Ultimate performance pick-up
Ford this week confirmed that the new Ranger Raptor – the toughest and most high-performing version ever of Europe’s best-selling pick-up – is storming into Europe, as the bold new model debuted at the Gamescom trade fair, in Cologne, Germany.
The Ranger Raptor that will be sold in Europe will be built at the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, South Africa, following a R3-billion investment in plant upgrades earlier this year.
Developed by Ford Performance for the true enthusiast off-roader, the first-ever Ranger Raptor will go on sale to thrill-seeking customers in Europe in mid-2019 powered by a Bi-turbo version of Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine that delivers 213 PS and 500 Nm of torque; and Ford’s new 10-speed automatic gearbox.
The commanding presence delivered by the ultimate Ranger’s imposing dimensions and extreme styling is supported by a unique Ford Performance chassis optimised for high-speed off-road driving and go-anywhere capability.
Ford and Microsoft this week also revealed that the new Ranger Raptor will feature in the new Forza Horizon 4 video racing game, giving even more performance driving fans the opportunity to experience the pick-up’s unprecedented capabilities. By launching the new Ford Ranger Raptor at Gamescom – Europe’s biggest event of its kind – Ford became the first manufacturer to launch a new vehicle at the event.
“Forget everything you think you know about pick-ups,” said Leo Roeks, Ford Performance Director, Europe. “Our new Ranger Raptor is a different breed – a thoroughbred desert racer and extreme lifestyle off-roader that can toil with the best of them in the harshest of working conditions.”
Rugged yet refined
Built to withstand high-impact off-road events, Ranger Raptor’s unique, super-strong reinforced chassis frame uses high-strength, low-alloy steels to endure the punishment delivered by off-road racing.
Raptor’s race-bred suspension has been specifically crafted to tackle fearsome terrain at high-speed while remaining in complete control and comfort. FOX shock absorbers with Position Sensitive Damping provide higher damping forces at extremes for unparalleled off-road capability, and lower damping forces in more moderate conditions for a smoother ride on-road.
The high performance dampers with 46.6 mm pistons are supported by aluminium control arms, with protruding shock absorber towers at the front and a bespoke new coilover rear suspension arrangement featuring an integrated Watt’s linkage that allows the axle to move up and down with very little lateral movement. Braking is performed by twin-piston front callipers; 332 mm by 32 mm ventilated front discs; and 332 mm by 24 mm ventilated rear discs.
All-terrain BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 tyres have been specially developed for the Ranger Raptor. Measuring 838 mm in diameter and 285 mm wide, the design offers a tough sidewall to take on the most formidable environments with confidence, and an aggressive off-road tread pattern which provides an iron grip in wet, mud, sand and snow conditions.
“The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road 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.”
Ranger Raptor also features unique underbody protection to deflect off-road obstacles. The new bash plate is made from 2.3 mm thickness high-strength steel in addition to the Ranger’s standard engine and transfer case under-shields.
Impressive in form and function
Unveiled in Ford Performance Blue with contrasting Dyno Grey accents, the new Ranger Raptor’s aggressive design is driven by performance and functionality.
A dramatic new grille inspired by the world’s first factory-built high performance off road truck – the Ford F-150 Raptor – dominates the space between the xenon high-intensity discharge headlights and above a frame mounted front-bumper system. Offering desert durability performance, the front bumper also includes new LED fog lamps with functional air-curtain ducts that improve air flow around the body.
Striking, flared composite front fenders are designed to shrug off damage from off-road usage, and allow for longer suspension travel and oversized tires. The side step boards are designed specifically to prevent rock spray from hitting the rear of the truck, and feature drain points for sand, mud and snow.
Ford Performance DNA is present throughout the interior, which delivers quality craftsmanship, harmonious colours and durable materials for driving scenarios from the high street to high altitude. The bolstered seats are specially designed for off-road high speed support with a dual-firmness cushion for ultimate comfort and suede-effect materials for enhanced grip.
Blue stitching and leather accents feature throughout. Lightweight, racing-style magnesium paddle shifters for crisp gear changes are easily accessible near the perforated leather hand grips of the bespoke steering wheel, which uses an on-centre marker to help drivers keep track of wheel position off-road, and is embossed with the Raptor logo.
Tuned for all terrains
Ranger Raptor enables drivers to select from six Terrain Management System modes to tackle a wide range of terrain and driving scenarios, 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, just like drivers need in the famous Baja Desert Rally.
Ford engineers extensively tested the new Ranger Raptor’s powerful Bi-turbo 2.0-litre EcoBlue and 10-speed automatic powertrain to prove durability in the most fatiguing conditions, including running the high-pressure and low-pressure turbochargers until they glowed red-hot for 200 hours non-stop. The two turbochargers work in series at lower engine rpms for enhanced torque and responsiveness. At higher rpm, the larger low-pressure turbocharger delivers peak power.
Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission is shared with the F-150 Raptor and has been created with high-strength steel, aluminium alloys and composites to optimise durability and weight. The wider ratio-span results in better acceleration, responsiveness and fuel-efficiency. Real-time adaptive shift-scheduling algorithms help ensure the right gear is selected at the right time. A unique transmission calibration also includes a Live in Drive function, with paddle shifters always available for manual gear selection override.
Driver assistance and safety technologies that boost confidence for drivers facing unknown off-road challenges or demanding working environments 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.
Practical technology at hand
Sophisticated technologies designed to make the new Ranger Raptor comfortable and convenient on- or off-road 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 is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™, 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 comes into its own when off-roading in remote locations, even offering a “breadcrumb” feature to leave a trail when exploring unchartered areas. FordPass Connect embedded modem technology delivers connectivity on the move.
“The new Ranger Raptor delivers all the tools a thrill-seeker could ask for,” Roeks said. “Like a motocross bike, snowmobile and an ATV in one – it’s the ultimate adventure pick-up.” - Quickpic