The first-ever Ranger Raptor, Ford’s new off-road, performance pick-up truck, blasted out from behind its camouflage during an reveal event in Thailand today.
The ultimate Ranger is purposefully designed, built and tested to set a benchmark as the only factory-built performance truck across Asia Pacific. Designed by Ford Performance team for the true enthusiast off-roader, Ford Ranger Raptor strengthens Ford’s commitment to deliver “Built Ford Tough” pickup trucks to customers in Asia Pacific.
“We are so excited and proud to unleash this vehicle to the public, driving it really makes you feel like a hero,” said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance. “The Ford Performance team is excited to extend the Raptor name from our flagship off-road performance F-150 to Ranger. Just like the F-150 Raptor, the Ranger Raptor builds upon the core capability of the range of vehicles it comes from and carries the unmistakable Ford Performance DNA appearance.”
The Ranger Raptor features distinctive design cues inside and out that are functionally driven.
At the front, a stunning new grille takes styling cues from the world’s first factory-built high performance off road truck, the F-150 Raptor. The iconic block FORD lettering proudly positioned within the grille design is unmistakable when emerging from a dust cloud.
A frame mounted front-bumper system is designed to offer desert durability performance and a distinctive presence. The front bumper also includes new LED fog lamps with functional air-curtain ducts, which help to reduce air resistance of the body.
Using composite materials, the front fenders not only look tough, but resist dents and dings often associated with off-road usage. The flared shape of the fenders are required for the long travel suspension and oversized tires. The exterior color palate offerings include Lightning Blue, Race Red, Shadow Black, Frozen White, as well as a unique Hero color for the Ranger Raptor, Conquer Grey. Contrasting Dyno Grey accents helps to accentuate the vehicle’s look even further.
Vehicle stance is noticeably bigger from every angle, standing at an impressive 1873mm tall, 2180mm wide and 5398mm long, with wider front and rear tracks at 1710mm. Ground clearance is increased to 283mm, while the approach angle of 32.5°, ramp over angle of 24°, and departure angle of 24° as a package are superior to anything seen before.
Starting from the ground up, the side steps are a cut above the rest. The step boards were designed specifically to prevent rock spray from hitting the rear of the truck and the holes have been designed to drain sand, mud and snow. The tough high-strength aluminium alloy die-cast main step board is designed for durability, undergoing testing which includes a load of 100kg being applied 84,000 times to simulate over 10 years in the field. A two-stage coating process involves the main step board firstly being powder-coated, before then having a robust grit-paint applied which results in a tough appearance that is also highly durable – scuff, scratch, stain-resistant with superior resistance to environmental weathering.
At the rear, a modified rear bumper comes with an integrated tow bar and two recovery hooks rated at 3.8 tonnes. Updated styling to the rear includes flush sensor bezels and specially packaged and styled tow connectors. Providing an abundance of space, the 1560mm x 1743mm tray has been designed with the weekend explorer in mind, while the 2500kg towing capacity also accounts for dirt bikes or jet-skis, as well as traditional work needs during the week.
Inside, Ranger Raptor offers a tailored Ford Performance DNA interior design with a high level of craftsmanship, harmonious colours and durable materials suitable for both off-road driving and everyday use. The seats are specially designed for off-road high speed performance support, allowing the driver to engage in enthusiastic handling, while also providing superior on-road comfort. The use of technical suede on the seats for additional occupant grip shows the practicality behind the material choice.
Multiple long-distance drive events were staged to gauge just how the seats perform over an extended period of time, both on highways and off-road tracks to simulate customer usage. The dual hardness cushion ticked all the boxes, providing superior lateral support and reduced feel of any chassis vibration. This is achieved by a modified structure, using bolsters on the seat back for greater support.
When getting behind the wheel, Ranger Raptor drivers will notice the detailed cockpit differences everywhere they look, including the blue stitching and leather accents. The cluster has aggressive styling, encompassing a host of Driver Assist features. The steering wheel is distinctively different; new Raptor DNA lightweight magnesium paddle shifters for crisp gear changing are easily accessible near the perforated leather hand grip sections on the rim for precision off-road shifting when you really need it.
Ford Performance DNA has played a significant role in the purposeful styling, including the ‘On-centre’ marker – a red stripe at the top-middle of the wheel to let you know where the centre is when operating the vehicle at high speed. The steering wheel is finished off with the Raptor logo debossed into the spoke bezel.
Chassis, Brakes and Suspension
The Ranger Raptor’s chassis frame is a new unique frame that is specifically designed for the vehicle to travel at high speeds off road and endure the punishment that off road racing provides.
Ranger Raptor’s innovative new coilover rear suspension uses a Watt’s link setup with solid rear axle to provide superior lateral control off-road while also helping improve ride and handling.
The frame design incorporates new geometry for the large suspension, providing the Raptor DNA increased track and wheel travel. Built to withstand high-impact off-road events, Ranger Raptor’s frame consists of various grades of high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steel. The stiffened side-rails are made from increased HSLA grade steel to absorb off-road high speed impacts.
The front accommodates strengthened protruding shock absorber towers, while a new bespoke coilover rear suspension with an integrated Watt’s linkage allows the axle to move up and down with very little lateral movement. Two recovery hooks rated at 4.5 tonnes can be found at the front, plus reinforced spare tyre mounting cross-members for the larger 17-inch Raptor rims.
The braking system on the Ranger Raptor offers extreme stopping power through new and bespoke components. At the front, twin-piston calipers have been increased by 9.5mm in diameter, while the ventilated rotors are an impressive 332 x 32mm in size. At the rear, Ranger Raptor comes with disc brakes with a brake actuation master cylinder and booster to increase braking performance. The 332 x 24mm rear rotor is ventilated and coupled with a new 54mm caliper.
“The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road versus any other available production road vehicle in our markets, and still ride like a millionaire on-road,” said Damien Ross, Chief Program Engineer, Ranger Raptor, Ford Motor Company.
“Everything about the Ranger Raptor builds on the already outstanding sophisticated feel and functional capability of the Ranger, and then goes further. From a driving dynamic fun standpoint, it is really an exceptionally special vehicle.”
Raptor’s race-bred suspension has been specifically crafted to tackle undulating terrain at high-speed while remaining in complete control and comfort. The Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) shock absorbers (dampers) provide higher damping forces at full jounce and rebound to enable better off-road capabilities, and lower damping forces in the mid-travel zone for a class leading plush ride during on-road trips. These settings are truly calibrated for the best of both worlds.
The dampers are exclusively manufactured by Fox Racing Shox with 46.6mm piston for front and rear. Designed for off-road endurance terrain, the dampers, coupled with the long travel suspension, allow for an unsurpassed damping performance off-road and a plushest of rides on-road thanks to Internal Bypass technology.
Holding them in place are the forged aluminium upper arms and cast aluminium lower arms to facilitate greater suspension travel and optimized for performance and extreme off-road durability.
Hit the Beaten Track
Given the unforgiving terrain Ranger Raptor has been developed for, it needed an aggressive set of tyres to keep it stable on and off-road. All-terrain BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 tyres have been specially developed for the Ranger Raptor. Holding a strong presence, each tyre measures 838mm in diameter and 285mm in width. The design offers a tough sidewall to take on all environments with confidence, a super grippy tread to extend owners’ adventure time on and off-road and an aggressive off-road tread pattern which provides grip in wet, mud, sand and snow conditions.
Ranger Raptor also comes with unique underbody protection to deflect off-road obstacles. The new bash plate is made from 2.3mm thick high-strength steel and meets enhanced capabilities for strength inline with Ford Performance requirements. The silver finished guard allows clearance to the dual front recovery hooks. Working together with the existing engine and transfer case undershields, the three elements provide protection to components such as the radiator, Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS), Front End Accessory Drive (FEAD), front cross-member, engine sump and front differential.
Tuned for all Terrains
Ranger Raptor comes with a Terrain Management System (TMS) offering six modes for various driving experiences, which can be selected via a dedicated five-button switch located on the steering wheel. Each mode has been calibrated to offer the best possible combination of technologies working in unison to tackle the chosen terrain or driving style with aplomb. These include:
- Normal mode – Emphasising comfort, fuel economy and driveability
- Sport mode – Responsive for spirited on-road driving. This means fast, crisp gear shifts at higher engine speeds to aid throttle response. The mapping reacts to increased demand inputs from the driver by holding gears longer and downshifting more aggressively.
- Grass/Gravel/Snow mode – Designed to inspire safe and confident driving on off-road slippery and uneven surfaces. This is done through smoother gear shifts and second-gear starts, minimizing the probability of wheel slip.
- Mud/Sand mode – Vehicle responsiveness is tuned for optimum traction and momentum in deep, deformable surfaces like loose sand and mud. This is achieved by maintaining lower gears with high torque.
- Rock mode – Used specifically for low-speed rocky terrain where smooth controllability is key.
- Baja mode – Vehicle responsiveness is tuned for high-speed off-road performance, just like drivers need in the famous Baja Desert Rally. In this mode, vehicle systems like Traction Control are pared back in terms of intervention to allow spirited off-road driving without fighting the vehicle’s on-board systems. Gear selection is optimized for maximum performance, and the mapping will hold gears longer and downshift more aggressively.
Power to Move You
The Ranger Raptor powertrain features cutting edge technology to offer more power and torque, better fuel economy, less weight and with off-road specific calibrations for engine, transmission, driveline, steering, brakes and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system.
In a revolutionary move to deliver incredible performance and responsiveness, a 10-Speed transmission is combined with a new 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine in the Ranger Raptor to deliver a maximum of 213PS (157kW) of power and 500Nm of torque.
Ford engineers have tested the new powertrain extensively in order to prove out durability.
This testing includes running a ‘thermo cycle’ on the engine, heating both turbos to the point of glowing red for 200 hundred hours non-stop. It can withstand this torture thanks to the turbo bearings and low-pressure (LP) turbo being water cooled to reduce temperature, avoid over-heating and protect the air induction components.
Working as a team, the smaller, high-pressure (HP) turbo is connected in a sequence to the larger, LP turbo and is controlled with by-pass valves that determine the operating mode depending on engine speed. At lower engine speeds, the two turbos work in series, enhancing torque and responsiveness, while at higher engine speeds, the small HP turbo is bypassed, and the higher LP turbo provides boost to deliver more power.
The Ford-designed and Ford-built 10-speed automatic transmission is shared with the F-150 Raptor and has been created with high-strength steel, aluminium alloys and composites to optimize durability and weight. Having 10 gears means a wider ratio-span resulting in better acceleration and responsiveness. With more room to optimize gear spacing, engineers could customize gear progression far more efficiently than before, providing more accurate – and quicker – upshift and downshift capability.
The all-new electronic system features real-time adaptive shift-scheduling algorithms engineered to help ensure the right gear is selected at the right time. A unique transmission calibration also includes a ‘Live in Drive’ function, meaning that the paddle shifters are always available for manual gear selection override.
Practical Technology at Hand
Ranger Raptor comes with a host of advanced Driver Assist Technologies (DATs) at the push of a button which are not just cutting edge, but genuinely practical for everyday use.
Leading the way in connectivity, SYNCÒ 3 is a fully integrated, voice activation system that lets the driver use their favourite devices while their hands stay on the wheel and eyes on the road. The Satellite Navigation System comes into its own when off-roading in remote areas, even offering a ‘breadcrumb’ feature to leave a trail when entering unchartered areas – perfect for the serious off-roader.
High levels of active and passive safety have been designed-in from the outset, including the improved Ford Stability Control incorporating Roll Mitigation Function.
Ford’s comprehensive Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system is also there to help in difficult cornering and braking situations. The impressive technology suite includes Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Load Adaptive Control (LAC).
The rear view camera displayed on the eight-inch colour LCD screen matched with the rear parking sensors gives drivers the utmost confidence when parking anywhere.
For convenient access, an EZ Lift Tailgate uses a new rod assembly to give the owner a 66 percent reduction in initial lift force. Intelligent Access, also known as passive entry, allows the owner to unlock, lock and start the vehicle without having to reach for their keys. Using a radio frequency signal, the key fob allows the owner to start the vehicle with a press of a button, and is able to activate central locking for the doors and the tailgate. In the case of a depleted battery, a mechanical key blade is incorporated into the fob design.
An Exhilarating Driving Experience
Inheriting vital capability from the truly successful Ranger and complementing that with DNA from the F-150 Raptor, the Ranger Raptor is set to turn heads throughout Asia Pacific and around the world.
“It is amazing to enable this level of performance and create a vehicle that can provide off-road enthusiasts such an adrenaline rush,” said Hameedi.
“It really is like a motocross bike, snowmobile and an ATV rolled up into a pickup truck – it’s an incredible, awesome experience!”
The Ford Ranger Raptor will be produced in Ford Thailand Manufacturing (FTM) using Ford’s latest state of the art manufacturing techniques and facilities.
Via: Ford Motor Company South Africa