4WDrive - - Contents - Check out the YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/g-kIM3F2hEY

The North Amer­i­can Ford Ranger was un­veiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show in Jan­uary to wel­com­ing fans of com­pact pick-up trucks. The Toy­ota Ta­coma ruled the roost (and many say it still does) for years with­out se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion, un­til GM re-en­tered the mar­ket with the Colorado/Canyon combo.

Off-road lovers had to be sat­is­fied with the com­pe­tent Ta­coma TRD Pro, and were then given the op­tion of the ZR2 edi­tion of the Colorado with both a gas and diesel en­gine op­tion! Life was good, ex­cept for Ford fa­nat­ics. The Ford Ranger was sold over­seas to com­pete with the Toy­ota Hilux (the global ver­sion of the Ta­coma), but here at home Ford wouldn’t ante up and come to the ta­ble.

With the res­ur­rec­tion of the Ranger badge in 2019, Ford fans will get the op­por­tu­nity to buy a Ford com­pact pickup again, but not an off-road wor­thy com­peti­tor to the Taco TRD Pro or Colorado ZR2.

They say pa­tience is a virtue, and that hope springs eter­nal. Com­pact pick-up fans will need both. The Ranger Rap­tor is an off-road mas­ter­piece. If Cana­dian wheel­ers could re­quest a per­for­mance off-road daily driver it would spec out like the Ranger Rap­tor. 46.6 mm (1.83 inch) Fox rac­ing shocks with po­si­tion sen­si­tive damp­en­ing suck up bumpy ter­rain while leg­endary BFGoodrich K02 All Ter­rain T/A’s in a 285/70R17 tena­ciously grab hold of the earth, driv­ing you for­ward over any land­scape.

“We are so ex­cited and proud to un­leash this ve­hi­cle to the pub­lic, driv­ing it re­ally makes you feel like a hero,” said Ja­mal Hameedi, chief en­gi­neer, Ford Per­for­mance. “The Ford Per­for­mance team is ex­cited to ex­tend the Rap­tor name from our flag­ship off-road per­for­mance F-150 to Ranger. Just like the F-150 Rap­tor, the Ranger Rap­tor builds upon the core ca­pa­bil­ity of the range of ve­hi­cles it comes from and car­ries the un­mis­tak­able Ford Per­for­mance DNA ap­pear­ance.”

Ground clear­ance is 283 mm (11.1 in - the F-150 Rap­tor is 11.5 in), Ranger Rap­tor ap­proach/breakover/de­par­ture

an­gles are 32.5°, 24° and 24°, and if that’s not enough there are steel skid plates un­der­neath to pro­tect the im­por­tant bits. Off-road neces­sories in­clude front and rear re­cov­ery hooks and LED fogs.

A 2.0L Bi-turbo diesel en­gine gen­er­ates 210 hp and 368 lb ft of torque. At low revs, both the low- and high-pres­sure tur­bos spool up in se­ries for max torque, then the high is by­passed and the low gen­er­ates in­creased horse­power.

Power gets to the wheels via a close ra­tio ten-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion with avail­able pad­dle-shift. There are a num­ber of pre-pro­grammed modes avail­able in­clud­ing nor­mal and sport mode for on-road use, and then four of­froad set­tings. For greasy con­di­tions you get Grass/Gravel/Snow mode to re­duce slip­page, Mud/Sand max­i­mizes torque and trac­tion, Rock mode for con­trol over un­even ter­rain and Baja mode for high speed dune run­ning, which al­lows for more slide from the wheels un­der the throt­tle and brake, and holds the gears longer for high-speed per­for­mance.

Like most new pick-ups the Ranger Rap­tor gets key­less en­try, re­mote start, Ford’s SYNC 3 voice com­mand sys­tem, sta­bil­ity con­trol, trailer sway con­trol, hill start as­sist, hill de­scent con­trol, load adap­tive con­trol, elec­tric power-as­sisted steer­ing, roll mit­i­ga­tion and lane keep as­sist. For out­door en­thu­si­asts the sat-nav sys­tem lets you drop “bread­crumbs” so you can find your way home.

Which is (or will be) the best off-road com­pact pick-up? In my mind, the point is moot, as Ford has not re­vealed plans to launch the Ranger Rap­tor in Canada. You can go the tried and true Ta­coma TRD Pro, but the Colorado ZR2 specs out, and tests out as the bet­ter choice. If you’re jonesing for an off-road com­pact - can you wait two years to see what comes?

The Ranger Rap­tor has bet­ter clear­ance

than the ZR2, which has 22.6 cm (8.9 in) clear­ance, 30° ap­proach, 23.5° breakover and de­par­ture, and com­par­ing diesels, the Ranger has more hp (210 vs 181 in the ZR2), with both com­ing in at a tie with 369 lb ft of torque.

In de­fence of the ZR2, the diesel has a larger dis­place­ment (2.8 vs the Rangers 2.0L) and you can get both front and rear lock­ing diffs right from the fac­tory with your ZR2. And you can get the ZR2 to­day.

I sus­pect that if and when the Ranger Rap­tor lands in Canada, it will have even more com­pe­ti­tion in­clud­ing a new Taco TRD Pro, and who knows what else?

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