South Africa’s locally built and premier performance bakkie has its highly anticipated replacement on the way but that doesn’t mean the outgoing model is any less capable than it was before. Here are some of the standout features of the Ford Ranger Raptor that make it such an appealing lifestyle bakkie.
Paying in the region of a million Rand for a bakkie isn’t something commonplace in our market yet. The outgoing Ranger Raptor is in that ballpark and the newly revealed iteration is expected to be well over the milestone price. Looking into the details reveals why the esteemed model has seen such success despite its price tag.
It is no secret that South Africans love their bakkies, with the perennial favourite Toyota Hilux topping sales charts month in and month out according to Naamsa. That being said, a bakkie will naturally do well in our local market so why not combine its versatility with luxury and performance for a niche market? That is what we have here with the Ford Ranger Raptor by taking the standard model and completely overhauling it for an uncompromising experience.
It retains the same banal 2-litre bi-turbo diesel engine from other models in the Ranger portfolio. This means that it produces 157 kW and 500 N.m, more than sufficient to comfortably cruise around town and just enough to kick up loose road-surface when the traction control is disengaged. Power is transferred via a 10-speed automatic torque converter to a four-wheel drive system which is connected to the ground with 285/70/R17 General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tyres.
A noteworthy detail of the Ranger Raptor is its 63mm-diameter Fox Racing dampers which offer 32% more travel at the rear with 18% more up front. This hardware offers Position Sensitive Damping that can adjust forces in response to changing driving scenarios. The remaining suspension setup has also been revised to allow for more spirited off-road driving, new aluminium front double wishbones are on the front corners while bespoke solid axle multi-link system rear architecture replaces leaf springs at the rear.
All of these upgrades mean that the wheels and tyres have been considerably offset. The front and rear tracks are each 150 mm wider while the suspension and tyre tweaks mean the Ranger Raptor sits 51 mm taller than standard. As expected, off-road ability has been improved with 283 mm of ground clearance and 850 mm of water wading.
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To accommodate the wider tracks, bespoke mouldings can be found above the wheel arches of the widened front and rear fenders. New, integrated bumpers follow the paradigm of usability with a 32.5° approach angle and 24° breakover and departure angle.
Ford foresaw the contortion and acrobatics the lifestyle bakkie would be subject to and went beneath the surface to reinforce the ladder frame with high density low-alloy steels. This means it can take an extra 1G of impact without any serious flexing.
While the interior of the Ranger Raptor has been made more plush, it retains the usability and practicality of a bakkie. Electrically adjustable seats ensconced the front passengers comfortably with revised bolster and headrest designs ensuring things don’t get too wild on the inside the same way they may be on the outside. Six pre-set driving modes are available, the most fun of which is Baja mode which is designed for total off-road performance in either rear or four-wheel drive settings.
The 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor builds on this success but will offer a more potent 3-litre V6 mill to really get the blood pumping!