Yes, the wait is over. The Ford Ranger Raptor has finally hit the market in South Africa, taking its place at the very summit of the Blue Oval brand’s local bakkie line-up.

The new off-road performance bakkie is produced both in Thailand and, of course, at Ford's Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria, South Africa.

So, how much will it cost you? Well, the Ranger Raptor is priced at R786 400 at launch. Interestingly, that makes it cheaper than the V6-powered Mercedes-Benz X350d Power (R973 188) and Volkswagen Amarok 3,0 V6 TDI Extreme (R829 200), but a little more expensive than the Isuzu D-Max 3,0 TD LX Arctic Trucks AT35 (R785 000). 

As a reminder, the bakkie is powered by a new 2,0-litre, four-cylinder bi-turbodiesel engine that already does duty in the updated Ranger (Wildtrak) and refreshed Everest (XLT and Limited). The twin-turbo oil-burner makes 157 kW and 500 N.m, which gives it an advantage of just 10 kW and 30 N.m over the existing 3,2-litre five-pot diesel. This oomph is sent to all four corners via a new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Billed as the “ultimate Ranger”, the Raptor boasts a model-specific grille that takes inspiration from the F-150 Raptor, complete with obligatory block “Ford” lettering. The front bumper gains new LED foglamps as well as functional air-curtain ducts, which Ford says help to “reduce air resistance” of the body. Exterior colour options will include Lightning Blue, Race Red, Shadow Black, Frozen White and Conquer Grey.

The Ranger Raptor stands 1 873 mm tall, 2 180 mm wide and 5 398 mm long, with wider front and rear tracks at 1 710 mm. Ground clearance is increased to 283 mm, while Ford says the approach angle of 32,5°, ramp-over angle of 24° and departure angle of 24° “as a package are superior to anything seen before”.

At the rear, a modified bumper comes with an integrated tow bar and two recovery hooks rated at 3,8 tonnes. Updated styling to the rear includes flush sensor bezels and styled tow connectors. Ford says the 1 560 mm by 1 743 mm load bay has been designed “with the weekend explorer in mind”, while the vehicle's towing capacity comes in at 2 500 kg.

Ford says the Ranger Raptor’s chassis frame was “specifically designed” for the vehicle to travel at high speeds off-road and “endure the punishment that off-road racing provides”. The coilover rear suspension uses a Watt’s link setup with solid rear axle.

The braking system uses twin-piston callipers at the front (increased by 9,5 mm in diameter), while the ventilated rotors measure in at 332 x 32 mm. At the rear, you’ll find disc brakes with an actuation master cylinder and booster. The 332 x 24 mm rear rotors are ventilated and coupled with 54 mm callipers.

The dampers come courtesy of Fox Racing, with 46,6 mm pistons fore and aft, while the all-terrain 285/70 R17 rubber is provided by BF Goodrich. The Ranger Raptor also comes with underbody protection. A so-called “terrain management system” is included, offering six driving modes (normal and sport for on-road use and grass/gravel/snow, mud/sand, rock, and Baja modes for off-road use).

Inside, you’ll find “specially designed” seats that Ford says offer “off-road high-speed performance support”, a spot of blue stitching and some leather accents. There’s also a unique instrument cluster, a new steering wheel (with lightweight magnesium paddle-shifters) and the brand's familiar Sync3 infotainment system.

Safety systems include Ford Stability Control (incorporating a roll mitigation function), electronic stability control, trailer sway control, hill start assist, hill descent control and load adaptive control.