Ford has confirmed that the Ranger is getting a new performance model in Europe. Called the Raptor – you’re probably interested already – it’s the toughest Ranger and has real go-anywhere equipment. Check behind the back of the sofa, as the Raptor will be available to buy in mid-2019.
The Raptor has been developed by Ford Performance, a team that’s fairly handy with a set of spanners. The Focus RS, Fiesta ST, Mustang and the US-spec F-150 Raptor all come with their nous and engineering. Bespoke off-road suspension and an ultra-strong chassis are fitted to make sure this truck can cope with any surface, and Ford’s Terrain Management System is on hand to assist.
Styling-wise, you’ll notice that the Ranger has grown. The Raptor sits much higher to give improved ground clearance and suspension travel, and there’s a striking new bash plate made from high-strength steel. If that ground clearance isn’t enough, it’s good to know your underside will stay protected. There’s an aggressive grille, new bumpers, wheel arch extensions and, beneath them, specially designed all-terrain tyres.
There are six driving modes to play with, and only two are useful on the road. On top of Normal and Sport mode, the Raptor offers a grass, gravel and snow mode, a mode for mud and sand, one for rocky terrain and serious off-roading, and a Baja mode. This one sounds fun. It facilitates “high-speed off-road performance”, so you can go anywhere and still get there quickly.
The interior won’t remind you of a Baja buggy, though. Bespoke part-leather seats and floor mats keep you comfortable when you’re yomping through a desert, and you’ll have all of the features of the top-spec Ranger. The tuned suspension ensures you won’t be bounced around, even on the toughest trails.
“The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road and still ride like a millionaire on-road,” says Damien Ross, the Raptor’s chief engineer. “Everything about the Ranger Raptor builds on the already outstanding sophisticated feel and functional capability of the Ranger.”
Retaining Ford’s SYNC 3 software, the Raptor features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice commands, Bluetooth connectivity and sat nav. However, the sat nav now offers a breadcrumb feature, which allows you to trace your steps back when you’re exploring new areas. FordPass Connect creates a wi-fi hotspot, so you can stay in the loop even when you’ve left civilisation long behind.
There’s also a reel of driver assistance technology, including stability control, Roll Mitigation Function, Trailer Sway Control and Hill Descent Control. It’s all fitted for confidence and security on any road surface.
As you’d expect, there’s a strong powerplant beneath the bonnet of the Raptor. The 2.0-litre twin-turbo EcoBlue diesel engine produces 210hp, but it’s the torque figure that’s much more impressive and useful. A nice, round 500Nm of torque, to be precise. Marshalling all this grunt is Ford’s 10-speed automatic gearbox, which is also fitted to the F-150 Raptor. Ford says that it has tested the transmission extensively, including running both turbochargers constantly until they glowed red-hot for 200 hours! Safe to say, then, that the Raptor can cope with some light off-roading.
The Ford Ranger Raptor will be available in Hartwell showrooms from mid-2019, and will also be available to drive on the Forza Horizon 4 Xbox game. If you’d have this pickup in a heartbeat, share this article with your friends using the icons at the top of the page.
Scroll down for a heart-pounding video of the Ranger Raptor!