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157kW/500Nm 2018 Ford Ranger Raptor Revealed… photos and details

The 157kW/500Nm 2018 Ford Ranger Raptor has been revealed in Thailand… “loaded with Ford Performance DNA”.

THE 2018 FORD RANGER RAPTOR is one of this year’s most anticipated new vehicles, with Facebook pages dedicated to it and Internet forums and news stories melting the internet. Well, the wait is over and the Ranger Raptor has finally been revealed in full.

The Ranger Raptor’s development was led by the Ford Performance team and sees the Raptor name made famous by its much bigger brother the F-150 Raptor shared with the smaller pick-up.

Speaking in Thailand today, Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance said, “We are so excited and proud to unleash this vehicle to the public, driving it really makes you feel like a hero.

“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.”

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

The Ranger Raptor clearly borrows from the F-150 Raptor with its bold FORD lettering popping off the grille, while a front bumper mounted directly to the frame ensure off-road durability… looks good too. The front bumper includes LED fog lamps with “functional” air-curtain ducts, which help to channel air around the body. The front fenders are made from composite materials like a true desert racer, with the intention they’ll better handle knocks.

The blistered guards are necessary for the long-travel suspension and oversized tyres. The side steps are better described as rock sliders and are constructed from aluminium alloy die-cast. Tests saw Ford engineers apply a 100kg load to the sliders a staggering 84,000 times to simulate 10 years of use. The steps/sliders are powder coated and then coated in a grit paint for grip and longevity.

The vehicle is bigger than a garden variety Ranger, measuring 1873mm tall, 2180mm wide and 5398mm long, with wider front and rear tracks at 1710mm. Ground clearance is increased to 283mm, while the approach angle of 32.5°, ramp over angle of 24°, and departure angle of 24° put it at the top of the production vehicle pick-up segment.

At the rear, a modified rear bumper comes with an integrated tow bar and two recovery hooks rated at 3800kg, the front hooks are rated to 4500kg. The tray measures 1560mm x 1743mm tray while the maximum braked towing capacity is 2500kg.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Climb inside and there’s a Ford Performance DNA interior inspired by the interior of the F-150 Raptor. That means sports seats covered in “technical suede”, so, not suede at all… a dual stage cushion helps to keep the driver comfy while dialing out chassis vibration, according to Ford.

Beyond the blue stitching and leather accents, there’s a new steering wheel with magnesium shift paddles. The steering wheel also bears an on-centre marker “to let you know where the centre is when operating the vehicle at high speed”. The steering wheel is finished off with the Raptor logo debossed into the spoke bezel.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Beneath the skin, the Ranger Raptor is very different to its garden variety siblings, getting a new coilover rear suspension utilising a Watt’s link setup with solid rear axle. “Built to withstand high-impact off-road events, Ranger Raptor’s frame consists of various grades of high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steel. The stiffened side-rails are made from increased HSLA grade steel to absorb off-road high speed impacts,” Ford said.

With no word in the press kit on whether the Ranger Raptor was AWD like the F-150 Raptor or ran the standard set-up of the Ranger, Practical Motoring asked Ford Australia for clarification. We needn’t have bothered; it was late when the story dropped and I didn’t look closely at the interior pics. Ford Australia’s response was that the Ranger Raptor was indeed 4WD but didn’t elaborate. And it’s right, it is 4WD, but as one eagle-eyed reader has pointed out, you can clearly see the 2H, 4H, 4Lo selector dial in the interior pic. So, the Ranger Raptor is not all-wheel drive as we might have hoped, instead it seems to be nothing more than a Ranger Wildtrack with some extensive modifications and a 2.0L bi-turbo diesel. Hmmm.

 

“The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road versus any other available production road vehicle in our markets, and still ride like a millionaire on-road,” said Damien Ross, Chief Program Engineer, Ranger Raptor, Ford Motor Company.

“Everything about the Ranger Raptor builds on the already outstanding sophisticated feel and functional capability of the Ranger, and then goes further. From a driving dynamic fun standpoint, it is really an exceptionally special vehicle.”

“Raptor’s race-bred suspension has been specifically crafted to tackle undulating terrain at high-speed while remaining in complete control and comfort. The Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) shock absorbers (dampers) provide higher damping forces at full jounce and rebound to enable better off-road capabilities, and lower damping forces in the mid-travel zone for a class leading plush ride during on-road trips,” Ford said. Like those on the F-150 Raptor, the dampers are by Fox Racing Shox with 46.6mm piston for front and rear.

Wrapped around the 17-inch alloys are All-terrain BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 tyres have been specially developed for the Ranger Raptor. Holding a strong presence, each tyre measures 838mm in diameter and 285mm in width.

Ranger Raptor also comes with underbody protection, including a bash plate measuring 2.3mm thick and made of high-strength steel. The silver finished guard allows clearance to the dual front recovery hooks. It works in combination with the existing engine and transfer case protection, the three elements provide protection to components such as the radiator, Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS), Front End Accessory Drive (FEAD), front cross-member, engine sump and front differential.

As we predicted, the Ranger Raptor comes with the same tweaked version of Ford’s Terrain Management System as the F-150 Raptor. This includes, six modes for various driving experiences, which can be selected via a dedicated five-button switch located on the steering wheel.

The driving modes are:

  • Normal mode – Emphasising comfort, fuel economy and driveability
  • Sport mode – Responsive for spirited on-road driving. This means fast, crisp gear shifts at higher engine speeds to aid throttle response. The mapping reacts to increased demand inputs from the driver by holding gears longer and downshifting more aggressively.
  • Grass/Gravel/Snow mode – Designed to inspire safe and confident driving on off-road slippery and uneven surfaces. This is done through smoother gear shifts and second-gear starts, minimizing the probability of wheel slip.
  • Mud/Sand mode – Vehicle responsiveness is tuned for optimum traction and momentum in deep, deformable surfaces like loose sand and mud. This is achieved by maintaining lower gears with high torque.
  • Rock mode – Used specifically for low-speed rocky terrain where smooth controllability is key.
  • Baja mode – Vehicle responsiveness is tuned for high-speed off-road performance, just like drivers need in the famous Baja Desert Rally. In this mode, vehicle systems like Traction Control are pared back in terms of intervention to allow spirited off-road driving without fighting the vehicle’s on-board systems. Gear selection is optimized for maximum performance, and the mapping will hold gears longer and downshift more aggressively.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Under the bonnet of the Ranger Raptor and this is the bit that might have many fans spitting out their coffee is a 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine making 157kW and 500Nm of torque (this is way behind the V6 Amarok V6 which makes 165kW and 550Nm of torque). This is mated to the 10-speed automatic transmission from the F-150 Raptor; at any time the driver can take control and change gears via the paddles on the steering wheel. Like in similar applications, there’s a smaller turbo to handle the instant off the line grunt while a larger turbo takes over higher in the rev range, the aim is to dial out turbo lag.

In terms of safety, the Ranger Raptor gets rollover mitigation, stability and traction controls, as well as trailer sway control, hill start assist, hill descent control and load adaptive control. There are also airbags and a reversing camera with rear parking sensors, the image is projected onto the 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen which offers Sync3 and Apple and Android connectivity.

The Ford Ranger Raptor will be produced in Thailand. Ford Australia hasn’t released pricing or the local release date, or a lot of key technical info. Stay tuned.


Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.