When it comes to late model off-road Ford vehicles, the suffix “Raptor” means you’re getting a well sorted and off-road capable truck or SUV. These are usually loaded with suspension, tire and handling upgrades meant to mimic Ford’s fully built off-road race variants. The Raptor namesake was reserved for the F-150 Raptor since 2010, but now the Bronco and Ranger will have “Raptor” added to the tailend of their title.
Europe has seen an explosion of love for the upper mid-size truck. So naturally, Ford Europe got the jump on introducing it to the world. The new Ranger Raptor is not an up-badged, previous generation trying to relieve Ford of overstock. It is a completely new generation of Ranger and features a powerful engine, active exhaust, several drive modes, and more.
“We’ve really focused on delivering a genuine performance truck with the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor. It’s significantly faster, looks incredible, is packed with new features, and it’s the toughest Ranger we’ve ever made.” Dave Burn, Ford Performance chief programme engineer for Ranger Raptor.
The Ranger Raptor Engine Is Built For Boost
After the Next-Gen Ranger was released, Ford stated a variety of engine choices for these midsize trucks. The Ranger was even shown to be available in Diesel. So, when the Raptor variant was teased, it only furthered our curiosity on which route Ford would take. Well, we finally know the answer! The Ranger Raptor will be coming with a twin-turbo 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine that is built for boost. The graphite-iron cylinder block is 75-percent stiffer and stronger than the normal cast iron used. This twin-turbo combination delivers a massive 284 horsepower and 362 lb-ft of torque.
To stay in the powerband, the Ranger Raptor is equipped with an anti-lag system, a feature that came standard on the Ford GT and Focus ST. This anti-lag system, activated while in Baja mode, removes the turbo lag by continuing to spin the turbochargers for three seconds when you let off the gas pedal. Once the throttle is applied again, the turbos are already in their efficiency range. If that wasn’t over-the-top for a production vehicle, the Ranger Raptor will also have a form of “boost by gear.” The boost by gear is an individual boost profile programmed into the ECU for each of the advanced 10-speed automatic transmissions gears.
“The 3.0L engine brings a different dynamic to the Ranger Raptor that will satisfy even the most hardcore performance enthusiast,” Burn said. “The acceleration and raw performance of the new powertrain leave you grinning from ear-to-ear.”
The Ranger Raptor is built to deliver on its off-road promises, however, matching the magnitude of its off-road worthiness is its ability to be civil. The new Ranger Raptor will have four selectable modes on the active exhaust. You can choose between Quiet, Normal, Sport and Baja. These all are controlled with a push of a button on the steering wheel. While quiet may let you leave the neighborhood peacefully, the Baja mode’s fierce exhaust note may have a few notes left on your windshield.
Chassis And Suspension
The Next-Gen Ranger Raptor will also feature some impressive chassis improvements. The chassis will receive Raptor-specific mounts and reinforcements on the C-pillar, load box and spare wheel. The Jounce bumper, shock tower and rear shock brackets will also set the Ranger Raptor apart from its base Ranger sibling. The suspension will consist of lightweight aluminum upper and lower control arms, long travel front and rear suspension, a refined Watt’s link, and of course FOX Live Valve dampers.
“The suspension upgrades in the Ranger Raptor make the most of the new FOX Live Valve dampers. The suspension adapts in real-time to enable exceptional on-road body control while absorbing corrugations and bigger ruts off-road with ease, ensuring maximum control and performance,” Burn said.
While FOX supplied the hardware, it was the Ford Performance tuning and development team that allowed the products to work so well with the new application. Spring rates, ride height, valve tuning, and more all created a perfect balance of comfort, control, stability and traction, both on- and off-road. The new shocks feature FOX’s Bottom-Out control. Before you start to drive around without pants, this system is related to the shocks only and can stiffen the rear dampers to prevent squatting under hard acceleration.
The Ranger Raptor will come equipped with seven driving modes, however, the biggest announcement is the full-time four-wheel drive system will be equipped with an electronically-controlled and on-demand two-speed transfer case with front and rear locking differentials.
“While Ranger Raptor was inspired by desert racers, it’s also a supremely capable overlanding vehicle. Out of the box we’ve created an off-road vehicle that you don’t need to modify to get you where you need to go and back again safely,” Burn said.
The seven driving modes ranging from the on-road’s Normal, Sport, and Slippery to the off-road’s Rock-Crawl, Sand, Ruts, and the crowd favorite Baja, all work in conjunction with the engine, transmission, ABS, active exhaust, steering and throttle response making sure your ride is on par with the elements you face.
The Next-Gen Ranger Raptor is also equipped with Trail Control, which allows you to set a speed under 20 mph. This allows you to keep your eyes on the trail and let the vehicle do the throttle modulating, it also seems perfect for school zones.
Next-Gen Ranger Raptor Is Coming To America!
While the 2018 Ranger Raptor was never introduced to the American market, fear not my fellow patriots, Jim Farley announced the Ranger and Ranger Raptor will be coming to America. We look forward to seeing the Ranger Raptor handling the Bronco’s Off-roadeo and other trails alike. Unfortunately, we’ll have to witness the Europeans utilizing it first, as availability to purchase this Raptor variant in late summer. Americans will have to wait a bit longer to try our hand.