Thailand, Bangkok: Many of the details of the hotly anticipated Ford Ranger Raptor have been revealed. Chris Bowen has the details.

The souped up version, based on the Australian Ford Ranger as opposed to the USA’s F150, is said to be the latest halo vehicle in Ford’s Performance stable of vehicles. There will be one Raptor model, so essentially outside of colour choice it’s a one size fits all dual-cab.

The modifications underneath the sheet metal are what really sets it apart from the stock Ranger. A new power train includes a 10-speed automatic, paired with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel. It produces 157kW and 500Nm of torque.

Gone is the leaf suspension found in the Ranger, in its place are front and rear Fox Racing Shox shocks. This results in increased ride height, wider track and better stability both on and off road. The new coil rear suspension utilises a Watts link setup combined with solid rear axle. The underlying frame uses different grades of high-strength low-alloy steel. Extra stiff side-rails help absorb off-road impacts. Essentially you could launch the Raptor, within reason, into the air without snapping it in half.

The brakes are now far more serious anchors. Up front, twin-piston calipers now measure 9.5mm in diameter, with the ventilated rotors 332 x 32mm in size. At the rear disc brakes feature a brake actuation master cylinder and booster to increase braking performance.

Towing capacity may well draw the ire of Ford fans, the Raptor can only handle 2500kg as opposed to the Ranger’s 3500kg. Although with the extra performance and suspension tune, it comes as no surprise. Of course tray and passenger payload is included in any towing capacity claim anyway. At the back-end a modified bumper comes with an integrated tow bar and two recovery hooks rated at 3.8 tonnes.

“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.”

On the styling front Ford has done its best to mimic the American variant. The word Ford is emblazoned in capitals across the front of the grille. Composite materials are used to beef up the durability of the front fenders of the Raptor.

The vehicle is noticeably bigger. It’s 1873mm tall, 2180mm wide and 5398mm long. But it’s the wider front and rear tracks at 1710mm that give it significant road precedence. Off-roaders will note with interest the increased ground clearance to 283mm. Approach angles are now of 32.5 degrees with a ramp over angle of 24 degrees and a departure angle of 24 degrees.

There are multiple on and off road 4×4 modes. Including Normal and Sport for around town. Out of the suburbs there are Grass/Gravel/Snow mode, Mud/Sand mode, Rock mode and what they call Baja mode. This is for high-speed off-road performance inspired by the Baja Desert Rally.

Inside the cabin different materials such as ‘technical suede’ and colours set it apart from the Ranger. The instrument cluster has been modified to meet the edgy looks, sports seats will hold the front passengers in place and even the steering wheel has been modified.

Ford Australia is confident it will secure enough Raptors to meet predicted demand. The Ranger has always been highly sort after and sits only second outright in vehicle sales behind the Toyota Hilux.

No pricing was announced at the launch, so one can only speculate. Ford Australia says it will hit showroom floors late in the 2nd half of the year


Chris Bowen travelled to Thailand as a guest of Ford Australia – click here for our full list of disclosures and commercial interests