Ranger Raptor. A missed opportunity?

Ford, Ranger, Raptor

A missed opportunity, or a case of the Internet judging too soon?

Incase you hadn’t heard, Ford Australia has released details of their long awaited Ranger Raptor – and the masses aren’t impressed. A quick glance at Ford’s Facebook post announcing details of the mini Raptor show comments like “All show, no go”, “Pathetic engine choice” and “Two litres? You must be joking Ford”. Those comment should give you a hint at what’s getting everyone’s knickers in a knot.

While the full-fat Raptor gets a 3.5L twin turbo petrol V6 – the same basic motor that powers the Ford GT – the Ranger Raptor gets an all new 2.0L twin turbo diesel inline four cylinder. This “Pathetic engine choice” (not our words) is a big deal in what has become the most popular sector of Australia’s car market. Australian’s buying twin cab utes want the biggest and the best, and when VW offers a 3.0L turbo diesel V6 in its top of the line Amarok, you begin to question Ford’s logic.

Ford, Ranger, Raptor

The cause of all the hatred. Ford’s new twin turbo 2.0L diesel. Ford claims that ‘much like a competition dirt bike, the Ranger Raptor’s powertrain was chosen to deliver high power and torque outputs with minimum weight’.

Now it’s worth noting that not a single person whining about the Ranger Raptor’s engine has actually sat behind the wheel, let alone driven one. But when it comes to pub bragging and spec sheet comparing, numbers are king. The new 2.0L twin turbo diesel makes 156kW and 500Nm which isn’t bad, until you consider there were rumours that the Ranger was going to get the American Raptor’s V6 which makes 336kW and 690Nm…

Now it’s worth noting that Ford hasn’t just slapped on a bodykit, downsized the engine and disappointed the Internet to turn the Ranger into a Raptor. They’ve seriously re-engineered the thing. Everything from the ‘High Strength Low Alloy (HSLA) steel’ reinforced chassis to the titanium shift paddles controlling a 10-speed automatic have been added to make this the ultimate disappointment Ranger. That 10-speed gearbox should go some way to ensuring the 2.0L is always on the boil.

The Ranger Raptor has also been fitted with Fox Racing internal by-pass shocks all round, which is some serious suspension for a ute rolling off the showroom floor. Ford has also ditched the normal Ranger’s leaf sprung rear suspension, replacing it a coil sprung Watt’s link setup lifted from its Everest off roader. This, along with the flared guards and bespoke bodywork means the Ranger Raptor is 52mm taller than a normal Ranger and, wait for it, 320mm wider! Some of this extra girth is down to a 150mm stretch in front and rear track.

Ford, Ranger, Raptor

Ford says the Ranger Raptor’s race-bred suspension has been crafted to tackle the toughest terrains. Pity its engine wasn’t developed to please the most discerning of keyboard warriors.

The interior is a case of ‘same same, but different’, with more heavily bolstered front seats covered in technical suede (whatever that is), blue stitching, leather-accents and even a red strip on the steering wheel to mark 12 o’clock. Racy! The Ranger Raptor has a number of drive modes and keeps the American Raptor’s off road racing inspired ‘Baja’ mode. Even this is a missed opportunity, why not rename it ‘Finke’ mode after the infamous Australian off road rally event where development Raptors were shown testing?!

Ford Performance’s chief engineer has described the Ranger Raptor as ‘like a motocross bike and an ATV rolled up into a pick-up truck’. Sounds fun, but kind of pointless. Most people who buy these over specced, flashy utes use them for work, occassional play and everything in between. Sure, change the rear suspension for better performance, but maybe try not to lose an entire tonne’s towing capacity? Don’t get us wrong, we’re a big fan of this ute and applaud Ford for making an Australian specific Raptor – we just think they might have forgotten to actually listen to their customers…

Ranger, Raptor, Ford

The Ranger Raptor has an uphill battle to convince cashed-up Australians that its 2.0L diesel is up to the task.

Check out Ford’s website for more photos and details of the Ranger Raptor.

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