GET AIR, DON’T TOW
1. IT HAS A 2.0-LITRE ENGINE
For all its machismo and $75K-plus price tag, the Ranger Raptor has a (relatively) small fourcylinder diesel under the bonnet, with twin turbochargers and a 10-speed auto giving the 2.0-litre a boost. The 0-100km/h time claimed by Ford and verified by us and other outlets is 10.5 seconds, about as quick as a Toyota Corolla. The VW Amarok TDV6 and RAM 1500 V8 both stop the clocks in 7.8 seconds.
2. IT’S HEAVY
All that extra gear — such as the insanely good Fox shocks, unique chassis, wider track, bigger brakes and nobbly tyres — add a heap of weight that pushes the Raptor past 2.4 tonnes. The 2.0-litre engine and transmission are good for hauling 3500kg in the Ranger XLT and Wildtrak but the Raptor’s tow capacity is capped at 2500kg because the suspension is designed to handle jumps rather than big trailers. The turning circle is broader than most rivals but not awkwardly huge.
3. IT’S SLIPPERY WHEN WET
When we tested the Raptor at the launch in the Northern Territory I came away gobsmacked by how much grip the BF Goodrich K02 tyres had. Whether trying to corner on rubble or powder-like dust, they were so profoundly good they felt like velcro. On sealed roads they don’t hum as much as other off-road tyres. And their dry braking performance is on par with less aggressive rubber. There is, however, one large caveat. These tyres are dicey in the wet. Even on a mildly damp road after a light shower the tyres struggle to move from rest without triggering traction control. When it’s wet, proceed with caution.
4. THERE ARE FEW FAULTS TO FORGIVE
It’s more than just a dress-up kit. The thoroughness of the engineering is quite remarkable, especially given it will sell in relatively small numbers. Buying a factory-built and backed desert racer off the showroom floor is no small feat. The Raptor is liveable day-today, despite its gnarly off-road potential. Disc brakes at each corner have a precise feel and do the job. The artificial engine sound does an OK job of disguising what’s under the bonnet and you soon adjust your driving style to get the most out of it, which usually involves pressing the accelerator earlier and for longer.
5. THERE’S ROOM TO IMPROVE
Ford would have a world-beater if it could fit the next Raptor with a turbo diesel similar to the VW Amarok’s, find a tyre that has better grip in the wet and engineer a genuine 3500kg towing capability.