The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
Ford’s new Ranger Raptor was unveiled today. It’s the pinnacle of the company’s local bakkie line-up and globally, one of the finest performance trucks out there.
In fact, the Ranger Raptor had no true competition. This remains true with the new model, too. Not only does it look visually stunning – with all the right body flares and road presence we’ve come to expect from the Raptor nameplate – but Ford has turned the performance dial to 11 with the introduction of a 3.0 litre turbocharged petrol motor. Power figures are 292 kW and 583 Nm of torque … that is mind-blowing for a bakkie.
If there’s one thing we all thought was missing from the outgoing Ranger Raptor, it was that little bit of oomph. Now it’ll have it in spades, although, if that’s too much power for you, there is still the 2.0 biturbo diesel unit in the current range.
Underneath the skin, the Raptor features all-new Fox Racing dampers that have been specially tuned in conjunction with Ford, offering position-sensitive damping capability. These shock absorbers are the most sophisticated yet on the Ranger Raptor and are filled with Teflon-infused oil that reduces friction by around 50% compared to those on the current model. All-new, tough, lightweight aluminium upper and lower control arms, long travel front and rear suspension and a refined Watt’s link rear have been designed to deliver more control across rough terrain at high speed.
However, it’s not all high-speed off-road capability. The Raptor’s ability to tackle rough terrain is further enhanced with some serious underbody protection. The front bash plate is almost double the size of the standard Ranger bash plate and made from 2.3 mm high-strength steel. This bash plate – together with the engine under-shield and transfer case shield – provides protection for key components like the radiator, steering system, front cross member, engine sump and front differential.
That front differential needs special mention as the Raptor gets an advanced permanent four-wheel-drive system with an all-new electronically controlled on-demand two-speed transfer case, combined with front and rear locking differentials, a feature that hardcore off-roaders will appreciate.
I was blown away at the capability of the current Ranger Raptor. Its ability to cover ground off-road and at speed is still unmatched by any other brand. This new model will take this to a whole new level. I cannot wait to try it out and let you all know if it matches up to the hype.
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