Ford’s big, bold pick-up looks the part, but is it all for show? International Van of the Year judge George Barrow puts it through its paces.
In the world of pick-up trucks, the meaner looking and the bigger the truck the more people will flock to it.
VW and Mercedes both have more powerful pick-ups on sale than Ford, and yet despite that the Ranger remains resolutely the best-selling pick-up in the UK.
Why? Because it looks chunky, sounds mean and has a sort of American-cool that trades a little off the phenomenon that is the Ford F150.
Of course, the Ranger isn’t a Ford F150; for starters, it’s much smaller. Nor does it come with powerful V6 engines – the new Ranger (out later this year) must make do with a 2.0-litre diesel. There’s also a huge market for third-party add-ons for the Ranger, with an array of styling mods that can make it look just about the toughest thing on the road, and that is where we pick up the story of the Ford Ranger Raptor.
The Raptor name means something in the US, where it denotes a fire-breathing F150 monster with the engine from a Ford GT. For Europe, however, and in a Ranger, it means the stock engine from the new pick-up and bigger dimensions overall.
That’s not our attempt at selling the Ranger Raptor short; on the face of it there really isn’t much else to write home about – until you delve into the depths of the Ford Performance upgrades under the skin. For now though, sticking to the numbers, the twin-turbo 2.0-litre produces 210hp and 500Nm of torque.
While it’s an improvement over the 197hp available from the 3.2-litre five-cylinder engine used in the outgoing Ranger Wildtrak it is a little underwhelming to have so little additional oomph from a performance model, which can notch up 62mph in 10.5 seconds. So, it’s not blisteringly quick then, but it does weigh 2,510kg, which is a sizeable amount more than the standard pick-up. All that additional weight – the reason for which will become apparent – also means that payload has been severely impacted.
Normal Rangers can transport well over a tonne, but the Ranger Raptor is able to shift just 620kg, and its towing weight has plummeted too, from 3.5t to 2.5t. The long and short of it means the Ranger Raptor no longer qualifies as a commercial vehicle in the eyes of HMRC so you won’t be able to claim back the VAT on it.
The £48,785 price tag, which is more than £10,000 over the most expensive Ranger, might then put some people off.
It’s not just the price that has increased compared to the standard vehicle – it’s 168mm wider and 44mm longer, making it just over 2m wide and nearly 5.3m long. Ground clearance has also been raised to 283mm, an increase of 51mm, with the overall height of the vehicle now standing at 1,873mm thanks to the 30% increase in ride height.
Its higher stance on the road also means the approach and departure angles have increased to 32° and 24° respectively – 3° more than the standard Ranger. Other noticeable changes include the giant ‘Ford’ lettering in the grille, which takes its inspiration from the F150 Raptor, as well as the large alloy running boards along the side of the truck.
The giant wheel arch extensions make the Ranger Raptor almost as wide across its waist as it is mirror to mirror, but it doesn’t look out of proportion. The greater width is offset well by the increased height, and with the enormous BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 tyres the Ranger Raptor cuts a commanding and intimidating look. Of course, these are just the superficial changes, the adjustments made necessary to accommodate the real alterations to the Ranger Raptor – the ones that transform it from a macho-looking machine into a go-anywhere desert destroyer.