By Malusi Msomi
Year after year, Mzansi is slowly turning into a bakkie and SUV country which is chipping away at the common sedan and hatchback market. But when a big, loud, performance bakkie lands in our garage, you don’t hear us complaining. Early this year we were lucky to attend the launch of the new Ford Ranger Raptor in our beautiful neighboring country, Namibia. The Ranger Raptor felt at home on all terrains, and it performed tremendously well in the Dunes up in Namibia. After getting to grips with its performance prowess, we recently had it for a week-long test to see what it’s like to live with.
Just like its predecessor, the new Ranger Raptor looks large and in charge. It commands attention with its robust presence. At the front, it features a striking large black front grille with bold F-O-R-D lettering (which you can spot from a mile away) and F-Series C-clamp inspired headlights equipped with Matrix LED and LED daytime running lights. At the rear, LED taillights mirror the front design, while a precision grey rear bumper incorporates a step pad and high-set tow bar to improve the departure angle. Functional air vents and solid cast aluminium side steps adorn the sides, and muscular 17-inch wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich all-terrain KO2 tires complete the rugged look. You can’t help but look back at it when departing from it.
New age interior
Climbing aboard the Ranger is a rather special. The jet fighter-inspired sports seats, in both front and rear, offer improved comfort and support during high-speed cornering (in our case – city roundabouts). Being a Raptor the cabin boasts stylish touches like Code Orange accents. To give you that performance car feel, the leather sports steering wheel includes thumb swells, on-center marking, and cast magnesium paddle shifters. In the tech department, the Ranger Raptor impresses with a fully digital setup, featuring a 12.4-inch digital cluster—the largest in any Ranger. The 12-inch centre touchscreen comes with Ford’s SYNC 4A connectivity, offering wireless smartphone connectivity for both Apple CarPlay and Android, plus wireless charging. Rear passengers enjoy their own USB-A and USB-C charging ports, along with a 400-Watt inverter for convenient 240V power in the load box, complemented by a 12V socket. The cabin experience is rounded out with a standard 10-speaker, 660W Bang & Olufsen sound system which we enjoyed jamming to during our test period.
The Ranger Raptor’s engine receives a warm welcome in the form of a twin-turbo 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6, delivering an impressive 292kW and 583Nm of torque, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Its fast, with Ford claiming that this 2500kg pickup can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.5 seconds – and we believe them. Thanks to this new power unit, the Ranger Raptor gets the title of Mzansi’s fastest bakkie. It still boggles the mind that a car this big can move that fast. Speed aside, the Ranger Raptor is quite pleasant to drive every day though the Sport mode function makes for a very entertaining exhaust note which screams ‘BAAAAAAAAAAAAAP’ when you squeeze the loud pedal. Squeezing the loud pedal constantly will see you averaging around 16 l/100 km whilst sensible driving will realistically see you hovering around the 12 l/100 km mark. Overtaking is a breeze thanks to that twin-turbo V6. A little heads up, without setting the cruise control to the speed limit, you might unintentionally find yourself traveling at quite high speeds.
In terms of ride comfort, the Ranger Raptor is in a league of its own. Its ride is exceptionally smooth, albeit with a trade-off – the substantial tires bring about noticeable tyre noise within the cabin. The Ranger Raptor is equipped with new FOX Live Valve dampers, providing significant advantages for both off-road and on-road driving. Additionally, it features next-generation FOX 2.5-inch Live Valve Internal Bypass shock absorbers filled with Teflon-infused oil, reducing friction by approximately 50 percent compared to the current Ranger Raptor’s shocks.
In terms of safety, it comes with a raft of safety features which include: Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist and Hill Descent Control, Lane Keeping System with Lane Keeping Alert, Lane Keeping Aid, Road Edge Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Lane Centring, Evasive Steer Assist, Blind Spot Information System with Trailer Coverage, Active Park Assist 2.0, Pre-Collision Assist with Dynamic Brake Support, Forward Collision Warning, Automated Emergency Braking, Reverse Brake Assist, and Post-Collision Braking.
The new Ford Ranger Raptor is a remarkable piece of kit. It combines great ride comfort and off-road prowess when the mood allows. The cabin is also well appointed and is a great place to be in. The Ranger Raptor will set you back R1,184,100 and we think that you get quite a lot of car for your money.
Included as standard is a four-year/120 000km warranty, four-year/unlimited distance Roadside Assistance and five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty. The recommended service interval is 15 000km or annually, whichever occurs first. Customers have the option of purchasing a Ford Protect service or maintenance plans up to eight years or 165 000km. The warranty can be extended up to seven years or 200 000km, while the Roadside Assistance can be extended for an additional one or two years.
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