Good news for fans of hefty pick-ups in the American style – the Ford Ranger Raptor is coming to Ireland in mid-2019. Its big European launch came late in August, becoming the first ever vehicle revealed at Gamescon, the continent’s largest video gaming event – two Range Raptors acted as rather striking bookends at the Ford stand and it was announced that the model will be added to the upcoming Forza Horizon 4, the open-world racing game on Xbox.
You might be used to seeing the Ford Ranger – available in single or doublecab format and capable of hauling around one tonnes in its rear bed. But what exactly does the Raptor tagline bring to the table? In the US, the Raptor has been a beefed-up version of the extremely popular F-150 pick-up, a high-performance off-road truck designed to live in the wild – think larger tires, a wider bed, long-travel springs and shocks and a 5.4L or 6.2L V8 engine block (the latter later replaced by a 3.5L twin turbocharged V6).
While not quite as enthusiastic in terms of power – launching with a somewhat scaled back 2.0L 213bhp twin turbo EcoBlue Diesel engine – the new Ranger Raptor is still built to withstand high-impact off-road activities, coupling a strong, reinforced chassis frame, a racing-inspired suspension, heightened shock absorbers and high-performance dampers with all-terrain Goodrich tyres specifically developed for the Ranger Raptor and a 2.3mm thick high-strength steel bash plate for underbody protection. Flared composite front fenders are designed to shrug off damage from off-roading and facilitate longer suspension travel and the oversized tyres.
Alongside the twin turbo 2.0L block is a ten-speed automatic gearbox that it will share with the F-150 Raptor, built from high-strength steel, aluminium alloys and composites to save weight and increase its durability.
“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.”
To help keep you on all four wheels, the new Raptor will also include six Terrain Management modes covering a wide range of terrain and driving scenarios. Normal is built for comfort, fuel economy and driveability, Sport provides you with a bit more spirited driving on tarmac. Grass/Gravel/Snow inspires more confidence on slippy surfaces, Mud/Sand improves traction and momentum, Rock offers smooth controllability on low-speed rocky terrain and Baja is designed for when you want to emulate the high-speed offroading on display at the Baja Desert Rally.
“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, the Ranger Raptor’s chief programme engineer. “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.”
2019 Ford Ranger Raptor
Engine: 2.0L twin turbo
Torque: 500 Nm