Ford Ranger Raptor – Desert Racing on the High Street

Published on 22nd October 2019 at 10:13

You’ll have little change out of 65k - there is little distinction between its performance on or off-road - it will visually dominate your arrival and departure – it is not the most logical everyday transport – but if you like it and can afford it – Buy it.

When we think of Ford Performance there is every chance that pictures of RS’s and Cosworth’s flash from the recesses of our memory bank. Stepping into their latest creation, I immediately notice the red insert at 12 o’clock on the leather-bound steering – the word naughty comes immediately to mind, and all before I sit into the leather/Alcantara sport seats. This is either going to be a mish/mash, pseudo affair that fails to deliver on any level or epic, my every wish hoping for the latter.

What I had just ensconced myself within is Ford’s new Raptor, a 2.5tonne, Double-cab, 10-speed automatic, powered by a twin-turbo diesel, delivering 210bhp and 500Nm of torque. After a week of on and off-road, city, deep country greenery, rural and motorway roads, I am seriously impressed with it and even more depressed about returning it. Loved it with a passion.

Devoid as we are of desert roads and open tundra, our meagre motor market get this performance off-roader by default, a fact that will cause bewilderment to the non-believers and unbridled joy to those of us with octane in our veins. Whereas the former will roll their eyes and dismiss the Ranger Raptor as ridiculous, the latter will revel in its every detail and should they get to spend time with it, it will form a legendary chapter in their driving lives – it is that good – and then some.

Referred to as trucks in the USA, open-back/crew-cabs like the Ford F150, (one of their best-selling vehicles), attract owners by their look, versatility and Rock ‘n’ Roll persona, placing them on ranches and Rodeo Drive in equal measure.

As a vehicle, the Ranger Raptor was a complete surprise, a revelation in both its road and off-road competence. Its elevated, brawny appearance might lead you to assume it would be unwieldy and cumbersome, whereas the reality is that it is quiet, smooth and great road company, as I found with four adults on-board on a cross-country jaunt. Divert into the greenery and the Ranger Raptor is outrageously good, negotiating gradients that were visually daunting and coping with rutted surfaces with can only be described as delight.

The Ranger Raptor is and will be a rare vehicle. Did I mention that I loved it?

Ford Ranger Raptor Specification:

Format: Double-Cab Pick-Up 

Engine: 2.0L EcoBlue BiTurbo

Power: 213PS

Torque; 500Nm 

Co2 rating: 233g/km

Road Tax Band: G

Annual Road Tax: €2,300

Transmission: 10-speed automatic 

Emission rating: Euro Stage 6.2 

Towing Capacity: 2500kg

Max Pay Load: 620kg

Ground Clearance: 283mm

Wading Depth: 850mm

Approach Angle: 32.5-degrees

Ramp-over and departure angles: 24 degrees


Length: 5398mm

Width: 2028mm

Wheelbase: 3220mm

Turning circle: 12.9m

Rear track: 1710mm

Front track: 1710mm


Front & rear ventilated disc brakes

Terrain management system

17” x 8.5” alloy wheels

Unique Raptor trim (leather & suede)

8-way powered driver & passenger seats

Dual zone automatic A/C

Navigation centre

Price: From €63,950

(Price excludes delivery and related charges)

Some of the Competition

The Ranger Raptor is effectively in the performance car segment, such is its on and off-road talents. Should you require something tamer, the following will tick the boxes: Toyota HiLux, Land Rover Defender, Land Rover Discovery, Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi L200, Isuzu D-Max, Ford Ranger Wildtrack.

First Impressions

My test Raptor was dressed in Ford Performance Blue, (other colours are, Colorado Red, Shadow Black, Frozen White and Conquer Grey colours with contrasting Dyno Grey accents), a colour normally affixed to the ST and RS road car range – an indication of where Ford place their wild child.

At the front, a new grille dominates the space between the xenon high-intensity discharge headlights and above a frame mounted front-bumper system. The front bumper includes new LED fog lamps with air-curtain ducts that improve air flow around the body.

Flared composite front wings offer additional protection amid the giggle-weeds and allow for longer suspension travel and oversized tyres. A very practical design of the side steps provide drainage points for mud, sand and snow, as well as providing protection for the rear of the Raptor. Such is the height of the Raptor those side steps are also necessary to gain access and egress, without the need for twenty minutes of stretching beforehand.

The Ranger Raptor wears a modified rear bumper, with an integrated tow bar and a capacity to haul 2,500kg. Two front recovery hooks have a rating up to up to 4,635kg, while two at the rear are rated 3,863kg. The load tray behind the cabin measures 1,560mm by 1,743mm.

Inside Story

Anyone who has been inside of a sporting Ford will relate to the Ranger Raptor’s interior. Blue-stitched leather and suede mix easily, the ambience one of practical functionality. Its potential and intent can be deduced via the centre-marked leather steering wheel and the magnesium paddle shifters, allowing immediate manual access to the ten-speed transmission.

Practical technology at hand

These include Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system, which enables drivers to control audio, navigation and connected smartphones using simple, conversational voice commands. The system delivers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto at no extra cost, and features SYNC AppLink for voice-activation of a range of smartphone apps.

The system’s central 8-inch colour touchscreen can be operated with pinch and swipe gestures, and features sat-nav technology that offers a “breadcrumb” feature to leave a trail when exploring unchartered areas. FordPass Connect embedded modem technology delivers connectivity on the move.

Raptor ready to rumble

Developed by Ford Performance, the Ranger Raptor carries race-bred suspension, FOX shock absorbers with Position Sensitive Damping and uses a 150mm wider track and has a 51mm taller ride height compared with the Ranger XLT. Front damper travel is increased by 32 per cent, and rear travel by 18 per cent.

The high performance 2.5-inch (63.5mm) diameter dampers are supported by aluminium control arms, with protruding shock absorber towers at the front. A bespoke new coilover rear suspension arrangement features an integrated Watt’s linkage that allows the axle to move up and down with very little lateral movement.

Retarding the forward propulsion of the Raptor is left to twin-piston front callipers, increased in piston diameter by more than 20 per cent compared with the standard Ranger pick-up to 51mm, and 332mm by 32mm ventilated discs. Rear braking performance is also upgraded to a 54mm diameter rear calliper, and 332mm by 24mm ventilated discs.

Shod with 33” x 11”, (838mm x 285mm), All-terrain BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 tyres, which have been specially developed for the Ranger Raptor, their toughened  and tread pattern are specifically designed to provide grip rain/wet, mud, sand and snow conditions.


As driver you can choose from six Terrain Management System modes including:

  • Normal mode – emphasising comfort, fuel economy and driveability
  • Sport mode – more responsive for spirited on-road driving
  • Grass/Gravel/Snow mode – designed to inspire safe and confident driving on off-road slippery and uneven surfaces
  • Mud/Sand mode – tuning vehicle responses for optimum traction and momentum in deep, deformable surfaces like loose sand and mud
  • Rock mode –  specifically for low-speed rocky terrain where smooth controllability is key
  • Baja mode – tuning responses for high-speed off-road performance

Raptor driver assistance and safety Tech

These include an enhanced version of Ford Stability Control incorporating Roll Mitigation Function and Electronic Stability Control; Trailer Sway Control; Hill Start Assist; Hill Descent Control and Load Adaptive Control.

On the road

Seriously refined on the road, with little or no road noise intrusion. Not overly hard or bouncy as might be imagined, and albeit powered by a ‘meagre’ 2.0litre diesel, your best friend on the open road is cruise control, as the bi-turbo’s stealthy progress can lead you into forbidden territory.

It steers well, stays on line and is very smooth on the up or down-change of its ten-speed automatic. It was a real surprise on-road in how it behaved so well, devoid of the normal ‘work-horse’ feel of other crew cabs. All of which is down to how it is set up underneath, where Ford Performance has breathed seriously heavy and produced a nigh-on faultless sport truck.

An afternoon spent off-road failed to bring a dot of sweat out of the Raptor. Placed in four-wheel drive low it went anywhere it was pointed. Sharp descents posed no issue with  Hill-Descent Control guiding this 2.5tonne crew-cab with ease. On a rutted dirt track, the selection of Baja Mode allowed for the Raptor raison d'être to be experienced, where it behaved as if on the finest asphalt – no heroics, just a haughty dismissal of mud and ruts at a pace and decorum that damn near defied physics. 

There are few reasons here to own a Ranger Raptor, the logic of doing so undoubtedly going to make you the conversation topic of most people you know. Should you be someone who doesn’t succumb to logic or the pressure of your peers, then this brilliant piece of kit was meant for you. Feck the logic