Ford Ranger 2.0Bi-Turbo D/C 4x4 Raptor
WHY IT'S HERE
To find out if it really is all it is made out to be...and whether we can live with it every day.
You likely know by now that South African car culture is very interesting with the bakkie segment remaining more divisive than ever before.
The locally-manufactured Ford Ranger Raptor remains the flagship model in the Ranger stable. As its name denotes, it is heavily influenced by the F-150 Raptor sold in the USA and shares pretty much its over-and-above philosophy.
A few months ago, we welcomed the Ford Ranger Raptor to the TGSA garage and, quite immediately, it became obvious that this is not just a bakkie with beefier cosmetics and a high-riding suspension, but proper engineering expertise has gone into making it one of the most impressive pick-ups we’ve ever tested.
Wearing its stunning solid Colorado red hue, our Raptor long-termer features a raised and frame-mounted front bumper, a front grille modelled after the F-150 Raptor, with fairly flared wheel arches and diecast aluminium alloy side steps.
Its towing capabilities include twin front tow hooks, twin rear recovery tow hooks plus an integrated tow bar that’s rated at 2,500 kg. It rides on specially-developed 17” BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres.
As an off-road-focused bakkie, bespoke mechanical tweaking happened underneath. The Raptor is fitted with front and rear Fox Racing shock absorbers, a rear coil-over spring conversion with a new Watts linkage that helps to stabilise the car in both off- and on-road situations.
The interior is stylish with a distinct premium feel thanks to Ford Performance. It comes with front sports seats trimmed in Alcantara, blue stitching as well as leather accents.
To make up for its sporty stance, the Raptor also boasts lightweight magnesium paddle shifters, an ‘on-centre’ red marker on the multi-function steering wheel and Ford Performance treadplates.
Over the festive period, the Ford Ranger Raptor showcased itself as a renowned companion throughout without any fuss. From intense off-roading, and road trips to hauling a defective tractor tyre, we can pretty much summarise that ‘capable’ is the right word to describe our long-termer.
Power delivery comes from a 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo diesel engine with 157 kW of power and 500 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is shared amongst other of Ford’s latest products.
While the engine won’t set your yearning ablaze, it sure gets the job done on a day-to-day basis, thanks to the transmission that effectively keeps the engine in its powerband. However, things tend to get slightly disappointing when the engine is really pushed as the accelerative shove is short-lived. This begs the question; is this really the engine the Raptor should have? Probably not!
Besides that, the Ford Ranger Raptor remains one of the most impressive bakkies we have ever tested. The steering is direct, partly thanks to the knobby tyres biting into the surface of the road, while the rear suspension isn’t subjected to as much jitter as you’d find on most double cabs.
Also on the plus side, the Raptor’s abilities remain unmatched and feel unintimidated on rutted and damaged gravel roads.
On the thirsty side of things, the Ford Ranger Raptor is too far from being economical with the numbers hovering around the 11.2l/100 km mark even when driven with the lightest foot. Again, the small engine could be the culprit here.
During my festive tenure with the Raptor, it was time for its first-ever service at 15,000 km and that meant finding a dedicated Ford dealer closest to me. Thankfully, there was one in the small town of Hazyview which is about 45 km away from Agincourt.
The service process proved seamless, thanks to the Ford shuttle service as well as a comfortable waiting area. The whole servicing duration could have been made quicker if it wasn’t for load shedding, however, it took less than four hours and we were back on the road again.
Our Ford Ranger Raptor has been an absolute drive and I’d say it’s all systems go for the new year.
Ford Ranger 2.0Bi-Turbo D/C 4x4 Raptor
WHY IT'S HERE
To get the team around for launches, ferrying magazines from the depot and filming.
Ever since the year 2022 started, it has had its fair share of motoring-shifting events.
Just before we concluded 2021, Ford took the heavy camo off its new locally-manufactured Ranger bakkie that is set to live a double life as part of the joint venture between Volkswagen and Ford for the next-generation Amarok. We’re now deep within the year 2022 and the American car marque has showcased its Everest and vicious Ranger Raptor that both boast substantial changes to help them combat in their respective folds.
Not that we are complaining but it has also been a busy year, so far, at the TGSA offices we welcomed our Ford Ranger Raptor to the long-term garage a few months ago. As remarkable as it is to be chaperoning regular test units, it becomes a hands-on exercise, especially when committing to undertake all the TGSA assignments. It's been all systems go for a while now.
Apart from being just a proper off-road bruiser, the Ford Ranger Raptor also proves to be a monumental mover of freight, this was evident when transporting magazines from the depot to our storage facility.
When it comes to living with the Raptor in a daily family environment, it has been an absolute pleasure even though that comes at a cost when taking current fuel prices into consideration.
The interior has picked up a few bespoke features when compared with the standard Ranger models such as a new steering wheel, lightweight magnesium paddle shifters and Raptor-specific seats. Speaking of seats, they lend plenty of support but they are also hewn from hard-wearing fabric covers that complement the rugged stance of the Raptor.
Although the 2.0-litre Bi-turbo four-cylinder may look a tad less powerful on paper, it has proven to be capable. It delivers 157 kW and 500 Nm of torque while shuffling through a 10-speed automatic transmission that has proven to be quite responsive even when laden with load and five passengers.
We are still whining about the short-lived shove available at cruising speeds but then again, the arrival of the new Ford Raptor will address the issue decisively with its twin-turbo 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6 powerplant with 292 kW and 583 Nm.
The Fox Racing Shox shock absorbers, rear coil-over spring conversion with a new Watts linkage still remain one of our absolute favourite setups thanks to its ability to soak up bumps while the bigger 17” BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres keep us covered from punctures, yes, we’ve come across daring potholes and survived.
Sometimes we are a little too quick to judge, our first report of the Raptor mentioned that the bakkie was far from economical. Take into account, though, its weight of over 2,000 kg, and it dawns on you that it was never supposed to save you bucks at the pumps.
Getting the 80-litre fuel tank filled up from scratch at the current R21.48 per litre asking price cost us R1,720 which added about 600 km worth of driving range, yikes. Anyway, we are glad to report that it covered more than that and the fuel consumption figures barely surpassed 10.9l/100 km which is really impressive when you think about it.
There are still more tasks to do with the Ranger Raptor such as attending launches and shoots while thoroughly exploring the six different driving modes. Stay tuned.
Ford Ranger 2.0Bi-Turbo D/C 4x4 Raptor
WHY IT'S HERE
Time to put its ‘Lifestyle Bakkie’ label to the test.
As we near the 30,000 km mark in our long-term Ford Ranger Raptor, we’ve been won over by the bakkie’s credentials and near undaunted nature. With the rain wreaking havoc on our roads, the tar can no longer be described as tar and no matter where you go, you’re sure to find crevices to dodge. In the Raptor, we’ve done that with much less anxiety than most. It simply glides over potholes with determined solidity.
As you would have seen from our previous reports on the Ranger Raptor, South African’s adoption of bakkies can be attributed to its multi-faceted use. One of these is its compatibility with the leisure and lifestyle that outdoorsy, adventure-types enjoy. We are in one of the most spectacular countries aren’t we?
To that end, there were two options of leisurely travel from which to choose. Snow chasing anyone? It sounds exciting doesn’t it? No it isn’t really, unless you actually manage to catch the snowfall, which in our part of the world is very seldom. We waited weeks for a proper snow dump, perusing all sorts of weather apps, looking at all the snow chasing groups on Whatsapp and Facebook to no good fortune. So on to the next option which was a camping/fishing trip with the family. Destination? A small nature reserve outside Potchefstroom.
To make the most of our 191 km route from Northern Jozi, I opted to go the long way around, traversing very close to a phalanx of mines known for their bountiful beauty(not) and their torrid roads made so by all the trucks that do work there. For the most part, the drive was comfortable because the Raptor is a solid, bump-soaking cruiser, despite the weighty load (tents and all) in the rear.
One of our observations was how many other Ranger Raptors we saw in the vicinity of all these mines. We counted five others on our trip to Potch and considering that it is mining country, it makes sense. A Raptor is all the bakkie you need for that environment. It’s those execs and senior management car allowances.
But further afield, we arrived at a turn that would take us to our camp site, on the banks of the Boskop Dam. The tar gave way to some pretty rough gravel where the rain had done major damage eroding away large chunks of the route. Were we in something smaller, a mid-sized SUV perhaps, maybe we’d worry but the Raptor was undeterred.
Sitting around the campfire, we talked about the Raptor’s performance as a leisure vehicle. Right at the top of the list is its significant platform and suspension. That hardcore, go-anywhere ability gives a lot of confidence despite the environment. You just don’t worry. My kids love its tech and appointments. A two-pin power source in the second row is a win, its Apple CarPlay and infotainment system score highly, and its very decent sound system which we put to good use before we arrived (the camp site was strict about having no music.) I must also make mention of the Alcantara and leather combination seats. They offer a combination of comfort and body-hugging sportiness and seem to be aging quite well.
My wife queried the fuel consumption and thankfully, the Raptor has improved its consumption the longer we have had it. Our trip dropped it to a solid 10.1l/100 km which is very good for a car this size and loaded with five people, tents, cooler boxes, fishing gear, food for two nights, charcoal, wood and more.
What this first generation Raptor was missing, shown up from our trip, is the practicality of tie-down areas in the load bin. The Raptor’s lack of a sports bar also didn’t sit well in some quarters which Is why Ford opted to fit one to the facelifted version of the current generation model(we’re driving the pre-facelift model.)
There are a number of accessories for the Raptor that would solve some of these issues and that ultimately would be up to an owner to decide. For what it’s worth from my point of view, it has a solid towing (2.5 tonnes braked) and loading capability (981 kg) and so boats and other sorts of lifestyle paraphernalia can easily be brought along.
We’ve spoken at length about the engine and transmission combo but I can assure you, we won’t be seeing 10.1l/100 km on the all-new Raptor that brakes cover towards the end of the year and that will be a key difference that we might miss in the future. The fuel price helps with that argument too.
The Ranger Raptor plays leisure bakkie with the same undaunted stride as it has for the past few months.