When Ford, under the Ford Performance banner, unveiled the Ranger Raptor in 2019, it rewrote the rule book for pickups. It quickly stamped its authority with unrivalled off- and on-road performance that no other vehicle on the UK market came close to matching. When the new Ranger was previewed in late 2021 (due to go on sale in early 2023), there was no mention of a revitalised Raptor. However, now the wait is over, as Ford has released specifications and images of the new Raptor. Vanarama’s Tim Cattlin takes a look at all the details...
The Raptor is intended to appeal more to the enthusiast than the regular pick-up owner, who might be more likely to carry a tonne of cement in the back rather than mountain bikes or surfboards. It’s aimed at the driver that needs their pick-up not just to provide brute performance from the powertrain, but also the capability to ride quickly, easily and comfortably over rough terrain. The current Raptor does all this, and it does it well. So how does the manufacturer improve on what could be considered pickup perfection?
Under The Bonnet
Despite the vehicle industry being obsessed with low- and zero-emission capability, Ford hasn’t been shy with the new Raptor’s power unit. And the big news here is the shift from diesel to petrol propulsion for the ultimate Ranger – so while the old 213hp twin-turbo diesel 4-cylinder engine will still be available in the wider Ranger line-up (and indeed in the Raptor too, from mid-2023) initially the Raptor will be offered with a 288hp twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 EcoBoost petrol unit, delivering an outstanding 491Nm of torque.
The petrol’s turbochargers feature a race-bred anti-lag system, which keeps them spinning for up to 3 seconds after the driver lifts off the throttle, allowing for almost instant resumption of optimum power. This V6 engine easily makes Raptor the most powerful pickup on the UK market, producing more horsepower even than the now discontinued V6 units in the Mercedes-Benz X-Class and the Volkswagen Amarok. A Ford spokesperson said: “The 3.0-litre engine brings a different dynamic to the Ranger Raptor that will satisfy even the most hardcore performance enthusiast. The acceleration and raw performance of the new powertrain leave you grinning from ear-to-ear.”
You’ll also hear the new Raptor coming, too. It is equipped with a choice of 4 engine sounds which can be selected via a button on the steering wheel. Select from Quiet (ideal for early morning starts), Normal, Sport (providing ‘a louder and more dynamic note’) and Baja, which the manufacturer intends for off-road use only as it imitates a straight-through, unsilenced exhaust system.
Coupled to the new engine is an advanced new full-time 4-wheel-drive system, which includes an electronically controlled, on‑demand 2-speed transfer case, and locking front and rear differentials. As with the previous Raptor, there’s a selection of drive modes. Each selectable drive mode adjusts a number of elements from engine and transmission to ABS sensitivity and calibration, traction and stability controls, exhaust valve actuation, and also steering and throttle response. In addition, the gauges, vehicle information and colour themes on the instrument cluster and centre touchscreen change with the selected drive mode. On-road, you’ve the choice of Normal, Sport and Slippery modes, while for off-road duties you can opt for Rock Crawl, Sand, Mud/Ruts or Baja, which sets all systems to, quote, ‘maximum attack for peak high-speed off-road performance’.
Ford has completely redesigned the suspension used in the existing truck and has continued to use Fox as a supplier of shock absorbers. This time the manufacturers have worked together to develop bespoke units for the new Raptor. In its press release, Ford said that: “The next-generation Fox 2.5-inch Live Valve internal bypass shock absorbers feature cutting-edge control technology offering position-sensitive damping capability. These shock absorbers are the most sophisticated ever fitted to Ranger Raptor and are filled with Teflon-infused oil that reduces friction by around 50% compared to those on the outgoing vehicle.”
On The Outside And Inside
Flared wheel arches house 17-inch alloy wheels, which are fitted with exclusive all-terrain tyres, while the matrix-style LED head- and taillights complement the cast-aluminium side steps. In the cab, all-new sports-style seats are designed to support the driver and passenger when the vehicle is being pushed to the limit. On the dash, the very latest version of Ford's multimedia unit, SYNC 4A with its 12-inch screen, is joined by an all-digital instrument cluster which is 12.4 inches in size. If you like your music loud, the B&O 10-speaker sound system is unlikely to disappoint.
We don’t have any further detail as to what equipment will come as standard and Ford has yet to issue any data regarding payloads etc. We think it likely, though, that the new Raptor (like its predecessor) will have a payload of less than 1000kg, with all the taxation implications that this carries.
One of the biggest surprises, though, is that we won’t have to wait long for the new Raptor – although the new Ranger won’t be around until 2023, Raptor will go on sale in Europe this year, with the first deliveries expected in the summer. Watch this space.