Falling for the Ford Ranger Raptor, again

I got married recently and my wife is from Bulacan. If you’re thinking of SJDM near Fairview, Meycauayan, or Marilao; she’s way past those. My wife’s family resides in San Rafael, a good 50 or so kilometers away from my place in QC. My cute little Suzuki Celerio takes a lot of beating after NLEX everytime we go there that all I could think of was “I wish I had the Ranger Raptor.”

I admit that’s a spoiled thought, but you can’t blame me. The first Ranger Raptor that arrived here was a game changer. While other trucks were meant for slow off-roading and crawling, Ford’s gnarly pickup was meant to go fast on the dirt. It was a surprise that its FOX suspension was a great package for city driving too. It’s very stable on the asphalt and all those potholes in EDSA and C5 seemed like little gravel bumps without rocking the whole chassis of the truck.

Now with the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor it has the same suspension and powertrain setup. However, it’s priced at PHP 2,339,000. Is it plain overpriced or are we getting more for shelling out more? Gist is – it’s worth it. 

The front face received much of the obvious changes. It has a bolder F-O-R-D grille that stretches across into the headlight housing. The wheels were also tweaked though it remained all-black. Meanwhile, the rear was also redesigned to have hourglass LED taillights, contoured tailgate, and new bumper design.

What I appreciate about all this is that Ford made most of these changes very functional. The new headlights aren’t just for style points but very useful. These Matrix LEDs turn a bit together with the steering, ensuring your way is lighted up. It also has a smart hi-beam system so you can have maximum lighting without blinding oncoming cars. As someone who drives to the province at night, this smart system is a great companion.

Under the side mirrors are the brightest puddle lamps I’ve seen in any car that you won’t step on dog poo by mistake. At the cargo bed there are now tie-down hooks for your things and two capped power outlets (12v socket and standard 230v plug up to 400w). This means if you’re having a tailgate tambay session or glamping mode, you can use your light devices like air compressor with the 12v socket, and an air fryer with the other plug. With its maximum output of 400w that can even accommodate a small fridge. 

Moving to the cabin, it’s now more lively than before. The signature orange accents on the dashboard are now extended to the seats up to the second row. Rear occupants also have more amenities as they get twin air vents, 1 USB-A and 1 USB-C port along with a standard 230v socket. No more powerbank usage while in the Raptor – nice. 

The dashboard layout is the same as the Ranger Wildtrak but what’s different here are three things. First is the shifter, since this Raptor has an Auto Park feature, it has the smaller and softer electronic shifter. I say those adjectives because it’s easy to get into Park when my real intention is Reverse. It has to do with the spacing of the gears and how soft they are compared to the non-electronic shifter. 

Second and third difference is the steering wheel. There’s a lovely contour at the back of the 9 and 3 position that you’ll find your hands glued there. It’s very intuitive and smart since that’s the ideal hand position nowadays. Another thing is the steering of this Ranger Raptor is more firm than that of the previous Raptor, and of the current Ranger Wildtraks. That gives this truck more control at whatever speed you’re at. It also gets firmer when 1 – you get past 60kph, and 2 – you activate the Lane Keeping System. 

Now the powertrain of the Ranger Raptor is the same as before. It has the 2-liter Bi-Turbo diesel that makes 204 and 500, paired to a 10-speed automatic. The suspension is the same too with FOX taking care of everything. For fuel economy, it tallied 8 km/l in the city but on the highway, it reached lower numbers at only 13 km/l compared to other pickups I’ve tested at 15 km/l. My guess is, the advanced safety features weighed it down a bit. I’d wholeheartedly accept that though because it made me fall for the Ranger Raptor again. 

If the first Ranger Raptor made me fall in love with it via its suspension, I fell for this second one because of its advanced safety features. The first one rides good inside the city, but this second one is easier to drive overall. It has things like Blind Spot Monitoring for traversing the chaotic QC Circle, Autonomous Emergency Braking (which isn’t overreacting) for those sudden braking jeeps and other public vehicles, Front and Rear Cross Traffic Alert for getting out of roadside parking spots, Reverse Brake Assist, Active Park Assist for tight parking lots, and 360-Camera System for tight turns in fast-food drive-thrus among others. Highway runs are also a breeze thanks to the Lane Keep System and the Adaptive Cruise Control, or if you prefer there’s also an Adjustable Speed Limiter.

Of course, not everything is for the city dweller. There’s also something new for the weekend off-roaders called Trail Control. It’s basically a low speed cruise control meant for off-road crawling. It will take over the throttle and brakes at your set speed – as low as 2km/h – so that you can focus on steering. I’ve tried it in Vietnam and the wonderful thing about it is, it doesn’t let go even during descents. Let’s say you’re going over a big rock. It will crawl steadily and once it gets past the rock’s peak, it won’t come crashing down its descent. Instead, it’s still controlled, at the speed you set, without any hiccups. This may vary though if you haven’t chosen the correct drive mode but that’s part of the Ranger Raptor’s fun, it leaves things to be explored as you go on the dirt. 

The long and short of it all is this 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor is now a 2-faced pickup. Not only is it formidable on the dirt, it’s also comfortable and easy to drive while inside the city. Some will raise their eyebrows at the price tag of PHP 2,339,000 but it’s more than justified with the Ranger Raptor advanced safety suite. Those with extended families that need a 7-seater need to look somewhere else. But to the rest of us who are on our own, this 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor can be the only car you’ll need in your garage. Just invest in a good pickup bed cover. 

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