Fords’ hottest big bakkie

The new Ranger SVT Rap­tor will be launched in 2017, but won’t be com­ing to SA’s shores

The Witness - Wheels - - SUPPLEMENTS - AL­WYN VILJOEN

GO ahead. Make snide re­marks about men hav­ing to com­pen­sate, but I likes me a beeeg bakkie.

And they don’t come much big­ger and bad­der than the Ford Ranger SVT Rap­tor.

Ford may well have called it the EST Rap­tor, as this is the group’s strong­est, fastest, big­gest and hottest bakkie yet.

Sadly, for us big bakkie lovers in South Africa, a right-hand steer­ing ver­sion will not be made, so the Rap­tor will not go on sale lo­cally. (Although there is a way around this. Sort of. More be­low.)

Ford plans to launch its new Baja-style per­for­mance Rap­tor only in 2017. For those who don’t know, the Baja is a desert race in Mex­ico that the Americans deem almost as tough as the Dakar. (For more on how hard the Dakar is, read South Africa’s fastest rider’s story on page 8.)

The im­por­tant dif­fer­ence be­tween the Dakar and the Baja is that Baja rac­ers can go foot flat all day in huge rally bakkies and then re­treat to cold beers in air-con­di­tioned cam­per vans as the sun sets.

The Rap­tor is styled to be both the huge rally bakkie and the air-con­di­tioned cam­per van all in one.

In the words of the Amer­i­can mag­a­zine Car and Truck : “The Rap­tor flies over dry riverbeds at crazy speeds but rides like a Lin­coln on-road.”

The cur­rent Rap­tor uses a 6,2-litre V8 en­gine. Giv­ing a tiny nod to the cer­tainty of higher oil prices to come, the 2017 Rap­tor will have a twin-tur­bocharged 3,5-litre V6 en­gine with di­rect fuel in­jec­tion, which prom­ises to be more pow­er­ful and less thirsty than that the V8 guz­zler in the Rap­tor.

The V6 en­gine will be linked to a 10speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

This will be the first com­mer­cial de­ploy­ment of the 10-speed trans­mis­sion jointly de­vel­oped by Ford and GM, and odds are this gear­box will soon ap­pear in the Mus­tang.

Un­der the 35-inch wheel arches, Fox Rac­ing shocks keep the big wheels on the ground, a Torsen limited-slip front dif­fer­en­tial keeps them turn­ing and a new trans­fer case en­sures the best torque is ap­plied — aided and abet­ted by an elec­tronic Ter­rain Man­age­ment Sys­tem. This com­puter brain gives the driver the usual Nor­mal, Rock and Mud pre-set op­tions, but adds three more: Street, Weather and Baja. Street is ob­vi­ous, weather means del­uge and Baja pre­sum­ably means sand with cacti.

Two years from now, the new Rap­tor is ex­pected to sell from about $50 000 (about R582 000) be­fore im­port taxes.

If your ac­coun­tant thinks this is a bit steep, tell him the en­gi­neers at Ford Per­for­mance have tuned this bakkie to take on the Baja Rally straight off the show room floor and that by com­par­i­son, one of the Dakar-ready Rac­ing Rangers built by Neil Wool­ridge in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg will set you back a few mil­lion.

South Africans who would like to ex­pe­ri­ence some of the Rap­tor thrill can leave about R32 000 and their 3,2 Ran- ger at a branch of Steve’s Auto Clinic. After a week or so, they can re­turn to fetch the Ranger, which will now have a bon­net scoop, fen­der flairs, mid-bumper LEDs and even an imi­ta­tion Rap­tor grille. A De Graaf cus­tom ex­haust and some cus­tom elec­tron­ics will have boosted power from the 3,2-litre 177 kW and 566 Nm.

This is good for a 12 sec­ond 0-100 km/ h and good enough to take on the Yanks’ Rap­tor in the cor­ners.


Not com­ing to a dealer near you at all. The Ranger SVT Rap­tor, Fords big­gest, hottest 4x4 bakkie yet.

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