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Why you’re all wrong about the new Ford Ranger Raptor

Early yesterday morning my phone rang, and the voice on the other end wasn’t happy about the new Ford Ranger Raptor… Here’s why my friend and you lot are wrong about it.

“WHAT IS FORD DOING?” was the start to the conversation, followed by, “they have taken my Christmas away!” and “how can this be an epic truck with an engine like that?”

A mate had been hanging out for a Ranger Raptor, delaying the replacement of his BT-50 in anticipation. But after reading the news reports on the new Ford, he was upset, and letting me know in no uncertain terms.

But his angst was, and is nothing compared to the vitriol poured out on Facebook. People see the 2.0L engine, and as 150kW/500Nm is not appreciably more than the Ranger PX’s 147kW/470Nm that’s it, end of story. Milk, oranges, 2.0L, yeah, yeah, yeah. The poor towing capacity of 2500kg doesn’t help matters either – not that the Ranger’s 3500kg rating is real-world realistic anyway. Ford isn’t going to release tare or GVM weights yet and, yes, I did ask. When key specs are held back it’s usually because they aren’t very impressive and the carmaker hopes nobody asks, which is tedious because then I end up writing unnecessary emails.

Yet Ford’s chief engineer reckons everyone is missing the point of the Raptor, and for once I agree. Let’s start with the name.

Raptor. 

That means a bird of prey that hunts for its food. So, agility, speed, toughness, even violence. It’s not the Ranger Camel, or the Ranger Elephant, or the Ranger Buffalo-Pulling-a-Plough. It’s the Ranger RAPTOR, and that means a new type of vehicle, and a new vehicle means new thinking.

Consider what a ute is. It’s utility, right? Load lugging, heavy duty, built tough for work, work, work, not speed, speed, speed.  Well, by that definition I don’t think this Raptor is a ute. It’s a sport truck, and I hate myself for sounding like a marketing droid, but it’s true. Same way as your HSV Maloo isn’t designed for the sort of work done by a poverty-pack Hilux, and a 250cc dirtbike isn’t designed for the same job as a 1200cc tourer.  So if we look at the Raptor as a high-speed off-road sports vehicle it starts to make sense. The likes of the LC79 Series slog up hills carrying hay bales, the Raptor uses the same hill as a takeoff ramp and uses those hay bales as apex markers.

So what do we want from a sports off-road vehicle? First order of business is not power. Yes I know that’s what people look at first, but that’s like judging a camera by the number of megapixels – the easy measures are not necessarily the best.

What you really need to think about is the entire package and that starts with control, and specifically suspension. For fast off-road work you need long-travel suspension, tall tyres, and a rockful of ground clearance.

The Raptor runs shocks from Fox, who are one of the best in the business for rough-terrain racing suspension so fitting them wouldn’t have been cheap. The Fox shocks have position sensitive damping (PSD) which is pretty cool – normally when a shock bottoms out along with the coil the control arm slams into a small bit of rubber known as a bumpstop, and you know about it because there’s an almighty bang and your teeth fall out just as you lose control of your car. The PSD shocks on the other hand are nice and soft for the ‘ride’ part of the movement, say the middle 2/3 (just guessing) but towards the end they firm up nice and quickly so when the limit of the travel is reached it’s progressive and not a bodyslam. And the control arms are forged aluminium not welded steel, which means strength and light weight, not cost-cutting.

The back of the car has been converted from leaf to coil, because frankly leaf springs are rubbish for handling – lots of reasons such as their inability to locate the axle properly, the shocks needing to handle the damping effect from the leaves and torque twist under load. You don’t want that in your sports vehicle.  

The track of the Raptor is 150mm wider than the standard Ranger (50mm wider than an LC200 for comparison), so there’s nice long travel to go with the suspension, and the extra width is good so there’s less chance of a roll when you’re sliding through corners. Notably, the body hasn’t been widened to go with the track, it’s just for stability not interior room. And the brakes have been changed to discs in the rear, with upgraded callipers all round. 

The tyres are impressive too. They’re 285/70/17s, nearly 33 inches tall, probably the biggest of any 4WD on the market. Fitting them alone would have meant a fair bit of engineering work, as while we owners tend to bolt on any size tyres to our cars and call it good, the better engineering teams don’t even make a profile change without retuning, let alone a big size change so that’s serious design effort. The tall diameter would partially be for clearance, and also so the tyres can soak up some punishment. That’d be why they’re still 17-inch rims with nice tall sidewalls – if this were a marketing exercise they’d be bling-spec 20s. And this is one of the very few vehicles that comes with proper all-terrain tyres, specifically BFG ATs, which are way more expensive than road tyres, eat into fuel consumption, and don’t handle all that well on road not least due to big blocks of tread squirming under those tall sidewalls. Does that tell you what terrain this vehicle is optimised for yet?

Ford say the ground clearance is 283mm, but I don’t see how that’s possible given the standard Ranger is 237mm – that’s another 46mm, so 92mm of tyre diameter needed yet the tyres are only around 60mm taller. I don’t even think the original 237mm figure is right either, as my own PX Ranger doesn’t have 237mm under the rear diff and that’s running slightly taller tyres. But anyway, taller tyres would offer extra ground clearance and that can only be good.

So, Ford would have tuned the entire car – engine, suspension, transmission, electronics and more – exactly for the suspension and tyre package which is very clearly optimised for actual offroad work. They’ve even got separate driving modes for sports onroad and sports offroad, the latter known as ‘Baja’ mode which appears to allow some some decent sideways action and freedom with the throttle without Computer Nanny saying yeah but nah.

The Raptor clearly has the running gear for off-road speed work, so let’s now look at the big question of power, or apparent lack of it. Here’s something all automotive journalists learn – it’s simply not possible to assess how ‘fast’ a car feels, or how effective it is as a package until you drive it. Some cars with apparently quite ordinary power figures feel far more grunty than you’d expect from the spec sheet, and the reverse is true too. Yes, a 2.0L engine appears small, but there are a few things playing in the Raptor’s favour.

First, the 10-speed gearbox. That’s a lot of ratios, so the engine can be kept in or very close to its most effective rev range, far more so than a six-speed auto. If you’ve ever driven two identical cars except one was a rubbish four-speed auto and the other a 5- or 6-speed manual then you’ll know the difference, and this 10-speeder would also be very efficient, not spending much if any time out of torque convertor lockup. Think about what would be best – the Raptor’s engine permanently in or very close to its best rev range, or a more powerful engine often 1000rpm or so out. I’m going to trust that Ford have tuned the gearbox so it shifts smartly and doesn’t hunt…time will tell. If Ford get this right, the Raptor will be amazing. If they don’t, it’ll fail.

The small engine size even has its advantages. What you want in a sports vehicle is of course power, but also responsiveness. For example, Ford’s own V8 Mustang has far more power than say an MX-5 or Toyota 86, but compared to the pony car’s relatively sluggish reaction to command the Japanese cars are instantly responsive and feel more powerful than they are. If you’re sliding sideways on dirt, as it appears the Raptor likes to do, then you’d want a nice, responsive throttle. A high revving, short-stroke, quick-responding engine would be just lovely for that, thanks. And then there’s weight. You don’t want a massively heavy lump under the bonnet of any vehicle, particularly one that is liable to commit the act of aviation. Light weight is much preferred, and that means a smaller engine. The bi-turbo is also good as it’ll keep the boost on over a decently wide rev range, and who knows…maybe Ford compromised a bit on a peak figure for the sake of a wider power band. I hope so, I’d prefer driveability than bragging rights.

With small engines, longevity is a big concern of people and I’ve got a couple of emails in my inbox on that exact subject. That’d be another article, but in general I don’t share the general concern that small engines will explode from overstress three minutes past warranty. As Exhibit A, I offer Land Rover’s 200Tdi, 300Tdi, Td5 and Puma engines for the Defender and Discovery 1/2, these are all 2.5 or fewer litres, all known for doing heavy work and none of them known for chronic failure. The early ZD30 has a lot to answer for, and a dud engine is a dud regardless of capacity. There’s also plenty of Amarok automatic owners who seem pretty happy with their 2.0L engine and eight-speed automatic.

Just because when you first learned about engines they were much bigger for a given output doesn’t mean to say the world hasn’t moved on, so go look up the output of the diesel engines fitted to the likes of the FJ40 and Series 1, and see how impressed you are with their output figures per cubic centimetre.

Now I will admit I’ve never met a kilowatt I didn’t like, and I think 250kW and 700Nm wouldn’t go amiss in the Raptor. And a petrol V8 would sound just wonderful, better than any diesel, especially a small one. But the sad fact is that the modern automotive world can’t be into big V8s any more whether we like it or not, and the absence of one in the Raptor doesn’t mean to say the vehicle won’t work with less power. So I’m absolutely not going to write the car off until it’s been driven and tested in it’s natural environment which is high speeds over rough terrain, not lined up at a Cars and Coffee meet while the owner talks a good game about YouTube fantasies, or rocking a fat arm down to the local mall while trying to win green-light drags. I want to see how it goes on the Perdirka Track, not the parking lot.

The only other iffy bit on the spec sheet is part-time 4WD, so you wouldn’t need to in effect lock the front and rear axles on dirt roads or offroad, as that’s only going to encourage understeer, a driving mode otherwise known as “not fun”. The bigger Raptor, the F150 has an all-wheel drive system which indicates Ford reckons it is indeed the way to go. If I had to take a guess I’d say there was only so many development dollars and a call was made to focus on things like the change to coils at the rear, and if that was the constraint I’d agree with the choice made. It is a bit surprising the Everest’s centre clutch unit couldn’t have been fitted, maybe it’s not heavy-duty enough. A nice 35/65 front/rear torque split or so would have been lovely, but maybe the car will be tuned so it won’t matter too much, and the silver lining is that rear-drive only will make for entertaining drift action. Again, have to wait for a proper test.

Ultimately, a real driver’s car isn’t just about power, it’s about control, and while the Raptor may have ‘ute’ in the title it’s a sports machine, not a load lugger so should be assessed as such. As an enthusiast driver, I for one welcome a new class of vehicle that seems to be built for those who enjoy the drive, rather than just obsessing about numbers that don’t mean much once you’re behind the wheel, holding a powerslide while looking through the side window at the next jump.

Question: Why would you buy a Ranger Raptor over a Ranger PX2 if you’re not going to be doing impressions of Robby Gordon”?


  • Pro346

    Performance cars have performance engines….this doesnt! 157kw in a car weighing close to 2.5t is going to be slow no matter how many ratios in the auto. It wont be fast.

    • But it may be fast enough. We’ll have to see.

      • Trevor

        It’s my observation that the Ranger Raptor is a lot like Melbourne- so many awesome ingredients, but lacking in the trouser department, and ultimately a bit limp wristed.

        • Barkley

          Indeed!
          It’s like a politically correct Raptor, or ‘The Raptor we had to have’.

          Had it actually been developed for the Australian Outback (without a pit crew in tow) it would have a much bigger tank, more power and all wheel drive.

          Reportedly it will also come with option packs for the southern states; Sporty Snowflake, Rainbow Racing and Cafe Cruiser.

        • As has been observed by many Trevor, it’s what you do with it not what you have. Looks to me like the Raptor is built to actually do things…not hang around trash talking 🙂

    • Bob Standen

      Yes i agree performance cars, trucks = powerfully engines
      And bragging rights if you dont want to get laught at in the pub

    • trackdaze

      Reckon it would be twice as quick across the simpson, finke or any other desert as all else even with the typicall performance and suspension upgrades.

      • Benn0

        I can feel a Practical Motoring three way off-road review coming, the Raptor, Amarok and X-Class350 across the simpson. You will have a fair bit of change left over to upgrade the amarok suspension…..

      • Pro346

        Up against its direct competitor the zr2 colorado which isnt sold here! 😭 its safe to aay the zr2 performance would be on another level.

  • Benn0

    I agree, until its driven it is hard to know if the 2.0 is enough. But the Raptor brand is known for power, the F150 raptor is a 335kw 691nm V6. Other utes in the market are V6 diesel up around 180kw/550nm, so it is falling short of a performance niche compared to its predecessor, and the competition. But maybe the 10 speed will do enough to make it feel just as responsive as the others…. wait and see.

    How much better would this thing have been with the V6 power stroke from the F150….. missed opportunity.

    • Michael Haworth

      It’s all about power to weight ratios. The F150 is much heavier. I imagine the PTW ratios are pretty close.

      • Benn0

        Nope, the F150 is 2700kg, 336kw. 8kg/kw, does 0-100 in 5.3secs.

        The Ranger Raptor is 157kw and I guess will be about 2000kg (a wildtrak is 2200kg) so about 12.7kg/kw…. most dual cab utes are around 14-15kg/kw. Should be about a 9sec 0-100kph….

        • Michael Haworth

          Sure not spot on, the Ranger is 74% (estimated) lighter than the Raptor with less than half of the kw but 72% of the torque. So the torque band is in the right ration but power is admittedly down. You might also be missing that you are comparing a petrol to a diesel which rarely pick up as fast off of the lights but will go for a lot farther between fill ups. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ford drops a fast petrol in the Ranger Raptor later down the road but I would still choose the diesel any day of the week. Where are you going to drive this? I will be flying through the Simpson and the fewer jerries I need to carry the better. My money is this will be doing 0 to 100 in something closer to the 7s anyway with fast spooling turbos and a ten speed tranny with a few low first gears. I guess we will see.

          • Pro346

            No car with 157 kw weighing 2 plus tonnes is doing 0 to 100 kmh in 7 seconds no matter how many gear ratios its got. A corolla 1.8 has a better power to weight.

          • Benn0

            I drive a Grand Cherokee diesel, it is 180kw/570nm, 2200kg, 0-100 is 8.2secs. Not likely the 157kw is going to get to 7 seconds. Ford has a similar motor the 3.0 powerstroke diesel which would also provide fuel efficiency and decent performance. The Amarok v6 does 0-100 in 7.9, the audi Q7 gets 200kw/600nm out of their v6 diesel, good for 6.5 secs 0-100 moving 2100kg. Car manufacturers do get performance out of 6 cylinder diesels, Ford decided to go for a 2.0 4 cylinder, its a bit behind the rest. A strange decision for a ‘performance offroader’, but lets see how it drives. Better be a magic 10 speed transmission to deliver for the price tag.

        • Pro346

          You really think its going to weigh 200kg less?

      • Pro346

        Its probably got a worse power to weight than a 19990 1.8 corolla hatchback. Not good enough. F150 raptor is 13.5 second 1/4 mile quick…this perhaps 17 or 18.

    • Rab

      It doesn’t matter what ford think this is or what they wanted it to be….
      Theajority of buyers, me included wanted a V8 with 300kw or more.
      This shite is vitriolic salesmanship.

  • Theo

    No doubt the executives at Ford Australia were getting many phone calls from their dealers, getting emails from potential buyers, having to read the very negative comments on various social media sites & you know what? they freaking deserve it, all the negativity from every corner of the internet & potential buying public, this is simply put the wrong engine for this type of vehicle.

    Ford Australia & more specifically Ford Asia Pacific have completely under-estimated the buying public here, I mean anyone can go to Youtube & watch the F-150 Raptor videos & say would that not be great having them here, ok so we don’t get the F-150 in Australia instead we have Ranger (and BT50 for that matter since its the sister vehicle) & its fine for what it is, a work horse & the Wildtrack is a great top of line model & the Australia buying public have accepted it to become to best selling 4×4 truck (it’s not a ute) while knocking off the former King, the Hilux 4×4, but the Ranger Raptor should of been special, like what the home market North Americans can buy in terms of F-150 but for our market, the team at Ford gave only 50% of what the North American home market* can buy right now & this is where most people have rightly been robbed by Ford AU & Ford Asia Pacific.

    Suspension upgrade to match or in this case surpass since its watts link coil spring rear suspension – YES
    Upgraded brake package – YES
    10-speed torque converter automatic – YES
    Wild looks inside and out – YES
    Terrain Management System – YES
    Engine – FAIL.

    I read at another publication that had their people embedded at the testing facility that Ford team that put the Ranger Raptor together never tough of another engine choice, seriously? just how many of us were saying should be be a Ranger Raptor that it needed at minimum the 2.3L Ecoboost turbo petrol 4cyl or at best the 2.7L V6 Ecoboost, lol some were asking for big brother 3.5L Ecoboost and yes some even wanted 5.0L V8, we were asking, begging for it & for Ford reps to say they never thought of another engine is sheer lunacy on their end, I mentioned yesterday that the potential reason why the V6 turbo petrol’s can’t be fitted into lets say Mondeo (even though Fusion has is), future Edge (sorry won’t be calling it whatever lame name they chose for it), and now Ranger is due to not being designed for RHD application, ok fair enough but the Mustang/Focus RS 2.3L Ecoboost is, come of Ford reps listen (or learn to read at the very least) not everyone wants diesel engines in these types of vehicles, if the North American Ford reps figured it with there version Ranger then why can’t the AU/Asia Pacific team can, now further on I read that Ford claims it was about “range” but they have not even bothered to change from 80L fuel tank size so to me that means they were locked into staying diesel & since there current 2.2L and the 3.2L cant make Euro 6 they were forced to go with the new Ecoblue 2.0L engione and gave it an extra turbo because in stock spec the Ecoblue 2.0L only makes something like 110kW and 380Nm due to Euro 6 emissions controls (i.e.: to comply with regulations on CO/2).

    The lesson here is should GM Holden fast track the Colorado ZR2 (complete with 3.6L turbo from GM Cadilac) then Ford Australia will have another Everest on there hands, the saying is “great car, shame about the price” well in the Ranger Raptor case “great car, shame about the engine”.

    *Meanwhile in the North American market & remember there are more them then us, they were pleading with Ford reps to give them the bi-turbo diesel that the Asia Pacific (no mention of you know Australia) market is getting but with bigger fuel tank …

    Going back to where I started this reply, it’s clear to me that the executives at Ford Australia & Asia Pacific have simply stuck there collective heads into the sand & or are curled up ion the fetal position on the floor sucking there thumbs & while saying “no we are right you are wrong”.

    • Pro346

      Even the regular 3.6 v6 na in the regular chev collie and zr2 makes 230kw and is rather quick 0 to 60mph in 5.8 seconds. The 3.6 tt v6 would be very quick and likely take the spotlight from the raptor

      • Theo

        Now that Isuzu are no longer linked to GM for the D-Max (they are getting into bed with Mazda) the talk is that all future GM Colorado will share the same platform world wide (or world market’s that GM continue to operate in), for Australia this means the Colorado will be unlocked from the Asia-Pacific platform & put onto the “Americas” (North, Central & South) platform.

        That is a HUGE plus, the current North American platform (From GM Brazil production line) Colorado are so much more better than what the current AU spec Colorado is, sure the “Duramax” turbo diesel are near the same but they also offer petrol v6 alternative & there is talk that the next ZR2 upgrade will get the twin turbo 3.6L V6 from GM Cadillac, of course Australia is not in that frame right now for that vehicle let alone the current ZR2 which is why no doubt Ford Asia-Pacific & Ford Australia did not bother with a turbo petrol V6 Ranger Raptor (or even a turbo petrol 4cyl RR), however there will be a time when they will have to make that switch and the sad thing is that will kill every buyers resale, a very missed opportunity by Ford AU with the wrong engine selection.

  • Theo

    Robert, just on the part-time 4WD, I did make an enquirer about it & was told its the same set up at the current Ranger, basically;

    2WD via 2H RWD
    4WD – High via 4H, so locked centre differential 50/50 torque split
    4WD – Low via 4L, so locked centre differential + low range transfer case enabled
    RDL – Traction Control on – locks out rear diff not front transfer case (which has been the case now for a while on current Ranger)
    TMS – all barring Rock/Crawl mode can be used in 4H, Rock / Crawl Mode only for 4L, it will disable stability control (not traction control).

    A-Trac (body roll over mitigation) is also standard.

    Baja mode will disable stability & provide a super sensitive traction control program, basically the Raptors version of the Focus RS drift mode.

    No On-Demand AWD, this limits overall potential of the Ranger Raptor

    Which is interesting, the Everest has a 10/90 AWD split which then upgrades to 30/60 when needed then I can’t see why they did not provide this is Ranger Raptor also since they borrowed nearly everything else from it.

    • Thanks, good info. As I’d expect. Pity no AWD. Hopefully Ford have finally calibrated the brake traction control properly unlike PX, PX2 and UA Everest.

      • Theo

        I agree, again the F-150 Raptor has 4A (4WD Automatic) which is a 20/80 torque split AWD option (similar to Mitsubishi Pajero/Pajero Sport & Triton Exceed Super Select II: re: open centre diff) , we know the Everest has a 10/90 AWD split when in normal driving conditions with a maximum 30/60 split when needed, I guess they could not make it work in Ranger, could that be due to the Everest being on a shorter wheelbase?

        Yes I have seen the videos about the traction-control causing all sorts of havoc when on a decline, tbh I have yet to experienced that issue with my Everest.

        The issue I have with my Everest is the way it consumes so much DEF while towing at highway speeds, I average 25,000km a year and need to refill the DEF tank 3 times a year (total of 45L which costs approx $145 a year added running cost), so you can see why I would of liked for Ford to offer petrol alternative option, at the very least they should of provided a DEF gauge & not a warning light (which means there is 3L remaining from the 18L DEF tank) so you can keep an eye on it, & yes I have been caught out by it early on in ownership.

        • Come along to the first meeting of the Ford Everest Club in Melbourne next Tuesday, I’m guest speaker and the topic is Everest offroad electronics and AdBlue.

          • Theo

            Alas I live in regional North West NSW …

            In any case I am a member of the local ford SUV/Ranger club here & yes from the several people I have had interactions with over the last few days they like me are all wondering what the heck is Ford thinking with the Ranger Raptor.

            As for DEF & ways to defeat it …. the less said out in public the better, as for the off-road ability of Everest, best advice is to remove the side steps and run it on 17″ alloys, the 235/65/17″ are good size for on & off road driving conditions.

            Again, Ford claims are “they want range” from the bi-turbo Raptor Ranger, but they failed the provide it with a larger fuel tank … let me guess, the DEF tank will be the same 18L one as the Everest, that is gonna piss off a lot of people as currently ranger does not need DEF as its not Euro 6 compliant, come on Ford Australia at least make it a 120L fuel tank, I know it can be done as others have done for Everest & from what I can tell the tank sits in the same spot & can room for an extension on ranger as it does on the shorter wheelbase Everest.

          • 235/65/17 seems a bit small, maybe 245/70/17? As a commercial vehicle the Ranger doesn’t have the same Euro standards as the passenger Everest. The 18L DEF tank is way, way greater range than the fuel tank.

          • Theo

            Yes you are correct, the Ambiente had 265/65/17 112T M+S Dunlop Grand Trek AT22 (made in Thailand)… Changed to Goodyear Wrangler HP M+S 112T (made in germany) much better now, actually they are due to be replaced in the next 10,000km, will probably go with the same brand again as they are a good on/off road tyre, as for DEF tank size, sure it’s great if you don’t do highway towing, pulling trailer + tractor weight of 2,600kg + Everest kerb weight of 2,450kg + passenger & and limited cargo it’s near maxing out when I tow with it and each round trip is 700km, out here it’s mostly old Patrol & Landruisers doing the heavy towing with the Gray nomads all in Prados, some have move to Fortuner, that said Ranger has clearly taken over the dual cab 4×4 truck scene, heaps and heaps former Hilux – Triton drivers are now in Rangers.

  • Ted

    Yes Robert, the engine may prove adequate, but part time 4×4 is unforgivable.

    As someone who spends a lot of time traveling on ‘roads’ that the Raptor has been designed for, I have held high hopes for this ute.

    To find that I’d need to switch back to 2H each time I touch the tar- or be reminded by an ungainly turning circle & wound up driveline- rules it out altogether.

    I guess the the Super Select AWD system in my current ute will have to soldier on for a while yet. Fortunate then, that it also makes much more power & torque than the Raptor with a modest ECU tune…

    • Well, one small factor in favour is that you’d expect the Raptor’s highly tuned rear end to put power to the ground far more effectively than the leaf-sprung rear end in your Triton. But yes, point taken.

      And I think you are the only person in Australia to be okay with the engine and NOT like part-time 4WD!!!

  • Guessed

    Q: Why doesn’t the Ranger Raptor send power to all four wheels on road?
    A: Because it doesn’t have enough to go around.
    Such a wasted opportunity on at least two fronts Ford.

  • trackdaze

    What makes the raptor is very definetly the suspension.

    However Both the last dakar and finke desert races were won with v6s.

  • mightor96

    Practical Motoring, you are kidding yourself and drinking the Ford cool-aid if you think this engine was the top of the development teams wish list. Forget about bird of prey metaphors, look at the real Raptor, the F-150 Raptor, it came out with a monster V8 and heaps of excessive grunt, it was and is the hero version, then they swapped out to a modern V6 TT with even more grunt.

    A Raptor sports truck means awesome suspension, chassis, brakes etc etc and the Ranger “almost” Raptor has this, however it does not have an engine in keeping with the Raptor ethos, it is a compromise formed due to where it’s built and Fords concern that the market isn’t interested in petrol Utes. This is not a work ute where economy is important, this is a hero sports truck and Ford have this wrong, this little bird has a pea heart.

    • Not saying it was the team’s first choice. Not even saying it’s the right engine. Am saying give it a chance.

      • Theo

        James Hameedi who is the boss of Ford Performance is adamant it was the only choice of engine, clearly this guy never bothered to get researched commissioned to find out what people here in Australia really want, thankfully this guy was not in charge of Tickford/FTE/FPR back in the day otherwise the final bunch of FG X Falcon XR’s would of been the 2.0L Ecoboost sold as XR4 Turbo Sprint … because you know, its not about the engine but about Baja Desert Racing, sure it is James, imagine if you told F-150 Raptor buyers hey look we have these awesome 1.5L Ecoboost 4cyl turbo petrol engines now in F-150 raptor because we want efficiency & range …

        I asked a few questions to friends I know over at in the US who work at the factories where the V6 engines are made and again the answer was the V6 engines (2.7L TT, 3.3L (NA – new), 3.5L (NA – now replaced by the 3.3L) and 3.5L TT) are not configured for Right Hand Drive applications, the only V6 FoMoCo facotry does that is configured for RHD application and in a FWD/RWD mode is the superseded 3.7L (NA, which was supposed to go into Faclon in 2013) that was in Mustang and Mazda CX-9 (previous generation), the only current engine FoMoCo make that are both LHD/RHD application (for both RWD and FWD) is the 2.3L Ecoboost 4cyl turbo petrol (Mustang & Focus RS and soon North American Ranger), which makes sense that the North American version of the Ranger (not Ranger Raptor) will only have that as its sole engine.

        Clearly its not the right engine, they might not of understood that prior to making the announcement but they sure do now, as I understand it when you trend of twitter that means people are talking about it and if James still can’t figure it out then I suggest he steps aside for making a blunder of epic proportions.

        People will give it chance, which is sad as that will vindicate there wrong decision as being the right one made, the issues is when they say hey look we now have a a minimum the 2.3L Ecoboost 4cyl petrol or at best 2.7L Ecoboost V6 petrol those who purchased early will get burnt in terms of resale, the same thing has happened with those who bough Everest early at the ridiculous early pricing.

      • mightor96

        I hear what you are saying.
        A problem for Ford is this. This engine is probably adequate to ok on dirt but when we go for a test drive it’s going to be around the block from our urban Ford dealers and just like a registered dirt bike (I had a WR450) is a weapon on dirt but an underpowered slug on the road compared to a sports bike or big power cruiser, this Raptor will struggle to impress on road or at least struggle compared to expectations based on its heritage.
        And let’s acknowledge that maybe 5% of buyers will be anywhere near an area where they can go dune jumping.

  • Scott

    Appears maybe Ford should be listening to the ppl that would think about purchasing this type of vehicle. We all want more power!

  • Mc Gumbo

    it seems like most journalists are mates with the guys at Ford Moco. Fair enough they work with them and they probably want to help them out but seriously – It is clearly coming across that every one is trying to make excuses.

    Let me put this in language that every one can under stand.

    Its the same as if HSV made a new GTS commodore with the best racing suspension, the best racing seat, adjustable racing aero package, semi slicks and then……………. put a 2lt engine that pumps out 150kw …………….. and then tells every one that they are missing the point – That it is a track car and not built for straight line speed and that we are all stupid for wanting something with more power when this is clearly all about handling.

    I have a jeep grand cherokee diesel (185kw 550nm and 8 speed) this is the minimum the ranger should have (look at the dodge ram with the same set up). I also have a xr6 turbo ute that runs 400+ rwkw. my dad has a v8 caprice my brother has a ss redline ute my other brother has a xr6 turbo sedan. we are the target market for these cars and I can tell you none of us will buy this ranger.
    If no one comes out with a good full size us pick up for a normal price then i will get a vw amarok v6 (not to fussed on the vw customer service horror stories) – but there is little choice.

    the first car company to put out a performance ute is going to clean up (go to the US and drive a ecoboost v6 f150 or a dodge ram diesel – thats all the performance we want (at a minimum) and i dont think its unreasonable.

    • Theo

      It’s 1982 and Ford Australia have just announced the XE Falcon, its got a great new rear suspension in sedan form and an awesome EFI option for 6cyl buyers, but its also the last time there will be a 302ci V8 (4.9L carby Cleveland and the mighty 351ci (5.8L carby Cleveland) V8, Ford proudly say with EFI 6cly you no longer need V8 power … Fast forward to 1991, yeah out great EB Falcon has once again got a V8 … took them 8 years to rectify that HUGE error …

      Yes that is just how dumb a decision this Ranger Raptor engine choice is, it’s right up there with the other duds from Ford, the original (1960) XK Falcon complete with Canadian spec suspension tune, the (1998) AU (Series I) Falcon, the (1989) Capri softop, the decision to scrap the (1976) Falcon GT, Ecoboost Falcon (2012) the debacle of the FTE (2001) T-Series line (granted the last TE50 Windsor 5.6L V8 were pretty awesome but the 1st batch were awful), the Territory Turbo (2007) and finally now this a 2.0 Bi-Trubo diesel Ranger Raptor … gees can Ford Australia stuff more things up, oh wait the Ford Corsair (1989 twin to Nissan Pintara) and giving Nissan the XF Falcon UTE badge as the Nissan UTE DX …

    • Robert Ryan

      To sum up :Ranger Raptor has a plastic Milk Bottle sized engine, poor payload and towing specs, possibly lethargic acceleration, going by the Off Road suspension not that precise on road., but can really jump dunes very well

  • Fred

    Fully agree,but for the BFs,i have found them beter overall in the wet and dry(Thailand,when its wet,it is wet ,when it is dry it is dry) than the standard tyres.Tried Hancook…ok but 65000Km later needs replacment and makes a hell of lot road noise.BFs first 20 000Km quiet now 70000Km a bit noisy but ok given the tread patern,but by messuring the thread dept it seems 200000Km is doable

  • David Holmes

    So the ‘muricans were all up in arms about the downgrade do V6 when thier New Raptor was unveiled. Apparently when it was actually driven it was a case of, well that’s ok!
    Can we at least wait until someone’s actually driven it before we condemn the thing?

    • Benn0

      The difference is that the power increased to 336kw, the Ranger Raptor is putting out 157kw, a bit short in many people’s view, which I can understand. But yeah it might be still a good drive.

  • Gregory O’Brien

    Ford have gotten the looks and for the most part the suspension etc pretty right.
    But if you really think that a 2 litre diesel and a reduced tow capacity by a 1000kgs is going to cut it with who are the potential buyers of a vehicle like this, then you have rocks in youre head.
    I am a diehard Ford man and was lining this up as a replacement for my current Wildtrac but that is now not an option. What a complete disappointment!
    Ford needed at least a diesel with similar performance to the V6 Amaroc or the Jeep Grand Cherokee and a serious tow capacity. This would have made it a worthy hero vehicle for the Ranger lineup, not a pretender.
    By your article, it sounds like you work for the muppets who came up with this major disappointment.
    The majority of us are not buying the vehicle to go offroad racing.

  • Bill Stevenson

    At $80k and a 2 litre engine they just won’t sell in Australia. What are ford thinking? Give us the real Raptor (at a reasonable price)

  • Simon Massey

    So your right and in your own words thousands of people on social media are wrong. Ford stuffed up pure and simple now there getting all defensive and idiots like you are buying into it. What aussies want is a solid 4×4 with a big torquey engine and a decent towing capacity,unlike americans we dont want to drive around the desert at break neck speed. Ford have not listened gone their own way and in time will reap the results by deleting the ranger through poor sales

    • I agree that the engine will hurt sales, that’s not in dispute. As for the rest…well you can see my views.

    • Robert Ryan

      They have developed the wrong Pickup for this market. It would a no brainer with a 3.5 Ecoboost in the NA market.

  • Nick Saravanos

    Hi Robert

    I notice you made an off comment about the BFGs affecting fuel consumption.

    I have a 6 month old LC200 Sahara and looking at replacing the factory tires before our next trip [to the Flinders Ranges towing our van and day trips from the site]. I am considering the KO2’s as they come in my tire size where as with the AT3s I’d have to jump up a size. We were very happy with the AT3 on our previous rig, a 120 Prado.

    I’d be interested in exploring your comment further. Do you have an article or thread somewhere on the site I can refer to?

    When you spend most of your life on the road, and then most of the off road is dirt roads and beaches like Fraser with the rare encounter with mud then tire choice is always a compromise.And given an LC200 towing a van, fuel consumption is not an insignificant factor.

    Sorry, I’m not a fan of googling forums and getting a vast quantity of often opposing and uneducated advice.

    Thanks Nick

    • Benn0

      Dynapro ATMs are a good compromise tyre and do well in sand. The KO2s are a bit more aggressive if you want to get into some mud and loose rock.

    • Nick there are no specific figures for how much offroad tyres affect fuel consumption. However, they definitely do, roughly from 0.5 to 1.5L/100km. The reasons are:

      1. Weight of tyre (heavier)
      2. Inefficient tread block design, physically and aerodynamically (whole post on this)
      3. 4WD people usually go taller and wider which changes gearing and both make for a heavier tyre again even if same stock

      I would go for something like the Cooper Discoverer AT3 in LT construction if I were you. I ran them on my D3 for a while and found them to be a pretty decent tyre, not an aggressive AT tread but worked well enough and very strong. Your LC200 is amazing offroad so to some extent doesn’t need an aggresive tyre. Also, don’t go any wider or taller than stock, and run slightly higher pressures than normal.

      I haven’t written in detail about this question but it’s quite a good one, might explore it later on. A lot to say about fuel consumption. I can however say that I cut my Defender’s fuel consumption by 40% while testing….and that was just due to dumping weight (maybe 5-10%) and driving style (the rest).

      • Nick Saravanos

        Thanks Robert. Unfortunately, according to the Coopers website, the A/T3’s are not available in 285/60R18, I’d have to go up a size to 65 which I’m worried about due to the amount of caravan towing I do.

  • Paul

    We might, as you say, all be wrong about the new Raptor. But here’s the rub… all the thousands of us wrong thinking people won’t be buying it either.

    • And that is a definite problem for Ford.

    • Robert Ryan

      Correct they have really BOMBED in the PR dept

  • mrknowitall

    id buy one if there was a v8 option

  • Disgusted

    Gulf Alpha Yankee Ford.

    This is a truck that should be the ideal tow rig for taking a camper trailer bush and soaking up the many miles of corrugations in the outback.

    Instead, it’s a flash looking thing that will be embarrassingly rounded up by every other tuned ute each time it has to drag a trailer uphill on the highway.

    Not to mention the need to load the tub with jerry cans to supplement it’s tiny 80L, or that’ll you’ll need to jostle between 2H x 4H depending on the track surface.

    A clever transmission can only do so much to mask a lack of torque, and clever electronics can only do so much to make up for a lack of driven wheels.

    Here’s hoping one of the other manufacturers build something Australia wants, and doesn’t do it by half.

  • Lee Forsdike

    I think this article is missing the point.

    It’s like the Ghostbusters remake. No asked for it. No one wants it and the entire internet hated it.

    People want bigger and more power. Not 10hp with less torque. At a massive cost.

    • Will

      Continuing with the movie analogy, the Ranger Raptor is like a big league superhero movie- trailers and teasers have shown the awesome supporting cast, tension has been built and expectations raised; but then at the big reveal, it turns out that Kermit the Frog has been cast in the starring role.

      Here’s hoping that it’s a prequel to a Raptor done properly. I for one have grown weary of waiting for one of the big manufactures to produce a well suspended, well powered, all wheel drive ute. This Raptor came close, but then missed the mark by a mile.

    • Robert Ryan

      Lee ,a lot on the net echo your words. It would have been more impressive if Ford went after the Mercedes Pickup that is to be introduced

  • 1250

    big boys WANT big toys ????? , but I agree with your comments

  • Scott G

    I dont understand where you were going with the whole ‘raptors are quick, agile, fast…its not Ranger camel’ You cant act like people were just expecting off the name.

    The American F150 Raptors have v8s pulling 335kws and over 500nm of torque. You cant expect Aussies that have just lost their a bunch of their v8s to be happy about hearing, ‘you thought you were getting a v8 or something similar? Ha, how about a smaller engine than before!’ – no matter how you spin it.

    • Dano

      F150 Raptor has a V6 not a V8.

      • Scott G

        Right, sort of. It used to have a V8 until two years ago and now has a TWIN TURBO V6. Tell me how this compares with a 2L 4 cylinder?

  • Farr-King Elle

    This needed a turbo V6 to light up the sales charts. With the 2L its target market will not be moved to buy it… logic has nothing to do with it.

  • ray

    There is no way anyone sane would by a diesel raptor with so little power, it makes no sense at all. They really dropped the ball, it could have been great with the 3.5litre petrol v6.

    • Robert Ryan

      Sane is the operative word. Who is going to race this through a desert? Would it hold up too severe abuse? Very much doubt it

  • josh rebella

    Do ponies matter to ford ?? Not in this instance .
    Every one gets the full pakage and name of the raptor and every customer of ford has their own use on and off road .
    So does ford stand for in this instance
    FunOffRoadDriving (2l bi turbo diesel) or
    FlatOutRacingDesert (3.5l bi turbo v6 pet)
    So its been marketed as an off road weapon due to chassis and suspension . It has been said by ford it will leave the opposition in its dust offroad due to this fact. Its has been over engineed to be this capable . So in every aspect of the raptor ranger has been exceeded according to car critics and ford themselves . So why supply a vehicle that exceeds everyway with an engine that does the job at hand and only that ? Why not exceed in this department ? Ponies (hp) matter to me im a tradie . I tow machinery i tow a van i tow dirt bikes the towing capacity down 1 ton to 2500kg . Thats not a huge bother but towing 2.5t with a 2l compared to a 3.5l ecoboost any different ? I would think a shit load . What about my offroading . Deep soft sand . Dunes mud hill climbs flat out across open country. 2l vs 3.5l again alot of difference .
    Now does raptor stand for
    RaceAnotherPredatorThroughOffRoading
    (2LBITD)Or
    RuleAllPredatorsTryingOffRoad (3.5ECOV6) i choose this … so howmany unhappy customers ford ?? How many people gave deposits anticipating this weapon that will be coming ? All to be let down because of an engine and power figures , maybe the towing capacity too .
    Maybe its a marketing glitch . This raptor 2l diesel is the base model and the v6 will cost more because ford know people want that but will they pay more ? Maybe look at the market and the customers that want this ute 60 % maybe want economy and dont mind 40% want power and do mind but from what i have seen its 20% dont care and 80% want more power . So raptor ranger was said to be a desert race inspired production ute and the false hope led every one astray because of engine choice .. how many people want their deposit back ? How many un happy customers that were going to upgrade ? Seems like every one is pretty dissapointed and shocked by the choice Ford made . I think PONIES matter to everyone not just me . Lets see sales figures in 6 months whithout a different engine package compared to if they do one .

  • Gus

    I’m somewhat conflicted with your observations in this article, especially after your reliability comparisons regarding the Land Rover Discovery motors ! I cant think of a worse example !

    • The Defender and Discovery 2.5 to 2.2L diesels were not noted as problematic. The Discovery 2 was, and is not a shining example of reliability but the engine itself was relatively trouble-free. Both cars are frequently used as heavy duty tow vehicles.

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is the editor of PM4x4, an offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks. Visit his website: www.l2sfbc.com or follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RobertPepperJourno/