Ford “launches” Ranger Raptor in regional reveal

BANGKOK—After much anticipation from the global motoring community, Ford Motor Company last week unveiled to the world its first-ever Ranger Raptor, Ford’s latest masterpiece of a performance pickup truck, inspired by the success of North America’s gargantuan F-150 Raptor truck. As soon as it hits the dealerships, it will be Asia Pacific’s only factory-built performance truck to date.

Exuding a lot of brawn yet coming in at just the right size – 1873mm tall, 2180mm wide and 5398mm long – fit for the demand of the Asia Pacific region, the design cues in the Ranger Raptor are screaming with Ford’s distinctive Performance DNA. The architecture is the same as the Ranger’s, but the trim is unique.

Ford literally “launched” the new Ranger Raptor in Thailand

It is the only pickup with a Watt’s linkage rear suspension with coilover rear springs that provide excellent lateral control. Yet Ford engineers were quick to point out that the crown jewels of the Ranger Raptor are in its expensive, racing-spec dampers. It includes standard front and rear Fox Racing Shox shock absorbers, which enable velocity and position-sensitive damping; thus permitting the Ranger Raptor to comfortably travel at high speeds, even while off-road.

The Ranger Raptor claims to be a really good vehicle for long distance driving—It is versatile enough to adjust to feel like a luxury vehicle while on paved roads—and immediately transforms into an extreme off-road monster when necessary. Compared to the typical Ranger, its suspension and tire size and ground clearance have all significantly increased.

The custom Fox Racing Shox used on the Ranger Raptor

And to support such extreme off-road action, the Ranger Raptor is the first to use a 2.0L twin-turbo diesel engine, that despite being of smaller displacement compared to the previous 3.2L engine, actually spits out more power at 157kW and 500Nm of torque. It is mated with the same automatic transmission as that found in the F-150 – an astonishing 10-speed transmission that is specifically powertrain-matched. Having this allowed the engineers to key in wide gear ratios in very small ratio steps (for optmized gear spacing), resulting in better acceleration and responsiveness.

“The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road versus any other available production road vehicle in our markets, and still ride like a millionaire on-road,” exclaimed Ford’s Chief Program Engineer for the Ranger Raptor, Damien Ross. “Everything about the Ranger Raptor builds on the already outstanding sophisticated feel and functional capability of the Ranger, and then goes further. From a driving dynamic, fun standpoint, it is really an exceptionally special vehicle,” he added.

What’s helpful to know is that every aspect of the design of the Ranger Raptor exists for a functional purpose, and not merely for aesthetics. For example, the aggressive front bumper has air curtain ducts where wind can pass through to reduce aerodynamic drag (and not simply to look good). The front fenders are molded from composite materials that resist dents and dings that often come along with off-road adventures. The side step boards have holes in them to allow potential sand, mud or snow to drain through. The seats are also specially architectured for off-road, high-speed performance support; and make use of technical suede for additional occupant grip. Meanwhile, the Ranger Raptor has a towing capacity of up to 2,500 kg.

Moreover, to make operating the Ranger Raptor as simple as can be across different road conditions, it comes equipped with a Terrain Managment System (TMS) that offers six driving modes: Normal, Sport, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Sand, Rock, and Baja – the world’s first high-speed, off-road driving mode (named after the iconic Baja Desert Trail).

Having said all that, the Ranger Raptor is (like its father, the F-150) a truly aspirational product that takes off-road performance to an entirely new level.

“It really is like a motocross bike, snowmobile and an ATV rolled up into a pickup truck – it’s an incredible, awesome experience,” said Ford Performance Chief Engineer Jamal Hameedi, of his interpretation of the Ranger Raptor.

The Ranger Raptor will be produced in Ford Thailand’s manufacturing plant, and units are expected to arrive in the Philippines later in 2018. So far nothing has yet been said about the retail price, except that it will obviously cost more than the Wildtrack; but nevertheless be priced very competitively.

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