By on February 7, 2018

Ford Ranger Raptor

Sticking to an incomprehensible corporate script of teasing the hell out of American truck buyers, Ford today launched the long-awaited Ranger Raptor … but chose to do so halfway around the world from Dearborn.

It’s certainly a handsome brute, at least to this author, who admittedly is a fan of the brash and outrageous (*dons Texas-sized belt buckle before heaving himself into his obnoxiously bright-red brodozer pickup*). If the specs on the machine shown in Thailand make an intact transition to American soil, Blue Oval fans will have a true alternative to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

We’ve seen camouflaged Ranger Raptors tooling around Detroit since approximately the Jurassic era, so to finally see one in production form marks the end of an incredibly drawn out peepshow. Its off-road résumé reads well, with approach and departure angles (32.5 and 24 degrees, respectively) within a hair’s breadth of the Chevy but enough for Ford to claim they are better than the bowtie measurements.

A Watt’s linkage rear suspension with coilover rear springs is said to ensure lateral stability of the solid rear axle in gnarly off-road situations while improving on-road ride and handling. Internal Bypass technology in the shocks is present, mirroring the beefiest Colorado. Newly developed Position Sensitive Damping shock absorbers should provide higher damping forces at full jounce and rebound, enabling better capability off-road and soft landings during gonzo jumps and desert whoop-de-doos.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Lower damping forces in the shock’s mid-travel zone should alternatively provide a comfy ride during on-road trips. These expensive units truly provide the best of both worlds and, having sampled the tech on a trophy truck course in the ZR2, I can personally attest that these types of shocks make for a pillow-like landing even after getting all four wheels off the ground. I’m glad Ford took the plunge and upped its game to meet the competition head on.

The truck also deploys a Terrain Management System, like those found on snazzy off-roaders like the Land Rover Discovery. A steering wheel-mounted five-button switch allows drivers to cycle through different driving modes. Normal and Sport modes are designed for on-road fun. When it’s time to get dirty, drivers will be permitted to select select either Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Sand, Rock, or Baja modes. No word if the Rock setting will give you a People’s Elbow while asking if you’re smelling what he is cooking.

In Baja mode, Ford says safety nannies are pared back in terms of intervention to allow spirited off-road driving without fighting the vehicle’s on-board systems. Gears in the 10-speed ‘box will be held longer, and downshifts will be more aggressive. Ironman Stewart never had it this good in the desert.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Its design is appropriately aggro, in this author’s jaundiced eyes, considering over-the-top styling cues like the blocky F O R D billboard in the Ranger Raptor’s front grille. Its front fenders are said to be comprised of composite materials, meaning drivers can bash them over tough trails without inflicting the same amount of damage that would be suffered by steel or aluminum panels. Or, y’know, they’ll survive dings from errant shopping carts at the mall.

The Raptor Ranger is pictured with BFGoodrich A/T tires measuring 285/70/17. The engine mentioned during the Thailand reveal is a 2.0-liter turbodiesel. Don’t expect that mill here in America. During the regular Ranger’s rollout in Detroit, company execs made noises about that model’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-four being appropriately beefed up for truck duty. That engine has direct fuel injection, a twin-scroll turbocharger, chain-driven dual overhead cams, and will be paired with a 10-speed automatic.

I’d place a very large wager that the Ranger Raptor will eventually come to America, sooner rather than later, especially in light of the Colorado ZR2 and Toyota’s imminent refresh of its Tacoma TRD Pro.

Ford Ranger Raptor

[Images: Ford]

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23 Comments on “Clever Girl: Ranger Raptor Appears … In Thailand...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Nice interior.

  • avatar
    Heino

    It really is nice looking. But to prevent it from competing with the larger Raptor, it will be offered in RHD only.

  • avatar

    May as well debut it there. Thailand had the Ranger first, and ours isn’t any different.

  • avatar
    carguy

    The 2.7TT V6 would probably be a better choice for the US but this is a good looking truck.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Agreed. On that note, I would like to see a lot of different engine options for our Ranger (not just the Raptor), including the n/a 3.3L V-6 and the 2.7L EcoBoost from F-150, along the I-5 PowerStroke they already put in the Transit. Maybe they don’t want internal competition with F-150, which is why they’re evidently reluctant to share powertrains with it. And the I-5 diesel could undermine the new V-6 Diesel F-150. I dunno. Its not like the Ranger won’t be as profitable.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        John,
        Here is what they are going to do with the Aussie Colorado by Wilkinshaw/HSV;

        “The high-tech blown V6 in the Wildfire belts out up to 313kW and 583Nm in the Cadillac CTS V-Sport, which should be enough to propel the workhorse ute to 100km/h in about 5.5 seconds – assuming it can get the grunt to the bitumen.”

        https://www.wheelsmag.com.au/news/1712/walkinshaw-wildfire-300kw-twin-turbo-v6-holden-colorado

        It looks promising for a person wanting 400 or so horse power in a mid sizer.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Very nice to see another entrant in the 4-door 4×4 off road class. Selection was getting dire there for awhile.

  • avatar
    Noble713

    I’d eventually like to get one of these for my Thai friend who’s family has a palm oil farm with a clapped-out 70’s Ford pickup.

    I’m not even a truck guy but this is a sexy vehicle.

  • avatar
    arj9084

    Very nice pictures of it screaming across/resting in Thai desert landscapes too.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    we get the 2.2 diesel which isnt such a fun drive

    however i dont know why they dont put in the 3.2 five cyl. diesel

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Tony,
      At the moment we don’t know what engine we’ll be getting in our Ranger Raptor.

      All nations received the 2.2 diesel, but not all received the 3.2.

      There is no mention that the 2 litre will be used in anything but the Ranger Raptor.

      Oh, the 3.2 is no race car engine either. These engines are more commercial than carlike.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      The Ford 2.0L TD replaces the 2.2L in Thai production, the 2.2L actually being a Mazda engine made under licence. The 3.2L continues.

      <>

      Only compared with the rock hard cart springs on the standard Thai model. All the North American models will have coils.

  • avatar
    ernest

    Nice looking truck. Big questions would be what powertrain and how much,

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    A 285/70 is essentially a 33″ tire, big meats for that 2.0L to turn with any urgency. I wonder what the axle gearing is?

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    ya, but WHERE’S THE SNORKEL?!?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’m hoping Ford offers a better engine.

    This is a performance ute. Why the 2 litre diesel, with what amounts to a little more power and torque than the 3.2?

    Is this really designed for the EU or Thailand first?

    When Ford removed the Falcon range from Australia we lost a V8 ute, not that I support building vehicles at a loss. With the demise of the Falcon car at least Ford is offering the Mustang, which I might add is Ford’s second biggest selling car in Australia.

    As technically great the Ranger Raptor is, it needs many more ponies under the bonnet.

    Well, Ford, you fncked this one up, didn’t you.

  • avatar

    I’m hoping Ford offers a better engine.

    This is a performance ute. Why the 2 litre diesel, with what amounts to a little more power and torque than the 3.2?

    Is this really designed for the EU or Thailand first?


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