Brace yourselves, folks! We’ve just spied Ford’s craziest and most powerful Ranger yet, the Ford Ranger Raptor.
As exclusively revealed by CarAdvice in June 2015, Ford is working on a powerful, off-road-focused Ranger with an overhauled the ride and handling setup, expected to be released in 2019.
The vehicle we photographed in 2015 was Ford’s first prototype of the Ranger Raptor and was likely testing the first iteration of engines, water fording, suspension and off-roading tyres.
Since spotting this vehicle in 2015, we hadn’t heard or seen anything else suggesting it was more than a test mule for an international market product.
That all changed when a CarAdvice mole snapped these images.
So far, all Australian-specification Rangers have sported front-end camouflage with the rear remaining unwrapped. And, all US-specification Rangers have been spied wearing front to rear camouflage – and all being left-hand drive.
The vehicle spied here is right-hand drive and features a host of goodies that we expect will make it to the final version, when it’s launched locally in 2019.
Trainspotters will notice:
A Watt’s linkage, which will presumably be used alongside coil springs similar to the Ford Everest, Ranger-based SUV
Four-wheel disc brakes
The antenna has been relocated from above the first row to behind the second row
Flared wheel arches that give the Ranger Raptor an aggressive stance
A cut-down front lower half to improve approach angle
Increased ride height, and
A switch to a coil-sprung rear end will reduce the vehicle’s load-carrying capacity and is likely to reduce towing capacity, but buyers of this vehicle are unlikely to care.
Under the bonnet will be an engine with mumbo. Our photographer said it sounded very similar to an EcoBoost V6 F-150 – and that makes sense, given Ford has recently updated this engine for the F-150 Raptor to pump out 336kW of power and 690Nm of torque.
The big F-150 uses the 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 mated to a co-developed gearbox with GM, a 10-speed automatic.
It was announced earlier this year that the US-market Ford Ranger will sit on the T6 platform developed by Ford Asia Pacific. The platform will be modified to support the US Ranger, plus the Bronco.
As a global company, Ford’s Australian arm is helping with local calibration and tuning work in conjunction with the US team.
With the coming 2019 Ford Ranger getting ready to jump back into the market, rumors have been swirling for some time about if Ford would leverage its F-150 Raptor styling and capability into the smaller 4×4 pickup truck arena, especially now that Chevrolet just brought back its own highly capable Colorado ZR2. Our spy shooters are guessing that this new, heavily camouflaged Ford mid-size pickup is more than just another FX4 package. Here’s what they sent us:
“This is proof that the Ford Ranger Raptor is destined to become reality and isn’t just Nessie-like folklore. Caught testing on Ford’s Dearborn test track in Michigan, these photos give us our first look at what we believe to be the Ranger Raptor.
“The Ranger will return to the U.S. after a 10-year absence in 2019 as a mid-size pickup to compete with the likes of the Chevy Colorado ZR2 and the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. To rival those trucks’ off-road-ready variants, a toughened-up version of the new Ranger may adopt the Raptor nameplate from the F-150.
“This prototype features an aggressive front end compared to other 2019 Ranger prototypes we’ve seen, in keeping with the F-150 Raptor’s modified fender styling. Other changes are likely to revolve around shocks, tires, an increased ride height and a more powerful engine. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 may be detuned for the Ranger, or it may use a version of the smaller 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 also found in the F-150. The Ranger Raptor is likely to be mated to the new 10-speed automatic co-developed with GM.
Ford is set to take the wraps off the Ford Ranger Raptor on February 7 2018 at a global reveal in Bangkok, Thailand, and this is how it’s likely to look.
These commissioned renderings are based off spy photographs obtained by CarAdvice and show a more muscular, wider and aggressive Ranger that will proudly wear the F-150-derived Raptor insignia.
While we initially thought Ford would answer the prayers of dual-cab ute fans and cram a turbocharged petrol V6 under the bonnet of the Ranger Raptor, it looks like the Blue Oval camp has gone for the safe option with a smaller-capacity diesel engine.
We understand that Ford will use a new 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine that will be mated to the Ford and GM co-developed ten-speed automatic gearbox with a low range transfer case.
That’s likely to mean the Raptor will fall short of the Volkswagen Amarok V6 diesel and yet-to-be-released Mercedes-Benz X-Class V6 diesel models for power and torque.
We do know the Ranger Raptor will drop the leaf spring setup currently featured in the Ranger line-up and utilise a Watts linkage and four-wheel disc brakes.
Ride height will also be jacked up with around 254mm of ground clearance, thanks to BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 All-Terrain TA tires.
Design changes are likely to include a unique grille, beefed-up wheel arches and an off-road oriented sloping front end.
Other changes are likely to include proximity key entry and push-button start, along with unique Raptor highlights throughout the cabin.
This version of the Ranger Raptor is based on the current T6 Ranger platform. While Ford works on development of the US market Ranger, it’s expected that it too will feature a Raptor variant that will get an EcoBoost V6 instead of the Australian market 2.0-litre diesel engine.
If that happens, we could see a petrol V6 version of the Ranger Raptor hitting our shores in 2019 or 2020.
The Ford Ranger was Australia’s second best selling car in 2017, with that trend expected to continue in 2018 as Ford introduces rolling changes to the Ford Ranger line up.