The world just seems to not be able to get enough of the Ford Ranger Raptor as its official foray into the European market seems imminent and due as early as next month. The lesser of the Raptor pickups from the Dearborn-based automaker is a far more sensible machine for most locales and its roads, leading to its somewhat predictable popularity.
Of course, the Ranger itself has already been tweaked for sale in North America, but the Yanks aren’t yet deemed worthy of having another Raptor variant in its home portfolio. But unlike the F-150 Raptor’s turbocharged petrol V6, the 2.0-litre bi-turbo EcoBlue diesel will also be supplying power to all European Ranger Raptors.
Indeed, the Australian automotive landscape is already quite familiar with both the Ranger Raptor and its new four-cylinder diesel engine which has spread throughout the ute’s range. Likewise, there really isn’t much to differentiate ours from the ones headed for new markets like the United Kingdom. What’s new to them isn’t at all new to anyone else.
“Forget everything you think you know about pick-ups,” said Leo Roeks, Ford Performance Director, Europe. “Our new Ranger Raptor is a different breed – a thoroughbred desert racer and extreme lifestyle off-roader that can toil with the best of them in the harshest of working conditions.”
Hence, all the staples of the Ranger Raptor as we know it are replicated for the Euro market. Of course, the EcoBlue unit delivers the same 157kW and 500Nm to which most of us are accustomed, sent through all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission.
On those corners are stubby BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres and a suspension array developed specifically for the Ranger Raptor, which includes aluminium control arms, FOX shock absorbers, a bespoke coil-over rear setup with integrated Watt’s linkages.
Altogether, the Raptor stands 51mm taller and 150mm wider than the Ranger XLT, allowing for a 283mm ground clearance, 850mm wading depth, and a 32.5 degree approach angle for truly impressive off-road ability.
“The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road and still ride like a millionaire on-road,” said Damien Ross, chief program engineer, Ranger Raptor, Ford Motor Company. “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.”
According to Ford Europe, the Ranger is already the region’s best-selling pick-up, managing to shift 13,600 units in its first quarter of 2019 alone, an increase of 15 percent over the same period in the previous year. The introduction of the crowd-pleasing Ranger Raptor can only accelerate those already strong figures.