are depreciating assets, but if you want to make it big at least once in your life, you’d better go big with a car that can do just about anything: a family car, an adventure vehicle, a dream bakkie.

The Ranger Raptor has some magic, and we wish we could add it to our family garage. The all-new Ford Ranger makes its global debut at the end of November 2021. The Ford Ranger is being built at the Ford plant in Pretoria for local consumption and export worldwide. All Ford Ranger Raptors sold in South Africa come with a four year or 120,000 km mechanical warranty.

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