Ford Ranger Raptor review – Ford’s Baja-bashing pickup finally comes to Blighty
A testament to Ford’s engineering excellence, even if it’s not quite in context for the UK
The Ford Ranger Raptor has gathered interest like no other pickup truck in the UK. Call it cultural appropriation perhaps, but the pickup is now no longer just a broad Americanism, but a trend of commercial vehicles appealing to private buyers quickly spreading to places like the UK.
As such, it’s not entirely surprising to see Ford learning from its Raptor success in the US and applying it to the smaller Ranger, a model more in proportion to UK roads. This isn’t a half-baked job either, as the Raptor represents a near ground-up re-engineering exercise – completed in Australia, no less – with an engineering team who know a thing or two about toughness and resilience.
But is toughness and resilience really that important when roughing it out in the rolling hills of Sussex or, God forbid, central London? Perhaps not, but those new elements have had a knock-on effect, accidentally making the new Ranger Raptor the most proficient pickup on road, not to mention off it.
Ford Ranger Raptor: in detail
> Performance and 0-60mph time - For the moment, the Raptor’s performance is its biggest compromise, especially at nearly £50k.
> Engine and gearbox - The reason it’s not fast is its twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel, which although looks okay on paper, struggles to move the Raptor’s significant bulk.
> Ride and handling - The Raptor features bespoke suspension, wider tracks and an expensive set of Fox Racing dampers, making this the most composed pickup of its type
> MPG and running costs - The small diesel powertrain doesn’t mean small running costs – blame this on the Raptor’s bulk and draggy off-road tyres
> Interior and tech - The Ranger’s basic interior is largely unchanged, but new touch points, seats and detailing, not to mention a set of natty gearshift paddles, help it along
> Design - Likely the reason why most will buy a Ranger Raptor, its wider body, small wheels and tough on-road persona looks great
Prices, specs and rivals
This kind of ability doesn’t come cheap. Including VAT – which you’ll have to pay since the Raptor’s 620kg payload excludes it from the same benefits as a regular commercial vehicle – the Ranger Raptor comes in at £48,785, or more than £10,000 above the current Ranger Wildtrak range-topper.
In fairness to Ford, that £10k is getting you an awful lot – visual changes, significant suspension and braking improvements, some interior niceties – but it’s still a large amount of money for a four-cylinder diesel hauler.
All Ranger Raptors are double-cab only and the model is available in five colours including the Ford Performance Blue pictured, and Conquer Grey among the bespoke options. Standard kit is comprehensive, with an 8-inch touchscreen with Sync 3, a rear-view camera, keyless start, heated windscreen, climate control, and eight-way adjustable leather and Alcantara sports seats.
Highly customised pickups seem to have taken off in the UK recently – Isuzu has been selling an Arctic Trucks AT35 D-Max with wide arches and large tyres for some time, and recently announced the dramatic-looking (and surely Raptor-inspired) XTR. Toyota also offers an AT35 variant of its Hilux by Arctic Trucks. Both AT35s are the best part of £50k themselves, while the XTR is nearer £41k, all including VAT.
In terms of more conventional trucks, the VW Amarok V6 is probably top of the pile, variants of which begin at around £37,000. It’s more of a sprinter than the Raptor (the quickest versions get to 62mph in eight seconds) but unlikely to match its off-road performance, or fun, without a few choice modifications.