Ford Ranger Raptor Review

Ranger Raptor Is it the Best 4WD Ute

Ford Ranger Raptor Overview

Ford is leveraging its highly successful Ranger range with a new model Raptor. Aimed at the premium sector of the Ute market, the Raptor will compete against HSV’s SportsCat, HiLux Rugged X, VW Amarok Ultimate 580 and even the entry level RAM 1500 Express.

Raptor allows buyers to have many of the extras that they often add on aftermarket, but with the integrated design and warranty of the original manufacturer.

The Raptor has been highly anticipated, but how does it measure up.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor Exterior

From the outside, Raptor is all about the look. However the look has a purpose, one of facilitating off road performance.

The first thing that stands out is the aggressive grille with bold FORD lettering that defines the DNA. The second thing is the overall aggressive stance with off road tyres, higher ground clearance and wider track. Raptor runs 285/70 R17 BF Goodrich All Terrain KO2 tyres on some fairly stylish alloy rims.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

There is also the added bling, but with purpose. The front fenders are made from durable composite materials for adventurous off-road driving. Along with the 25W HID headlights with LED Daytime Running Lamps, the front bumper includes new LED fog lamps with air-curtain ducts, which reduce air resistance. The flared shape of the fenders have been designed to accommodate the long travel suspension and off-road tyres.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor Interior

Firstly the Raptor inside is Ranger through and through, with, again, more bling. Seating is performance styled with high side bolsters and more support for the back and shoulders. Electric seat adjustment for the driver and a manual lever controlled lumbar support allow the driver to find a good position.  Seat fabric is a leather surround with an insert of ‘Technical Suede’ and blue highlight stitching that is actually quite comfortable.

In front of the driver is a Raptor instrument cluster with a blue theme, two larger outside dials and a digital MFD between. It looks good and adds to the sporty ambiance.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

The steering wheel features perforated leather hand grip sections, paired with Raptor DNA lightweight magnesium paddle shifters. Regular readers will note my usual dislike of paddle shift changes, but these look cool, if unnecessary. The Raptor logo is debossed into the bespoke bezel of the steering wheel and an “On-Centre” marker – a red stripe at the top-middle of the wheel, which I actually like. If your wheel alignment is spot on, it is helpful in off road situations for wheel placement.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Other than that the interior is as you would expect from say a Ranger Wildtrak. The centre console, transmission section is well laid out, with a padded console bin top. Centre stack is the same, with the touch screen now well integrated.

Storage is adequate all round. Rear seat room is ok for two more than three, with, like most Utes, slightly limited knee and leg room for taller occupants. There are no A/C vents back there but a couple of 12V plugs for the kids electronic equipment.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor Features

Raptor features an integrated 8 inch full colour touchscreen centre stack that is home for Sync 3 III. This is Ford’s system that now comes with voice control which can be a little temperamental. The system makes all functions available from the home screen which is split into 4 functions: climate, audio, phone and navigation, and has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

The Raptor has Sat Nav with traffic management channel. The system has the unusual feature of allowing access to alternative screens from each screen making it easily navigable. The 6 speaker sound system belts out a good rock tune along with DAB audio. The Satellite Navigation System offers a “breadcrumb” feature to leave a trail in uncharted areas – perfect for the serious off-roader.

Other features include an adjustable speed limiter, Electronic Automatic Temperature Control, Passive Entry Passive Start (PEPS), Auto lighting, Rain-sensing wipers, auto stop start and rear-view camera.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

 Ford Ranger Raptor Drivetrain and Engine

Apart from the look the main story with the Raptor is the engine, suspension and drivetrain.

Raptor features an all-new 2.0L Bi-Turbo engine that delivers power of 157kW @ 3750 rpm and torque of 500 Nm @ 1750 – 2000 rpm. This runs through an innovative 10 speed automatic transmission to extract the best from the engine. The engine offers both high performance and efficiency, thanks to its sequential turbocharging system that delivers performance when you demand.

Ford says the Bi-Turbo engine has been designed from day one for some of the most challenging and stressful applications. Raptor has a dual range part time 4×4 with Terrain Management System. It also features a unique Transmission Calibration and “Live in Drive” Functionality, according to Ford. My take on this is that you can, like most drivers, leave it in drive and it will maximise performance for you.

Two other key areas where Ford has made modifications to the Raptor are firstly the suspension. Front suspension is Independent McPherson struts with Unique Twin Tube Fox® Racing Branded shock absorber. Rear suspension is a Watts Link Rear axle with Long Travel Outboard Coil-over Dampers. Unique Twin Tube Fox® Racing Branded shock absorber with “Piggy Back” Reservoir.

Secondly the brakes. Uniquely the Raptor has disc brakes front and rear, placing it amongst rare territory in Utes. The front twin-piston calipers have been increased by 9.5mm in diameter and feature ventilated rotors in an impressive 332 x 32mm size. Also at the rear there is a brake actuation master cylinder and booster to increase braking performance, as well as ventilated 332 x 24mm rear rotors and a new 54mm caliper.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor driving experience

Driving the Raptor is very similar to driving any modified Ute with a lift kit and larger off road tyres, with more composure.

Firstly the steering is slightly heavier with 150mm wider front and rear track and larger AT tyres. It’s not intrusive or difficult, but those drivers that are more attuned to standard Utes may find the steering takes a little getting used to.

Secondly the 283mm of ground clearance combined with the heavier 285/70 R17 BF Goodrich All Terrain KO2 tyres means a few things, like the need to step up into the Ute more than standard, there is more road noise from the tyres and they feel different, harder, on the road obviously.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

None of this is bad, but you definitely know you are driving a modified Ute.

Ford makes a lot about the desert or sand driving abilities of the Raptor. To this end the Ranger Raptor’s Terrain Management System (TMS) includes a unique Baja mode, inspired by Mexico’s famous Baja Desert Rally, and enables ultra-responsive, high-speed off-road performance.

In this mode, vehicle systems like Traction Control are pared back to allow spirited off-road driving with less intervention from the vehicle’s on-board systems. Gear selection is optimized for maximum performance, and the mapping will hold gears longer and downshift more rapidly for even better response.

I had a brief opportunity to try the Raptor on the sand of Stockton beach north of Sydney and the Raptor certainly is an excellent drive in those conditions. Big tick Ford! (No pun intended for the fanatics)

In general off road conditions, the improved approach, rampover and departure angles as well as much improved ground clearance brings the Raptor in line with most aftermarket modified Utes running around. The AT tyres with rugged tread pattern boost the  Ranger Raptor’s wet, mud, sand and snow handling ability.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

What sets it apart is the engine/transmission combination. The combination of the 10 speed transmission and twin turbo engine actually works quite well. In everyday driving it is smooth and responsive. Around town the higher number of gears helps with fuel economy as well as almost seamless shifts, increasing comfort.

Off road it actually comes into its own. Like most off road driving, whether crawling over rocks, climbing sand dunes or racing through the desert, it all comes down to right foot control. The combination allows direct and immediate throttle control. It is also adaptive to the conditions.

Offering 10 gears means a wider ratio-span, resulting in better acceleration and responsiveness. With more room to optimize gear spacing, gear progression can be customized for more accurate and quicker shifts. It also features real-time adaptive shift-scheduling algorithms engineered for precise gear selection.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor Dimensions

Raptor has:-

  • overall length of 5398mm,
  • wheelbase of 3220mm,
  • width of 2180mm (incl exterior mirrors)
  • height of 1873 mm (incl roof rails)
  • Unladen ground clearance is 283 mm.
  • Approach angle is 32.5 degrees, rampover is 24 degrees and departure angle is 24 degrees.
  • Wading depth is TBA
  • Turning circle is 12.9m
  • Fuel Tank is 80L
  • GVM of 3090kg, GCM of 5350kg,
  • Kerb mass of 2330kg and Payload* of 758kg,
  • There is 1139mm between the wheel arches
  • Towing capacity is 2500kg,
  • Tow ball rating is up to 250kg**

*Includes occupants, fuel and fitted options/accessories. The weight of these must be deducted from the payload to determine load carrying   capacity. Front and rear axle loads must not be exceeded

**must be accounted for in the payload calculations

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor Safety

Like all Ford Rangers the Raptor has 5 Star ANCAP safety rating. Features include:-

  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Rear Parking Sensors
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Hill Start Assist (HAS)
  • Hill Descent Control (HDC)
  • ESC system with Trailer Sway Control (TSC)
  • Load Adaptive Control (LAC)
  • Roll Over Mitigation (ROM)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition
  • Roll Stability Control
  • adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning,
  • multiple airbags everywhere,
  • hill descent control and hill launch control and
  • Rear view camera.

Raptor also features Unique Disc Brake system (Front & Rear) with integrated park brake, Electronic four-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS), with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) all operating through disc brakes front and rear.

Ford Ranger Raptor Fit for Purpose.

To determine the purpose let’s hear from Ford themselves.

“The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road versus any other available standard production road vehicle, and still provide amazing ride comfort on-road,” said Damien Ross, Chief Program Engineer, Ford Ranger Raptor.

It’s designed primarily as an off road, specifically for sand driving, vehicle that still allows comfort on road.

Essentially Ford has added a bunch of extras that buyers would normally add as an aftermarket modification to enhance the off road ability of their vehicle. Where the Raptor has the advantage is the engine and transmission combination and the integrated nature of the modifications.

It is an awesome beast off road. It drives and rides better than almost any vehicle that has been modified aftermarket and compared to production vehicles only the HSV SportsCat comes close.

Unfortunately and unusually the modifications have meant a reduced towing capacity which is a large negative.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Ranger Raptor Summary

There is no denying the appealing appearance of the Raptor. It screams ‘look at me’ loud and clear. However it also has detailed functionality underneath.

It is beyond all standard Ute capabilities and configurations. It competes with the top spec Utes and more with aftermarket modified vehicles.

The benefit to buyers is that these modifications are integrated and covered by manufacturer’s warranties. However at this price point, buyers may expect a few more items they deem necessities like rear doff lock, electric lumbar support, heads up display and some safety features like AEB and more.

It is pricey though and I suspect buyers will buy it for the look rather than actually make use of the capabilities.

I predict that Ford will sell every Raptor they can lay their hands on.

2018 Ford Ranger Raptor

Also Look At:

What is Good:

  • Smooth engine/transmission
  • Additional features
  • Reliability and robustness

What is Not:

  • Towing Ability
  • Lacking some safety features
  • No rear diff lock

Model   Ranger Raptor 4WD Dual Cab Ute

  • Model Price       $74,990 MLP*
  • Engine  0 L 4Cyl TwinTurbo
  • Drivetrain   10 Sp AT 4WD
  • Power   157 kW @ 3750 rpm
  • Torque 500 Nm @ 1750 rpm
  • Safety   5 Star ANCAP
  • CO2 Emissions  212 g/km
  • Economy ADR   8.2 L/100km
  • Tow Capacity     Max 2,500kg
  • Tow Ball Rating 250kg
  • Servicing      Capped Price
  • Warranty    5 yr/ Unlimited km – 5 Yr  roadside assist

Overall Rating:   86/100

  • Behind the Wheel   9
  • Comfort      9
  • Equipment  8
  • Performance     9
  • Ride & Handling       9
  • Practicality  8
  • Fit for Purpose  9
  • Towing Ability   7
  • Off Road Ability 10
  • Value for Money     7
Ford Ranger Raptor Review
4.3

Summary

Ford Ranger Raptor – There is no denying the appealing appearance of the Raptor. It screams ‘look at me’ loud and clear. However it also has detailed functionality underneath.

About Rob Fraser 153 Articles
Rob first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, many years ago. He has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive.