Local tuner Steve?s Auto Clinic says it has noticed a ?significant increase? in interest in high-performance bakkies in South Africa since the unveiling of the new Ford Ranger Raptor.

?Following the global reveal of the Ranger Raptor, we have seen a significant increase in enquiries from pick-up owners who would like to apply a similar conversion to their existing Rangers or other pick-ups,? said Tiaan van Wyk, marketing manager at SAC.

The new Ranger Raptor ? which boasts Fox Racing dampers and a 10-speed automatic transmission ? is powered by a twin-turbo 2,0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine worth 157 kW and 500 N.m. Those peak outputs leave it trailing the likes of Volkswagen?s V6 version of the Amarok (165 kW) and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz X350d (190 kW).

Of course, the local tuner says it will happily fit a Unichip/Dastek Power system to your standard Ranger (even though Ford Performance says aftermarket specialists won't be able to match the production Raptor), taking the 2,2 TDCi from 118 kW/385 N.m to 140 kW/450 N.m and the 3,2 TDCi from 147 kW/470 N.m to 170 kW/570 N.m.

?With each of our Elite units, the owner receives a remote control with five pre-programmed engine map settings. The owner can change the engine power and driving characteristics for in-city driving and improved fuel consumption, for towing, normal driving, and of course for more performance. There is even a safe mode that renders the engine powerless and is a powerful anti-theft solution,? said Van Wyk.

SAC also offers tuning packages for the Toyota Hilux, taking the 2,8 GD-6 engine to 170 kW and 575 N.m, and the 2,4 GD-6 to 140 kW and 500 N.m. Also popular, says SAC, is a package for the 2,0-litre BiTDI Amarok, which frees up 180 kW and 450 N.m.

Of course, as we?re always at pains to point out in cases like this, applying such a package to your under-warranty vehicle will see said manufacturer warranty voided?