Story & photos by Randy S. Peregrino
FINALLY, Ford made its famous flagship off-road performance DNA available for the Asia-Pacific market with the introduction of the first-ever Ranger Raptor. Recently unveiled in Bangkok, Thailand, the extreme mid-sized pickup truck was manufactured to set the bar as the only factory-built performance truck across the region.
“The Ford Performance team is excited to extend the Raptor name from our flagship off-road performance F-150 to Ranger. Just like the F-150 Raptor, the Ranger Raptor builds upon the core capability of the range of vehicles it comes from and carries the unmistakable Ford Performance DNA appearance,” Ford Performance Chief Engineer Jamal Hameedi said.
EVIDENT are the unique design cues from the popular off-road performance variant. Its imposing front end boasts the striking new dark grille evincing the iconic block Ford badge. Aside from supplementing the daunting character, the matte-black frame mounted front-bumper system has a new silver-finished bash plate guard underneath made from 2.3-millimeter thick high-strength steel with dual front recovery hooks intended for desert sturdiness. Those functional air-curtain ducts beside the new LED fog lamps are there to reduce air resistance.
Composite materials were utilized for the front fenders in order withstand dents and dings from off-roading. Those flaring fenders with wheel arc extensions were designed to accommodate the long travel suspension and oversized tires. It fits well with the standard 17-inch Raptor wheels wrapped in All-terrain BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 series rubbers, which are specifically developed for the Ranger Raptor. The step boards, on the other hand, are made of high-strength aluminum alloy die-cast with two-stage coating process. The modified rear bumper, meantime, comes with an integrated tow bar and two recovery hooks rated at 3.8 tons. Also, there are flush sensor bezels and tow connectors. Cargo space won’t be an issue with the spacious1560mm x 1743mm open bed with 2,500-kilogram towing capacity.
Overall, the vehicle dimensions are considerably bigger. The height is taller at 1,873mm, wider at 2,180mm and longer at 5,398mm. Even the front and rear tire tracks are made wider at 1,710mm. Further, ground clearance is increased to 283mm with an approach angle of 32.5 degrees, ramp over angle of 24 degrees and departure angle of 24 degrees.
The interior, on the other hand, is not only tailored to sport that Raptor motif, but also crafted with at par styling and durable materials suitable for rugged applications. There are blue stitching and leather accents everywhere, particularly in the cockpit area. Even the helm with perforated leather hand grip, a Raptor logo debossed into the spoke bezel, and an “On-centre” marker (a red stripe at the top-middle of the wheel) is endowed with the new Raptor DNA lightweight magnesium paddle shifters. Moreover, seats are draped in technical suede material for that additional grip and fitted with chunkier side bolsters for greater lateral support along with dual hardness cushion.
Functions-wise, the Ranger Raptor comes with a host of advanced Driver Assist Technologies (DATs) and the fully integrated, voice-activation system SYNC 3 for connectivity, also equipped with Satellite Navigation System.
Double the boost
TRUE to its off-roading prowess, the Ranger Raptor is now propelled by a new powertrain with cutting-edge technology. The new and radical 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine is capable of generating 210 horsepower and a massive 500 N-m of maximum torque. Producing that remarkable output lies on the two turbos (small high-pressure and big low-pressure) operating sequentially at lower speeds to provide more torque. But during higher speeds, the small turbo is bypassed, allowing the big turbo to produce more boost.
Transferring power to the wheels is the coupled smooth-shifting10-Speed automatic transmission. With 10 gears at your own disposal, upshifting and downshifting are made quicker apart from the wider ratio-span for enhanced acceleration. The all-new electronic system, meantime, features real-time adaptive shift-scheduling algorithms engineered synchronized gear selection.
Now comes with an updated Terrain Management System (TMS), it offers six different modes for various dwellings. There are the usual normal and sport modes for on-road function and numerous off-road drive modes. Added is the extreme “Baja” mode for high-speed off-road performance—providing that Baja Desert Rally-like approach where gear selection is optimized to hold it longer while downshifting more aggressively.
Rigid built with uncompromising safety features
IN order to achieve that high-speed off-roading performance, the Ranger Raptor’s chassis frame was further strengthened against the rough and punishing driving conditions. With the new geometry frame design, various grades of high-strength low-alloy steel, and hardened side-rails plus unique underbody protection, all these can absorb off-road high-speed impacts and deflect off-road obstacles.
Considered as the vehicle’s crown jewel is the race-bred suspension equipped with Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) shock absorbers providing the best of both worlds in ride quality. The dampers are exclusively manufactured by Fox Racing Shox with 46.6mm piston for front and rear with Internal Bypass Technology. These are fitted with forged aluminum upper arms and cast aluminum lower arms.
For stopping power, there’s the front’s bigger 332mm x 32mm ventilated rotors with twin-piston calipers increased by 9.5mm in diameter. The rear, meantime, has 332mm x 24mm ventilated rotors with 54mm calipers. Other active safety features are Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Load Adaptive Control (LAC). Backing up is easy, thanks to the rear-view camera displayed on the 8-inch color LCD screen paired with the rear parking sensors.
Meanwhile, no less than Ford Asia Pacific President Peter Fleet attributed the conception of the first-ever Ranger Raptor to the terrific success of the Ranger pickup in the Asia Pacific. “When you got a vehicle that is as successful as the Ranger is, and a brand as successful in this region, you look for opportunities,” he said.
The Ranger Raptor comes in six available radiant body shades, namely, Lightning Blue, Race Red, Shadow Black, Frozen White, as well as a unique Hero color for the Ranger Raptor, Conquer Grey. As for the price, Ford is still holding on to it until its release in the country sometime late this year.