The Raptor makes good on its promise of Baja Truck genetics in a package with registration plates and a three-year warranty. The ladder-frame chassis underpinning the standard Ranger pick-up has been strengthened with low-alloy steels, particularly in the vicinity of the front strut towers, which bear the considerable brunt of off-road gallivanting at high speeds.
At the back sits suspension entirely redesigned to better absorb impacts while retaining control. The leaf springs are therefore out, replaced by coil springs and a Watt’s linkage that fixes the axle’s lateral positioning more accurately.
Ford has also fitted a set of blue-sheaved Fox dampers whose travel is greater than standard by 32% at the front and 18% at the rear. Ground clearance has risen 30mm to 283mm, which means it gets the better of even Jeep’s most capable Wrangler, the Rubicon. Ford nevertheless equips the Raptor’s undersides with a steel bash plate some 2.3mm thick. At 850mm, the car’s wading depth beats most other serious off-roaders, too, and falls just 50mm short of the Range Rover’s figure. Grounding the Raptor is a set of 285/70 BF Goodrich KO2 tyres with an off-road tread pattern and toughened sidewalls.
The double-cab Ford is an enormous presence on the road. At 5363mm long and 2180mm wide, it is fractionally longer and wider than the Ranger XLT and has a larger footprint than even a Mercedes S-Class. The track widths themselves are up 150mm.
Propelling the Ranger Raptor across almost any terrain you care to imagine is that 2.0-litre diesel engine with four cylinders and two turbochargers operating in series. Ford might have been tempted to install the 3.5-litre V6 from the Ford GT supercar, as it does in the F-150 Raptor, but the European business case simply didn’t stack up. So Raptor owners will have 210bhp and 367lb ft at their disposal, delivered to either the rear wheels or all four corners via a 10-speed automatic gearbox with high- and low-ratio settings.
With 2510kg to push against, performance is modest – the Raptor covering 0-62mph in a fraction over 10sec, Ford says. There is, however, a locking rear differential to help extract maximum traction.
Naturally, the Ranger Raptor uses electronic driving modes to help realise the potential of the car’s formidable chassis engineering. There are six modes within the Terrain Management System, including settings for grass/gravel/snow and rock climbing. Perhaps the most intriguing is Baja mode, which loosens chassis interventions for maximum attack over rough terrain.