Ranger Raptor Ups Power Ante With V6 Petrol

By Lee Pang Seng

POWER drives sales and Ford is right on the ball with its latest Ranger Raptor; it not only boasts of almost doubling the power output of the engine in the previous model but it is delivered with a V6 Twin Turbo EcoBoost petrol engine! That’s a fresh power perspective from Ford in the local pick-up market where turbodiesel engines had dominated until now.

And the V6 engine isn’t just any power unit; it has to be race-bred to deliver the raw power that befits its high-energy Raptor image. That’s the general feedback from customers, not just in Malaysia but in more than 100 markets that the Raptor was introduced to since 2018.

Infused with Ford Performance DNA, the second-generation or next-gen Ranger Raptor is expected to raise the bar further as a ‘high-speed performance vehicle built for true off-roading enthusiasts and custtomers who simply want the most advanced technology available in a Ranger’.

As D.J. Simpson, Managing Director, Ford Asia Pacific Distributor Malaysia, puts it: “Customers could enjoy the next-gen Ranger Raptor straight off the assembly line without modifications. It is significantly faster, looks incredible and is packed with new features and more extreme capability than before.”

The new twin-turbo 3.0-litre (2956cc) Ecoboost V6 petrol is tuned by Ford Performance to deliver 292kW (397PS) at 5650rpm and a whopping torque of 583Nm at 3500rpm. The previous Ranger Raptor 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel engine delivers 160kW (213PS) and 500Nm of torque. This turbodiesel unit is being developed further for the next-gen Ranger Raptor and would be introduced here in due course.

Meanwhile, the new V6 petrol engine also boasts of a new race-bred anti-lag system that is only available in Baja mode. This keeps the turbochargers spinning for up to three seconds after the driver lifts off the accelerator. The result is a faster resumption of acceleration coming out of corners or in between gear changes. This system is similar to that in the Ford GT road car.

In engine construction, this V6 boasts of a compacted graphite iron cylinder block that breaks away from the aluminium blocks often preferred in today’s petrol engines. Ford says this graphite iron block is 75-per cent stronger and up to 75-per cent stiffer than the iron used in traditional castings.

Even the 10-speed automatic transmission mated to the V6 petrol turbo has gear ratios that are ‘specifically matched’ to the engine. With this powertrain, Ford says the next-gen Ranger Raptor is almost twice as fast as the first-generation Ranger Raptor.

Another new feature is an audible one that allows you to choose how you would like your Ranger Raptor to sound as you drive it. The new V6 powertrain come with an all-new ‘class-exclusive’ active valve exhaust system. You could select four drive modes on the steering wheel – Quiet, Normal, Sport and Baja – that would change the Ranger Raptor’s ‘vocal notes from a purr to a roar’.

The best part is that this 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo Ecoboost petrol unit could operate without losing its oomph on the heavily subsidised 95 Octane fuel here. That means you won’t burn a hole in the pocket driving the next-gen Ranger Raptor.

Improved Dynamics
To complement the higher torque and power output, Ford says its engineers have significantly improved the next-gen Ranger Raptor’s chassis and suspension. The suspension is completely redesigned with stronger and lightweight aluminium upper and lower control arms, long travel front and rear suspension and a refined Watt’s link rear that Ford says would come together to offer more control across extreme terrain at high speed.

Ford continues to use FOX suspension components such as the new Ford Performance-tuned FOX 2.5-inch Live Valve Internal Bypass shock absorbers and FOX’s race-proven Bottom-Out Control to enhance ride comfort and handling.

While the hardware is FOX, the tuning and development work was carried out by Ford Performance using computer-aided engineering (CAE) and real-world testing in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. Its engineers also ‘adjusted the spring rates, set the ride height, tuned the valves and honed the ride zones to create the perfect balance involving comfort, control, stability and traction on and off road’.

The FOX 2.5-inch Live Valve Internal Bypass shock absorbers are described as the most sophisticated ever on a Ranger Raptor. These dampers are filled with Teflon-infused oil that reduces friction by about 50 per cent compared to the previous Ranger Raptor.

To prevent against severe bottom-outs, Ford says the FOX Bottom-Out Control provides maximum damping force in the last 25 per cent of shock absorber travel. Likewise, the system could stiffen the rear dampers to prevent the Ranger Raptor from squatting under hard acceleration and improve vehicle stability.

The next-gen Ranger Raptor’s 4x4 electronic shift-on-the-fly system is upgraded with an all-new electronically controlled on-demand two-speed transfer case with four settings – 2WD, 4WD Auto, 4WD High and 4WD Low. At the same time, a front locking differential is added to complement the rear locking difference to provide the ‘ultimate control on technical terrain’.

The updated Terrain Management System now comes with up to seven drive modes to be selected. The Baja mode, as the name suggests, is configured for high-speed off-roading while tamer modes down the line are Normal, Sport and Slippery for on-road driving with Rock Crawl, Sand and Mud/Ruts for off-road use.

Ford explains that each selectable mode adjusts multiple elements from the engine and transmission to ABS sensitivity and calibration, traction and stability controls, exhaust valve actuation, steering, throttle response and even the instrument cluster and centre touchscreen.

The colour scheme of the digital displays changes to reflect the mode selected.

The next-gen Ranger Raptor off-road capabilities are also aided by its physical dimensions. It sits on a 3270mm wheelbase and has an approach angle of 32 degrees and a departure angle of 24-27 degrees. Its ground clearance is 265mm and it runs on 285/70 R17 All-Terrain BF Goodrich KO2 tyres.

Distinctive Yet New
The Ranger Raptor is immediately recognised by Ford’s global design DNA in the C-clamp LED (light emitting diode) daytime running lights in front. These are complemented by the Matrix LED headlamps with ‘dynamic bending lights, glare-free high beams and auto dynamic levelling’ to provide maximum visibility without dazzling other road users.

As the next-generation model, the latest Ranger Raptor comes with a new body styling that features flared wheel arches to emphasise the vehicle’s width, bold F-O-R-D lettering on the nose grille to give it a more aggressive appeal and a front bumper that is separated from the grille. Adding to that are the Ford Performance scuff plates and ‘tough’ new cast aluminium side steps.

Stepping inside, Ford says the Ranger Raptor’s off-road performance emphasis and exterior’s high-energy nature are reflected in the interior. This theme is carried in the ‘all-new’ jet fighter-inspired sports leather front seats that are described as not only comfortable but more supportive during high-speed cornering. The driver gets a 10-way power adjustable seat and the front passenger a 10-way manual one.

The premium cabin ambience is carried by the all-Ebony interior with Code Orange accents, leather sports steering wheel with cast magnesium paddle shifters, leather gear knob with e-shifter and amber interior lighting. Adding to that is the 12.4-inch TFT instrument cluster display and 12-inch centre touchscreen that is ‘loaded’ with Ford’s SYNC 4A infotainment system.

As expected, the next-gen Ranger Raptor comes with a full suite of active and advanced driver assistance systems as well as seven airbags. This model is produced by Ford Thailand and its price here (on the road without insurance) starts from RM259,888. Due to its popularity with enthusiasts, be prepared to wait if you wish to buy one.