6 things we love about the new Ford Ranger Raptor

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 28 May 2019

1. It’s quiet on the road and handles like an SUV

Despite the large, specially-designed BF Goodrich AT (all terrain) off-road tyres that look like you’ll hear them rolling over the tar from a mile away and the 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbodiesel engine (157 kW and 500 Nm) the inside of the cabin is really quiet. The drive on tar is extremely comfortable and there’s no body roll when you corner, even when you corner off-road at a fair lick.

2. You can drive the Raptor like an actual rally driver

This vehicle is nothing short of mind-blowing. It comes with specifically-developed suspension (factory-fitted) and race-developed FOX shock absorbers with adjusted damping. It also has specially-designed high-strength steel chassis and enhanced braking capability.

In layman’s terms, this means that can take on bumps and ditches with ease that would wreck any regular hardcore bakkie’s suspension and absolutely decimate any standard two-wheel-drive vehicle.

We took it for a test drive on Goerapan, a salt pan in the Kalahari about 100km north-west of Upington and supervised by driving instructors, hit a ramp intentionally (yes a ramp) at over 100kph, gained airtime and it landed like a cat on all fours. We continued on as if we’d rolled over a regular speedbump at a fifth of that speed. On corrugated, hard-packed earth the suspension was so effective that the ground felt virtually flat.We also drove over terrain strewn with rocks the size of spanspek at speed and it didn’t flinch. Sand dunes, no problem.

3. It’s super good-looking

Photos don’t do it justice but this is one proper off-road bakkie that looks the part. The original Ranger is a great-looking vehicle too, but this is the bigger, badder brother. The wheelbase is 150mm wider than the standard Ranger. It’s also 51mm taller, has 283mm ground clearance (which means that you won’t be scraping the underbelly quite as easily) and the chunky wheels and prominent grille with ‘FORD’ in bold letters give it the edge when it comes to appearance.

4. The 10-speed automatic gearbox is as smooth as cream cheese

The changes between the various gears are imperceptible and with more gears the vehicle figures out the perfect ratios seamlessly to give you the best performance. However, if you do want to go manual you can. It has paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

5. The interior is comfortable and spacious

It comes with leather sports seats with blue stitching and race-inspired ‘on-centre’ red marker on steering wheel, which is handy when you are doing doughnuts in the desert. Other than that it could be handy for parking, if you’re not sure if your wheels are aligned properly….

The backseat also offers ample legroom, and you could easily fit five adults in the cabin quite comfortably.

6. The price

You can’t really compare the Ford Ranger Raptor to anything else in its class, because the Raptor is really in a class of its own. At R786,400 – although it’s rated third in Car magazine’s ‘5 most expensive double cab bakkies’ article, after the Mercades Benz X-Class X350d (R973 188) and the Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 ( R829,200) – the capability and bells and whistles (like standard lane keep assist, aluminium wheels in the off-road tyres, paddle shifters and six driving modes ) make it worth the investment.

More about the Ford Ranger Raptor

Safety: Although most people won’t get to drive the vehicle as we did (which included a hot lap with race driver Gareth Woolridge across a salt pan and over Kalahari dunes), I doubt we’d be able to roll it if we tried. It comes equipped with Ford stability control with roll stability control that was specifically developed for Ford’s SUV range, and has been adapted for this new Ford Performance model. It uses very efficient sensors to anticipate and minimise oversteer, understeer and rollover incidents.

Warranty: All Ford Rangers come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a four-year/120,000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A six-year/90,000km service plan is included, with 15,000km service intervals.

Towing: The Ranger Raptor comes with a heavy-duty tow bar and towing capacity of R2,500kg. It also has a recovery hook in the front and a 2.3mm-thick bash plate (60-percent thicker than the standard version) made of high-strength steel for enhanced underbody protection.

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