Isaac Bober’s 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review with Price, Specs, Performance, Ride and Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict and Score.

In a nutshell: Ford goes heavy with engineering to turn the Ranger into an off-road weapon…but what about that engine?

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Specifications

Price $74,990+ORC Warranty five years, unlimited kilometres Safety 5 star ANCAP Service 12 months, 15,000km Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbocharged diesel Power 157kW at 3750rpm Torque 500Nm at 1750-2000rpm Transmission 10-speed auto with paddle shifts Drive part-time 4×4 with low range Dimensions 5398mm (L) 1873mm (H) 2028mm (W) 3200mm (wheelbase) Ground Clearance 230mm (approx. measured) 283mm (claimed) Angles 37.5-degrees approach, 24-degrees departure, 24-degrees rampover Spare full size alloy underslung Tare weight 2232kg GVM 3090kg  Payload 758kg Towing 2500kg braked, 750kg unbraked, 250kg towball Fuel Tank 80L Thirst 8.2L/100km 

The Ford Ranger Raptor is one of those vehicles that captured the imagination and sent the Internet into meltdown. And that was largely to do with the engine and we will get to that soon, but there’s plenty to talk about before that. So, let’s get into this.

What’s the price and what do you get?

The Ford Ranger Raptor lists from $74,990+ORC and that makes it more expensive than the V6-powered Amarok Ultimate 580 but less expensive than the also-V6-powered Mercedes-Benz X350d Power and $11k more than a Ranger Wildtrak. So, just what do you get for your money?

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

Most of the money has been spent on stuff underneath the skin but in terms of creature comforts there are tweaked front seats (eight-way power adjust driver’s seat) with blue contrast stitching, beefed up bolsters, unique headrest and embossed Raptor badging. But, to be honest, the seats don’t feel a whole lot different to the standard Wildtrak seats. There are magnesium paddle shifters on the steering wheel but these could be plastic.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

Beyond that, you get everything on the Raptor that the Ranger Wildtrak gets, so, infotainments screen with Ford’s latest SYNC3 system which includes native sat-nav and Apple and Android connectivity, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and keyless tailgate lock.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

That might not sound like a lot but we haven’t even got to the stuff hidden-ish from view, like the Fox racing shock absorbers which cost an arm and a leg, the tweaked Terrain Management System which allows for terrain-based tweaking, there are aggressive near-33-inch BF Goodrich rubber, rated recovery points front and rear and a solid side step that looks strong enough to balance the car on. There’s also a unique grille and Raptor badging around the outside.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

What’s the interior and practicality like?

Essentially, everything you can say about the interior of the Ranger Wildtrak you can say about the Ranger Raptor. Yes, the front seats are slightly different from one to the other but the seats on the Raptor still feel like they could do with more support in the base and sides for when the going gets fast and bumpy.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

That said, there’s good adjustment and there’s enough adjustment on the steering wheel that drivers of all shapes and sizes will be able to get comfortable. Climbing in can be a pain, though, the large side step is both good and bad. It provides solid protection but it’s so wide that no matter how you climb out it’ll rub the back of your legs; and if it’s dirty then your pants will end up dirty too.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

There’s not a huge amount of storage in the front of the Raptor but there’s enough with bins in the doors, sunglasses holder in the roof, cup holders in the centre, a deep-ish centre console bin and glovebox. The materials used in the cabin are a mixture of soft-touch and hard, scratchy plastic and the thing rides the line between work-a-day and ‘luxury’.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

Climb into the back and there’s enough room for two adults or three teenagers. There are ISOFIX mounts on the two outboard seats, power outlets at the back of the centre console but no rear air vents. The seat base can be flipped up when they’re not being used to allow some interior storage.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

The Raptor can’t carry as much in its tray as a regular Ranger, able to carry a claimed 758kg but a more real-world 600kg would be closer to the mark. The tray is lined and there are tie-down points located on the floor and the tailgate is damped and so isn’t as hard to raise or lower as, say, the tailgate on a HiLux.

What’s the performance like?

This is where things start to get interesting. The engine was always going to be one of those things that people loved or loathed about the Raptor and, overall, the Internet seems to loathe the thing.

Sure, plenty of people complaining about the engine have never driven the Raptor but it’s fair to say that almost no-one was expecting a 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel engine. The thing makes 157kW at 3750rpm and 500Nm of torque from 1750-2000rpm and, no, that isn’t a misprint. Peak torque really is only available for 250rpm which is nothing. Hmmm.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

Mated to the Raptor’s engine is a 10-speed automatic transmission. Now, had the Raptor been the only vehicle in Ford’s line-up with this engine there might have been a little less griping; it might have been a little more ‘special’ but the fact it’s available in the rest of the Ranger line-up and the Everest too, means it’s all a little ho-hum.

But, the Internet aside, we’d hoped to give the thing the benefit of the doubt. And, after a week driving the Raptor around on- and off-road we can now say that, yes, the Internet was right; this is a great truck in need of more engine.

And that’s a little odd because while the Raptor is a little heavier with a more aggressive wheel and tyre package that a Ranger running the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel the thing should feel quicker. Only it doesn’t.

In fact, from a standing start the Raptor feels very slow indeed and it’s only once the thing is up and moving at more than 40-50km/h that it starts to build momentum with any sort of urgency. Make no mistake, this is not in the same league as either the Amarok Ultimate 580 or X350d. Both would hose this thing in a straight line.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

But that’s on the road… And the 10-speed automatic transmission doesn’t do much to help matters either, at least the one on our tester didn’t (it had driven more than 11,000-journo-kilometres). It slurred between gears and could be caught napping very easily, often leaving you in too high a gear for too long before dropping down a cog or two. But even then, the acceleration is hardly impressive. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not dissing the engine because it’s not some supercharged V8 rather that it’s just not a very urgent engine full-stop.

The performance off-road feels a little better but that’s, again, once you’re up and running and it’s more down to the suspension allowing you to drive at a higher speed, rather than the engine being better suited to dirt road work.

What’s it like on the road?

Despite its monster truck looks, and the fact the suspension set-up is designed for fast-driving across dirt roads, the on-road ride is very impressive indeed. There’s a level of comfort, compliance and yet control that you just don’t expect. Indeed, I’d go so far as to suggest that no other dual-cab 4×4 rides as well as the Raptor on the bitumen.

But, as good as the Raptor is on bitumen it’s ultimately let down, on the road, by its tyres. The aggressive BF Goodrich rubber is perfectly suited to off-roading but, despite impressive insulation, there’s no getting around the gappy treadblocks on the road with noise and vibration leaking into the cabin.

And in the wet, well, you’ve got to drive conservatively to avoid swapping ends. The tyres might have vice-like grip on dirt or in mud, but on wet bitumen they’re less impressive. But that’s a trade-off for their dirt performance.

The suspension control is excellent and the Fox shocks mean there’s not a single speed hump or pothole you ever need to slow down for. And the best thing, hitting something sharp-edged goes by almost unnoticed in the cabin.

What’s it like off the road?

Once you leave the bitumen behind the Raptor reveals that it’s quite possibly the most capable and comfortable dual-cab 4×4 you can buy in this country. In the same way you don’t need to slow down for speed humps and pot holes, then ruts and ripples in the road can be taken at road speeds.

And that’s because the shocks have been tuned for softness in the middle two-thirds of travel with a firmness building towards the end of their travel to ensure full extension is handled progressively and in a controlled manner. Words really don’t do the things justice.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

They’re clever too with the ability to pause at full extension if a wheel is in the air so that they’re not compressed when that wheel hits the ground, thus cushioning the landing. Our first drive of the Raptor covered off the suspension in plenty of detail, so once you’ve finished reading this review click HERE to read that one.

But, in brief, the Raptor gets a wider track than the standard Ranger and this increases the amount of wheel travel too which means in lumpy terrain, the Raptor will be more comfortable and controlled. And this is the case both at speed and when your crawling across low-speed obstacles…there’s an effortlessness and comfort to the way the Raptor covers ground in low-range that’s properly impressive.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

While the tyres aren’t the best on wet bitumen, they come into their own on dirt, or mud. Quite often car makers go for looks on their 4x4s fitting them with 18,19 and 20-inch wheels with a thin liquorice strap of rubber; this might help with looks when parked outside your favourite café but for off-road work you want a smaller wheel package with plenty of sidewall for when you need to drop the pressures. And the tyres on the Raptor fit the bill very nicely. The wheels are 17-inch and the tyres are aggressive BF Goodrich LT tyres.

Indeed, on dirt these things have so much grip that getting the tail to slide the way I did in the video above took several goes and needed my right foot to be welded to the floor. The slightest of lifts was all that was needed to bring the tail back into line.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

But, there’s one area that needs to be addressed and this isn’t the first time a car makers has mistakenly claimed ground clearance on its vehicle. Many of you will remember the Fortuner incident…well, Ford claims the Raptor offers 283mm of ground clearance. Hmmm. Park the thing on level ground, climb underneath it and measure from the ground to the bottom of the diff pumpkin (the lowest part) and you get 225-230mm. Not 283mm.

Measuring ground clearance in the above manner is an apples with apples approach. Yep, some vehicles might have better suspension travel than others, but what we’re determining here is the height of a box a vehicle could drive across without becoming tangled. The off-road angles are improved (all but rampover) with approach at 37.5-degrees, rampover and departure both measuring 24-degrees. The regular Ranger Wildtrak is 29-degrees approach, 21-degrees departure and 25-degrees rampover.

More than the tyres, the wider track, shocks and improved wheel travel is the fact the Raptor gets a lower crawl ratio than the regular Ranger, from 38.6:1 to 43.4:1. And the Raptor also gets a Terrain Management System although it’s accessed/hidden behind the Mode button on the steering wheel. This gives access to a bunch of terrain-based driving modes, including Normal, Sport, Mud/Sand, Grass, Gravel, Snow, Rock and Baja. These modes alter things like the transmission, throttle response, stability control and brake traction control.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review

Unlike the F-150 Raptor, the Ranger Raptor isn’t an all-wheel drive. Rather it’s got the same drive set-up as the regular Ranger, meaning it’s 2WD (rear-wheel drive) on bitumen, 4×4 High on loose surfaces and 4×4 Low for slow-speed, crawly stuff.

Does it have a spare?

Yes, a full-size spare underslung.

Can you tow with it?

Yes, it’s rated for a braked 2500kg with a 250kg towball download, but there’s a big but… so, let’s do the numbers. The Raptor’s Gross Combined Mass (the weight of the car, everything in it and the trailer) is 5350kg. Remove the 2500kg of the trailer and you get 2850kg which is the maximum the Raptor can weigh while towing that 2500kg. Take the vehicle’s Tare weight (2332kg) off that and you’re left with 518kg for passengers, luggage and towball mass. This reduces the overall payload when towing at maximum braked capacity down to 268kg.

So, if you’re going to tow with the Raptor just keep those numbers in mind. And, don’t forget the payload in the tray, which is officially 750kg and needs to be factored into things when loading and towing.

What about ownership?

The Ranger Raptor is covered by Ford’s five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. The service schedule is 12 months or 15,000km.

The Raptor isn’t cheap, indeed it’s $11k more than a Wildtrak with the same engine, so, if you’re not planning on high-speed off-road work then you’d have to ask yourself if the extra coin is worth it. But for those who think they could build an equivalent via the aftermarket, hmmm, I doubt it. You’d get close but it wouldn’t have the same quality of engineering, TMS or factory warranty, so… And then there are the tyres to factor in which won’t be cheap to replace.

What about safety features?

Standard safety equipment on the Ranger Raptor includes six airbags, ABS, stability control, hill descent control, hill launch assist, trailer sway control, rollover mitigation, lane keeping aid with lane departure warning, rear parking sensors, reversing camera, traffic sign recognition and two child-seat anchors.

The Raptor misses out on some safety features that are standard on the Ranger Wildtrak (and optional on XLT), including Inter-Urban Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Vehicle Detection and Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Alert, but these will become available on Raptor some time in 2019. So, while the Raptor continues with the Ranger’s five-star ANCAP rating, if it was tested today it wouldn’t achieve a five-star rating.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Review


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