The Ford Ranger Raptor has been high on my list of vehicles I’ve wanted to test for a very long time, essentially since it was first unveiled to the world – so imagine my excitement when I finally had one dropped off outside my house! Having driven many trucks over the last few years it’s mad to think it’s taken this long to get my grubby little mitts on the Raptor.
This particular Ranger Raptor is the new “Special Edition” model which is finished in Frozen White with contrasting black and red decals and is fitted with 17″ black alloy wheels wrapped in General all-terrain tyres. Much of the rest of the truck is the same as the standard Raptor which has widened front and rear arches with 150mm wider track over the standard Ford Ranger along with a few other styling alterations such as unique front and rear bumpers and an aluminium front skid plate.
First things first, as soon as it arrived, I felt like a 12-year-old. I was so full of excitement I just wanted to go out and thrash this monster truck-looking thing through fields and do jumps in it – that’s how this big silly truck makes you feel, and I am 100% all for that. It looks awesome. It’s imposing, without being too aggressive, and it’s big without being too big to live with here in the UK and it’s also a really nice place to be.
Obviously, I didn’t go and thrash it about in fields and do jumps in it, but I did manage to give it a good test in as many different environments as possible in the week I had it. From snowy roads to a wet sandy forest and even a quick dip in a pool.
On the road, you have this great seating position that I’ve got very comfortable with having driven many different pick-ups over the years, but due to the widened track and special suspension, it feels a lot more stable. The FOX shock absorbers work their magic on the road as well as they do off it. Potholes and bumps just disappear in the Raptor and it’s even relatively quiet in the cabin. You do have a bit of that standard judder over the rear axle on some parts of the road, but you get that with every RWD truck with an empty bed, and it’s nowhere near as bad as some others out there.
One thing I particularly love about the Raptor over other “lifted” pickup trucks that I’ve driven over the years is how easy it is to drive and live with. And I don’t just mean parking it and navigating narrow roads. In some of the other trucks I’ve tested, it felt like they just bolted on some bigger arches, added some taller suspension and then finished it off with some big off-road tyres – the gearing has always felt off and they’ve never felt like they were correctly set up for the modifications. With the Raptor, however, everything feels like it should. The gearbox doesn’t feel strained, the steering feels natural and the brakes do what they’re supposed to do in good time. It is also surprisingly easy to park and even on the skinny country roads I have around me in the Cambridgeshire countryside, it never felt “too” big.
Inside the Raptor, there’s a surprising amount of toys, although, at a ticket price of just under £55,000, I’d expect there to be a few extras in there. The upgraded half-leather heated seats are finished with red and black stitching with Raptor logos on the headrests and the sports steering wheel has perforated leather and the Raptor logo in the centre and it has these wonderful chunky aluminium paddles connected to the 10-speed automatic transmission. Another little bonus is a standard UK plug socket in the rear with a power converter, which is a great touch if you’re looking to take this ultimate outdoor pursuit vehicle pretty much anywhere. Other interior goodies include an 8″ touchscreen with Sync 3 infotainment and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are also some fancy drive modes that include Mud and Ruts, Snow, and my personal favourite, Baja mode!
There is an awful lot to like about the Ranger Raptor from its huge chunky appearance to its rugged and indestructible feel but there are a few things negatives. The first is its payload. Due to the fancy Fox suspension, the truck’s payload has been reduced to just 680kg with a towing limit of just 2.5 tonnes instead of 3.5 tonnes from the standard Ranger. This isn’t a problem for private buyers, but it does mean that the truck is not classed as a commercial vehicle so you cannot claim the VAT back if you’re buying through your business. The second slight issue is that as much as I love the size of it and its big toy truck looks, it may be a bit “shouty” for some folk. And even though I did just state that it is relatively easy to live with, it is still big. And wide. And did I mention that it’s massive?
All of this can be forgiven the minute you even look at it before setting off on an adventure with it. It’s like a big drooly dog that just wants to be loved. I found myself wanting to drive it everywhere. The seats were comfortable, the drive was quiet and it even returned some very respectable fuel economy which was a bit of a treat given the cost of diesel right now. The Raptor has been around for a while now and there is a brand new model on the horizon and I for one will be very interested to see how Ford have progressed from this great truck.
A huge thank you to Ford UK for the loan of the Ranger Raptor – you can view all their current vehicles right HERE
All photographs were taken and arranged by Sprite Photography