4WORD

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

NEW VE­HI­CLE launches can be a bit of fun some­times, but usu­ally the fun­ni­est part is read­ing the horse-shit dribble out in the press af­ter­wards by peo­ple who should know bet­ter.

It seems that some sec­tions of the mo­tor­ing me­dia are more con­cerned with what the car com­pa­nies are not go­ing to sell rather than what was just launched.

The re­cent Ford Ranger Rap­tor launch was no ex­cep­tion, with

head­lines such as Eco­boost con­sid­ered for Ranger Rap­tor, Why

no man­ual for Rap­tor? and Mus­tang En­gine for Rap­tor all be­ing bandied about dif­fer­ent out­lets.

It’s not just lim­ited to the new Rap­tor, though. If I have to read that Mercedes-benz is con­sid­er­ing an AMG ver­sion of the X-class ute again, af­ter the com­pany has de­nied it since the car’s in­cep­tion, even I might start be­liev­ing it.

I mean, what en­gi­neer worth his Stahlwilles wouldn’t smirk if you sug­gested a V8 en­gine in their lat­est truck, even if it was never go­ing to hap­pen? But never say never, stranger things have hap­pened.

The ques­tions over the Rap­tor’s pow­er­plant are not with­out value. The un­der­whelm­ing per­for­mance of the new 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel en­gine has many pun­dits ques­tion­ing what else is on of­fer from Ford Per­for­mance.

Yet through­out the launch the folks with blue ovals on their dust coats em­phat­i­cally said there was no other en­gine and trans­mis­sion ever con­sid­ered for Rap­tor, nor is there any­thing else planned. Maybe the neg­a­tive re­view will spark the dust­coat wear­ers into ac­tion with a more po­tent pow­er­train.

The prob­a­ble prospect of the Ranger Rap­tor go­ing on sale in the USA next year poses the op­tion of a petrol-fu­elled en­gine, and the most likely op­tion there would be the 2.3litre Eco­boost en­gine as seen in the Ford Mus­tang, not the V6 Eco­boost from the F150 Rap­tor. But Ford, like all the other man­u­fac­tur­ers, see no mar­ket for petrol-fu­elled 4x4 utes in this coun­try.

Maybe, we’ll just have to wait for the ge­niuses at Kil­lar­ney Con­ver­sions and Har­rop to slot a V8 into the Rap­tor or a HSV Sport­scat be­fore we get a true per­for­mance 4x4 ute in this coun­try.

MATT RAUDONIKIS 4WORD

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