Ford gives the Ranger off-road mon­grel, but not the boosted V6.

4 x 4 Australia - - Contest -

FOL­LOW­ING a year of spec­u­la­tion and spy shots, the Ford Ranger Rap­tor has been re­vealed, mak­ing its de­but in Thai­land. Aside from the bold, wide-body styling of the be­spoke Rap­tor, the big re­veal was the pow­er­train with a 157kw/500nm, 2.0-litre, bi-turbo diesel, four-cylin­der en­gine fill­ing the en­gine bay, backed by a 10-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion adapted from the F-150 Rap­tor. There is no petrol en­gine op­tion for Aus­tralia, nor is there a ver­sion of the 3.2L diesel that is a favourite with Ranger buy­ers here. Ford rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the re­veal fielded nu­mer­ous ver­sions of the same ques­tion re­gard­ing a petrol pow­er­plant, but would not be drawn on ru­mours of a V6 petrol for the North Amer­i­can mar­ket, to co­in­cide with the re-launch of Ranger into the USA.

The 2.0L en­gine makes more power and torque than the five-cylin­der 3.2L and, ac­cord­ing to Dep Ed Justin Walker, who scored a July 2017 ride in the Rap­tor dur­ing its de­vel­op­ment phase (see page 28 for the full story), the bi-turbo is more than enough to add ex­cite­ment to the ute.

Ja­mal Hameedi, Chief En­gi­neer, Ford Per­for­mance, was at the Thai­land re­veal and said this bi-turbo en­gine and the 10-speed auto (co-de­vel­oped be­tween Ford and GM) were the choices from day one.

“There was the bi-turbo, 10-speed, and there was the bi-turbo, 10-speed,” he said. “We wanted the best diesel avail­able that we could get our hands on.”

Hameedi also reck­oned once peo­ple get a drive in the Rap­tor, the per­for­mance ques­tion will be­come moot.

“You gotta drive it,” he en­thused. “It’s quite sur­pris­ing; you take that [the bi-turbo 2.0L] and you cou­ple it with the 10-speed, which you’re get­ting a lot of gear mul­ti­pli­ca­tion out of... It’s pretty darn im­pres­sive.”

The bi-turbo ar­range­ment on the four-cylin­der diesel en­gine uses both a small and large tur­bocharger work­ing in se­quence, de­pend­ing on en­gine speed and load.

At lower en­gine speeds the two tur­bos work in se­ries for the best torque and re­spon­sive­ness; at higher en­gine speeds the small (high pres­sure) turbo is by­passed and the larger (low pres­sure) turbo pro­vides max­i­mum boost to de­liver more power.


LIKE the F-150 vari­ant that has made the Rap­tor name­plate leg­endary, the Ranger Rap­tor is more than just an en­gine. It’s the desert rac­ing-in­spired chas­sis and sus­pen­sion that re­ally di­als up the adren­a­line lev­els.

The lad­der frame has been strength­ened and adapted to take a coil-sprung rear end in­stead of the tradie-spec leaf springs. This setup is sim­i­lar to that found un­der the back of the Ever­est wagon as it uses a Watts link ar­range­ment, but dif­fers with its coilover Fox shocks that are mounted fur­ther out­board for im­proved sta­bil­ity. The rear wheel track is also wider than that of a stan­dard Ranger to match the 1710mm wide-track front end. The re­sult of all this widen­ing, beef­ing-up and lift­ing is a Ranger Rap­tor that mea­sures 5398mm long, 2180mm wide, 1873mm high, and with a 50mm in­crease in wad­ing height, up to 850mm.

At the front end, forged alu­minium up­per and cast alu­minium lower arms widen the track with Fox Rac­ing again sup­ply­ing the coilovers. The 46mm (front and rear) shocks fea­ture Po­si­tion Sen­si­tive Damp­ing (PSD) tech­nol­ogy. This pro­vides higher damp­ing forces at full com­pres­sion and re­bound to en­able bet­ter per­for­mance in high-speed off-road con­di­tions, and lower damp­ing forces in the mid-travel zone for a more com­fort­able ride on road. Fin­ish­ing off the chas­sis and sus­pen­sion de­vel­op­ment are those big Bfgoodrich KO2 285/70R17LT All Ter­rain tyres, kept in check by the up­graded brak­ing sys­tem, which in­cludes twin-pis­ton cal­lipers on whop­ping 332 x 32mm ven­ti­lated ro­tors at the front, and 332 x 24mm ven­ti­lated rear discs clamped by new 54mm cal­lipers. This sus­pen­sion and chas­sis de­vel­op­ment points at what Ford hopes to get across to the mar­ket; the fact ‘Rap­tor’ means more than just a grunty en­gine, as Hameedi ex­plained.

“If you’re fo­cus­ing on the en­gine you’re miss­ing the whole point,” he said. “The Rap­tor is about the sus­pen­sion, it’s about the chas­sis and about break­ing the bank on the chas­sis. The sus­pen­sion, the ar­chi­tec­ture, shocks. Those four shocks cost as much as a small en­gine – and that’s not an ex­ag­ger­a­tion. So that’s how much money we have tied up in those shocks. And that’s what the Rap­tor is; it’s not about horse­power, it’s not about torque, it’s hav­ing enough horse­power and enough torque to do the job, but it’s not the full goal.”


THE RAP­TOR re­tains a part-time 4x4 sys­tem with low range, but now in­cludes the lat­est ver­sion of Ford’s Ter­rain Man­age­ment Sys­tem (TMS), sim­i­lar to what we see in Ever­est,

but with the lat­est tweaks in­clud­ing ‘Baja mode’, which was pre­vi­ously only ex­clu­sive to the F-150 Rap­tor.

Baja mode de­sen­si­tises the chas­sis elec­tron­ics, in­clud­ing the trac­tion and sta­bil­ity con­trols, giv­ing more con­trol back to the driver while at the same time hold­ing gears in the 10-speed auto and sharp­en­ing the trans­mis­sion and throt­tle re­sponse for high per­for­mance driv­ing. This is the mode to un­leash your in­ner Robby Gor­don as­pi­ra­tions, while the reg­u­lar On-road and Sport modes are there for tar­mac travel and Grass/gravel/snow, Mud/ Sand and Rock modes are there for off-road ter­rain. Fur­ther en­hanc­ing the Rap­tor’s off-road chops is a stan­dard rear diff lock.

John Fallu, man­ager of the trans­mis­sion and driv­e­line for the Rap­tor, was at the re­veal in Thai­land and elab­o­rated on some of the 10-speed auto’s fea­tures and how it works so well with the 2.0L en­gine.

“...This pow­er­train match [be­tween the 10-speed and the 2.0L bi-turbo] pro­vides op­ti­mal per­for­mance, fuel econ­omy and ef­fi­ciency, along with ex­tremely smooth shift­ing,” he said. “It [the gear­box] has a very wide ra­tio span in very small gear steps, which pro­vides the smooth shift­ing... The other ben­e­fit of the small gear ra­tio steps is, whether you are driv­ing in a per­for­mance man­ner, it al­lows the en­gine to main­tain its peak per­for­mance by op­er­at­ing at a peak horse­power point. The other ad­van­tage of the 10-speed trans­mis­sion and why we’ve



made it so spe­cific to the 2BTD is from an ef­fi­ciency stand­point; just like it can match the peak horse­power of the en­gine it can also match the peak fuel map of the en­gine to make sure you’re al­ways op­er­at­ing in that peak fuel ef­fi­ciency point.”

Fallu went on to dis­cuss the gear­box’s dura­bil­ity, point­ing to the fact it is cur­rently used in the F-150 Rap­tor and has also been sub­jected to more than six mil­lion kilo­me­tres of “test miles”, in­clud­ing the Baja 1000 and “2900 kilo­me­tres of ad­di­tional desert test­ing”. Fallu points to the gear­box’s roller one-way clutch [po­si­tioned in the front of the ’box] as an­other ben­e­fit: this “key fea­ture” en­sures smooth shift­ing in low-speed (read: low-range off-road work) con­di­tions, com­pared to what Fallu de­scribes as “shift jerk­ing” from other trans­mis­sions.


RANGER Rap­tor’s styling ob­vi­ously comes from its big­ger Amer­i­can cousin, the F-150, with the sig­na­ture black grille and bold FORD let­ter­ing. The front ’guards are made from a com­pos­ite ma­te­rial and are pumped out to cover the wider wheel track and ac­com­mo­date the tyres with more sus­pen­sion com­pres­sion. The rear cargo tub (1560mm wide; 1743mm long) also gets the pro­nounced ’guards for tyre clear­ance, while that new rear bumper fea­tures an in­te­grated tow bar to dra­mat­i­cally im­prove the de­par­ture an­gle. This is now 24-de­grees while the ap­proach an­gle is 32.5-degress and ram­pover is 24-de­grees. Ground clear­ance is listed at 283mm, while wad­ing depth is now a claimed 850mm. As with the F-150 vari­ant, the tow­ing ca­pac­ity of the Ranger Rap­tor is rated lower than the reg­u­lar Ranger, at 2500kg, due to its driv­e­train and sus­pen­sion pack­age that is more set up for per­for­mance than load-haul­ing.

In­side, the Rap­tor gets trim unique in the Ranger line-up. The front seats fea­ture heavy bol­sters to bet­ter hold the oc­cu­pants in place at high speed off-road, while the full suite of fea­tures and equip­ment are in­cluded. Of in­ter­est are the mag­ne­sium gear-shift pad­dles be­hind the Rap­tor-unique steer­ing wheel, and the use of key­less en­try and push-but­ton start; fea­tures we hope ex­tend to the up­dated Ranger and Ever­est mod­els later this year.

The Rap­tor will sit at the top of the 2019 Ranger line-up when it ar­rives in Aus­tralia in the third quar­ter of this year; although, there has been no word on price as yet. Ford tells us this will come closer to the launch date. With the level of be­spoke sus­pen­sion up­grades, mod­i­fied and re­in­forced chas­sis, unique en­gine and trans­mis­sion, and the bold ex­te­rior de­sign, we’re tip­ping the Rap­tor won’t come cheap – nor will it be for ev­ery­one.

The Ranger Wild­trak is al­ready more than $60K and we reckon the Rap­tor will be closer to $85-90K. That is a lot of money for any ute, but the Ranger Rap­tor won’t be just any ute.

“It is amaz­ing to en­able this level of per­for­mance and cre­ate a ve­hi­cle that can pro­vide off-road en­thu­si­asts such an adren­a­line rush,” Hameedi said. “It re­ally is like a mo­tocross bike, snow­mo­bile and an ATV rolled up into a pickup truck – it’s an in­cred­i­ble, awe­some ex­pe­ri­ence!”

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