New Ford Ranger Raptor pick-up unleashed

High-performance Ford Ranger Raptor pick-up truck to deliver 210bhp and 500Nm of torque.

‘A motocross bike, snowmobile and an ATV rolled up into a pickup truck’ – that’s how the head of Ford Performance describes the new Ranger Raptor.

Revealed today in Thailand, where it will be built, the Raptor is a new high-performance version to sit at the top of Ford’s pick-up range. It’s been developed by Ford Performance and includes a host of upgrades over the standard model that take the phrase ‘rough and tumble’ to new extremes.

From the outside, you can’t fail to notice the new grille, extra ground clearance and LED fog lamps in the front bumper. Those bumpers have to be flared so that they can accommodate the larger wheels, which are mounted on long-travel suspension.

As the vehicle is intended to go a very long way off the beaten track, the front bumpers are made of composite materials that are better able to withstand the expected dents and dings. The side steps are made from a tough aluminium alloy and include holes to drain sand, mud and snow.

Inside the rough and tough theme continues, with unique seats that are designed to give greater support at high speeds off-road, and they include suede sections to hold occupants in place. There’s even a red stripe on the steering wheel to show which way the wheel is pointing.

Naturally, the Raptor’s chassis, too, has been considerably upgraded to cope with the demands of high-speed use off-road. So, not only is the frame tougher and stiffer, but the brakes have been upgraded too. The race-bred suspension has been set up to tackle undulating off-road terrain at speed, as well as giving a comfortable ride on-road.

There’s also a unique ‘bash plate’ underneath, while the tyres have been specially developed, with tough side walls and a special tread pattern designed to give grip in mud, snow and sand.

Power for the Raptor comes from a twin-turbo diesel engine with 210bhp and 500Nm torque, and it drives the pick-up through the same ten-speed automatic gearbox as the F-150 Raptor. To ensure optimum performance in any conditions, drivers have six different modes – two for on-road use, and four for off-road driving.

Even the standard sat-nav gets the off-road bug, with a ‘breadcrumb’ feature that allows drivers to lay a trail and retrace their steps in unfamiliar terrain.

This is all part of the standard Sync3 infotainment system, while the Raptor is also packed with driver-assistance technology – such as Electronic Stability Control, Trailer Sway Control and a rear-view camera – to make everyday life easier.

The only drawback as far us Brits are concerned is that, as yet, there’s no word on whether the Raptor will be sold in Europe. However, it’s clear that the new model has been engineered in both left- and right-hand drive, and a Ford insider told us that the UK would be lobbying hard to be able to sell the Raptor. The Ranger is the best-selling pick-up in the UK, and the company already has a large pool of enthusiastic customers.

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