Wild and mild: The Ford Ranger Raptor

Wild and mild: The Ford Ranger Raptor

Many carmakers say their offerings combine many personalities — but the Ford Ranger Raptor is among the few vehicles that actually stays true to that description.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What's the price of the Ford Ranger Raptor?

    The Ford Ranger Raptor goes for P1.998 million.
  • What are the off-road equipment fitted to the Ford Ranger Raptor?

    Apart from four-wheel drive with locking differential, the Ranger Raptor is fitted with Fox Racing shock absorbers, 33-inch all-terrain tires, and even a driving mode for high-speed sand driving.
  • What engine and transmission does the Ford Ranger Raptor use?

    The Ranger Raptor is powered by a two-liter bi-turbo diesel mill, which churns out 213hp and 500Nm. The numbers are managed by a 10-speed automatic.
  • Yes, we know that's quite a bold claim, especially since Ford is plugging the Ranger Raptor more as a bruiser than a cruiser. But after logging some 300 kilometers with the Ranger Raptor —navigating city streets, running on highways, and carving corners —the pickup truck showed its wild and mild sides.

    The Ranger Raptor showed the qualities that has made it a hot-seller, too. As a top-model in the Ranger range, the Raptor competes against the Toyota Hilux GR-S, Mitsubishi Strada Athlete, and Nissan Navara Pro-4X. All these pickups vie to best blend the sporty with the rugged, but judging from the recent sales figures  (and the number of examples I’ve encountered on the road), the Ranger Raptor seems to be the people’s choice.

    With everything considered, let’s get to know what makes the personalities of the popular Ranger Raptor — which, by the way, bears the “Raptor” name that Ford Performance christens to its sporty pickup trucks.

    Exterior

    It’s difficult to mistake the Ranger Raptor for anything else. For starters, the pickup truck’s bold styling begins with its beefed-up fenders front and rear to accommodate the 33-inch Goodyear tires (that wrap the 17-inch alloy wheels), and 2.5-inch Fox Racing shock absorbers.

    Ford Ranger Raptor

    To emphasize the Ranger Raptor’s muscular haunches, the truck wears matte-black bumpers fore and aft, and matte-black overfenders that protect the paintwork from debris. As it stands all high and mighty with a ground clearance of 283 millimeters, the pickup is fitted with wide stepboards to ease ingress and egress. The side-view mirrors and door handles continue the matte-black contrast.

    Meanwhile, the Ranger Raptor’s imposing fascia wears the “signature Ford grille,” whose dark finish is flanked by LED headlights and fog lights. The air vents on the front fenders are functional. Moving to the rear, Raptor decals and badges adorn the rear fenders and tailgate.

    These exterior decorations can be paired to a selection of colors: True Red, Conquer Gray, Arctic White, Absolute Black, and the fetching Performance Blue that our test car wore.

    Ford Ranger Raptor

    All of these styling bits and pieces are worn by a body that measures 5,398mm long, 2,028mm wide, and 1,873mm tall. With the large tires and equally hefty dimensions, the Ranger Raptor is indeed a bigfoot. The only time this pickup felt small was when I encountered an F-150.

    If you somehow want to draw more attention, then you might find the Ranger Raptor X to your liking. The Raptor X is made even more conspicuous with black and red stripes on the sides, hood, tailgate, and roof, and black sports bar on the bed.

    Ford Ranger Raptor X

    Returning to the Ranger Raptor, I found something missing amid all the mentioned trinkets: LED tail lights. As it’s virtually similar to lesser Ranger trucks, the Raptor’s rear lights are devoid of the LED decor worn by its competitors. But this is only a minor omission in the presence of such distinctive styling. In my eyes, this Ford’s road bravado beats that of the competition.

    Tech specs and driving impressions

    While the appearance may be wild, I think the engine performance strikes a good balance between sedate and exciting. The Ranger Raptor is powered by a two-liter bi-turbo engine, which generates 213hp and 500Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.

    Ford Ranger Raptor

    During stop-and-go traffic through EDSA, I did have to mollycoddle the accelerator (as the 500Nm comes in early at 1,750rpm) lest I crash into the vehicles in front. Considering the amount of torque on tap as well as the aforementioned heft, I find Ranger Raptor to be the least ideal vehicle for city use.

    On the upside, the power allowed me to swiftly dive into gaps in traffic, and with Fox shocks and thick tires, bumps and lumps of the road absolutely failed to unsettle the ride quality.

    When the traffic opened up on NLEX, the engine provided more than enough power to overtake and to get the Ranger Raptor up to speed. You’d also think the 10 gears of the automatic were excessive, but it allowed the truck to cruise at just above 100kph at 1,500rpm in top gear — and even at that point, it was easy to unintentionally surpass 120kph (much to my amusement and worry for my license’s sake).

    Ford Ranger Raptor

    What’s more, I somehow forgot its size the more I drove it.

    As for fuel consumption, the trip computer registered between eight to 13kpl during a mix of urban driving and out-of-town runs.

    Meanwhile, manually swapping the 10 cogs can be done via the magnesium paddle shifters. Up- and downshifts were done at an adequate pace. For faster gear changes, the Ranger Raptor is fitted with Sport mode, one of the six driving modes for on- and off-road driving. Aside from Normal and Sport, there’s Baja (“for sand running,” Ford said), Weather, Mud/Sand, and Rock Crawl modes.

    These driving modes are part of the Terrain Management System (TMS), all of which Ford said allows the pickup to “conquer virtually any terrain at the turn of a dial.”

    Ford Ranger Raptor While I didn’t get a chance to test the pickup’s 4WD and TMS, I’m confident the Ranger Raptor can handle the rough stuff with its 850mm wading depth, aluminum bash plate, and impressive approach and departure angles.

    That said, the Ranger Raptor stayed on paved roads and its default rear-wheel drive, which allowed it to show its impressive handling. Tackling sweeping highway on-ramps and twisty national highways at speed, the steering provided ample, if not sharp, feedback; the body leaned but without the sensation the tall vehicle would roll over. The anti roll bars did their job well, as did the disc brakes front and rear. 

    Payload and towing capacity

    If you’re considering the Ranger Raptor as your next workhorse, then you should know its payload and towing capacities — that’s 758 kilograms and 2,500kg in both respects. Lower down the range, other Ranger variants can carry around 1,120kg and tow 3,500kg, on par with the pickup segment.

    Why can the more affordable varieties carry and tow more weight? That’s because as opposed to the standard Rangers’ leaf springs, the Ranger Raptor’s coil springs and Fox shocks are said to be designed for off-road racing and for softening the landing during jumps, rather than load-lugging.

    Ford Ranger Raptor

    Given those figures, you could view the Ranger Raptor as a “lifestyle truck,” which you can use to haul surfboards, mountain bikes, or tents and other objects for overlanding. This pickup is more adventurous than industrious.

    Life on the inside

    This will sound like marketing-speak, but climb into the cabin and you’ll immediately get the urge for sporty driving. The driver and all four passengers sit on bolstered seats that are covered in leather and suede. The driver gets to grip a leather steering wheel with red accents and thumb grips. Gauges red and black with a checkered pattern further entice the driver.

    Ford Ranger Raptor

    But despite the sporty trimmings, the Ranger Raptor’s interior is still a relaxing place to be in. It carries creature comforts such as a smart entry system, push button start, driver’s eight-way power adjustable seat, dual climate control, and eight-inch Sync3 infotainment touchscreen linked to six speakers.

    With a cosseting cabin, free from excessive engine and wind noise at speed, combined with a pliant ride and effortless engine, the Ranger Raptor also possesses an easygoing nature.

    However, the cabin could be improved in some areas. I find the driver’s seat backrest angle is too slanted even when it’s adjusted to its most upright position, and the tiller only adjusts for rake. Meanwhile, some noise from jeepneys and motorcycles outside permeates the cabin, which made me momentarily think I left a window open. As for the Sync3 infotainment, I was only able to switch FM radio stations and music from my Bluetooth-connected phone by pressing the touchscreen; the tiller buttons didn’t work.

    Ford Ranger Raptor

    I suspect the limited wheel adjustment and thin windows only reflect the Ranger Raptor’s workhorse roots, while the infotainment issues are a cause of my own lapses in dealing with technology. Techies can use the Ranger Raptor’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivities and voice command.

    Safety kit

    The Ranger Raptor is equipped with a reversing camera and rear parking sensors, features that look simple next to the 360-degree cameras and front sensors of the Navara Pro-4x and Hilux GR-S. But since the Raptor’s sizable nose can be seen from the driver’s seat anyway, additional sonars and cameras almost seem excessive.

    Ford Ranger Raptor

    And this pickup is still a safe one still, with its stability control, Roll-over Mitigation, Hill Launch Assist, Hill Descent Control, Trailer Sway and Load Adaptive Controls, and Autonomous Emergency Braking. There’s the tailgate lift assist, too. The latter smoothens the drop of the tailgate, so as to avoid injuring the person opening the rear.

    Verdict

    Highly accomplished and highly appealing is how I’d sum up the Ranger Raptor. Granted, it does lose out on several convenience gadgets, and high payload and towing capacity figures of its ilk and rivals, but the pickup’s strengths lie in its driving quality. 

    If you’re considering the Ranger Raptor as a workhorse to carry heavy loads regularly, I recommend going for the other Ranger variants instead. Not only do these variants look more qualified for the job, but their more compact sizes suit city streets better.

    Also, don’t look at the Ranger Raptor as a true-blue pickup — rather, think of it as an alternative to a top-spec crossover or compact SUV.

    For about the same price as those raised sedans, you’d get a vehicle with more performance kudos, off-road capability, road presence, and the utility afforded by a dedicated cargo bed. You’d enjoy taking the Ranger to overlanding, cycling, surfing, or whatever activity floats your boat, more than many SUVs out there.

    And considering the arrival of the next-generation Ranger, this Ranger Raptor could be the swan song of the current model. It’s an odd but effective remix of easy listening and rockin’ beats. No wonder it’s a hit.

    Ford Ranger Raptor

    Photos from Ford and Roy Robles

     

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