Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

Because the Ranger Raptor is a bona fide Ford Performance vehicle, the temptation to single out and criticise the underwhelming nature of its 2.0-litre diesel four-pot can be tricky to resist. If US-spec versions of the Ranger Raptor are reportedly getting a petrol V6, and the F-150 Raptor already has one, then what’s stopping Ford from bringing it over here? Inevitably, it’ll all boil down to a question of economics. But really, to criticise the Ranger Raptor’s engine for its shortage of on-paper performance after examining the extensive changes that have been made to its chassis does feel like missing the point a bit.

That said, there’s no avoiding the fact that – for what is supposed to be a performance vehicle – the Ranger Raptor is pretty slow. Against the stopwatch, the 2.5-tonne pick-up truck clocked an average 0-60mph time of 10.5sec on Millbrook’s mile straight in damp conditions. While that does make Ford’s claimed 0-62mph time of 10.5sec believable, it also means the Raptor is only 0.3sec quicker to 60mph than the 197bhp five-cylinder Ranger Wildtrak we tested in 2012.

Ranger Raptor is in its natural element here, where the Ford Performance mods really pay dividends. You can make the rear step out on the road, too, especially in the wet

We observed a similar difference in 30-70mph times, too – our measure of how effectively a car accelerates in the real world. Where the standard Ranger managed 10.7sec, the Raptor completed the run in 10.5sec. That said, the Raptor outpaced the Mercedes X250d we road tested last year, which hit 60mph from rest in 11.2sec. Its run from 30mph to 70mph, meanwhile, took 11.6sec.

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At a cruise, the Raptor’s engine is unobtrusive and fairly refined. Accelerate hard and its deep, boomy diesel grumble becomes much louder, but it’s the fake synthetic engine sound played through the cabin speakers that most irked our testers. Stretch your imagination and its timbre isn’t too dissimilar to that of an old Subaru Impreza WRX STI – only far more contrived.

The 10-speed automatic gearbox, meanwhile, can at times feel like it has been given a few too many ratios to juggle. Part-throttle acceleration can prompt it to shift down once, then shift down again when it realises it still doesn’t quite have the crank spinning at peak speeds for timely acceleration. That said, hook-up from a standstill is smooth, making for useful precision when navigating tricky off-road terrain.