You may have seen the leaping pickup truck on TV or in the sheet metal at the various launch-related events by Ford, but at first glance, it really doesn’t look far too different from the typical Ranger. Give it a few seconds though, let it simmer and sink in, then you realize you’re looking at a totally different beast. Let’s me count the ways Ford has transformed their already very able truck into the highly acclaimed Raptor.
The flared fenders are the first to stand out. Blacked out from the front bumpers, same with the rear, it takes the term ‘macho’ to a whole new level.
It looks really good from any angle but it does add inches to the overall width, which makes it tricky to maneuver in tight parking spaces. Then the 33-inch all-terrain tires are just wow! It looks tough because it really is – side walls are 20 percent tougher compared to standard truck tires.
Ford gave it a miniaturized version of the F-150 Raptor’s grille so instead of the familiar ‘blue oval’, it gets F-O-R-D spelled out on top of the black mesh.
If you still don’t have a clue, there’s the ‘Raptor’ decal along both sides and then a thick emblem on the tailgate. Rawr!
The Raptor’s enhancements go beyond skin deep. To withstand rougher terrain and ultra-challenging drives, its chassis is a combo of high-strength and low-alloy steel, which makes it lighter without sacrificing hardiness.
Ground clearance is already a whopping 283mm and water wading depth 800mm, but it still uses a 2.3mm high-strength steel bash plate to protect the underbody from off-road debris.
The suspension system isn’t your average, factory stuff. It uses aluminum double wishbones with Fox Racing Shox Internal Bypass Dampers and an anti-roll bar in front, and coilovers with Fox Racing Shox Internal Bypass Reservoir Dampers and Watt’s link in the rear. Aren’t you roaring yet?
As hardcore as it is from the outside, the cabin can almost be called luxurious.
There’s a lot of soft leather from the dashboard all the way to the steering wheel, and the seats are a combo of leather and some type of felt, which Ford calls ‘RaptorAccent’.
The test unit was True Red but the stitching in the cabin is done in Lightning Blue which was odd but it did make it feel more ‘royal’ and less spastic.
It has an eight-inch touchscreen and six speakers, Bluetooth, two USB ports, a GPS system, rearview camera, a 230V inverter, and even a 12V socket on the bedliner.
- Raptor experience
Ingress was easy despite its height because Ford graciously bestowed it with a wide metallic running board plus a smart keyless entry system – just reach for the door handle to unlock.
The ‘body-contoured sports seat’ with eight-way adjustment feels just like the name suggests – comfy and snug – two words that aren’t typical of pickup truck seats.
It uses a Start/Stop system to engage the 2.0L Bi-Turbo diesel engine that puts out 213 PS and 500 Nm of torque. Despite the low- and high-pressure turbos that are setup sequentially to cover the span of the rev range, it doesn’t lurch forward during acceleration and is actually very mild-mannered. It only bares its proverbial teeth and rockets forward when the throttle is mashed.
Speaking of rockets, the turbo’s turbines are made of a fancy superalloy, the same one used in rocket engines, so fear heat and pressure no longer.
As for the ride, Ford got it just right with Fox Racing Shox. They’re firm no doubt, but they’re also sedan-like comfortable. This is made possible by Fox’s ‘bypass’ technology, which controls the flow of the fluid in the tubes depending on the terrain. If you’re on the road, fluid bypasses the damping piston for increased comfort. It knows when you’ve gone off-road and holds the fluid in the compression valve to keep it firm and prevent the suspension from bottoming out. Driving it in the city was pure fun and for a tall vehicle, it cornered pretty well thanks to its Watt’s link (rear) and anti-roll bar (front).
The 10-speed automatic transmission shifts very smoothly and helps keep fuel consumption at a very acceptable 7.1 kilometers per liter for a hefty truck.
But in stop-and-go traffic, it gets flustered sometimes and take a few seconds to figure out if it’s shifting down or going up.
The Ranger Raptor
I consider the price a steal (even after the ‘slight’ price increase) because of all of the above. Think about it. Sure, at P1.998 million you could get an average mid-size SUV or those diesel-powered crossovers/compact SUVs but none of them would have ANY of the above. Nuff said.
You want the truck of trucks? Don’t just get a Ranger! Get the one with fangs, claws, scales and all, the 2019 Ranger 2.0L BiTurbo Raptor 4×4 AT.
Text and photos by Eric Tipan