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Flying above the trail with the sensational Ford Ranger Raptor

Ford Raptor in the water

In December 2021, we received a phone call from Ford South Africa, informing us that they had a Ranger Raptor to give us for a week to play with. Could we decline such an offer? We think not!

The conundrum we now faced was what adventure could we undertake with South Africa’s leading double cab bakkie that would do it justice and at the same time put it through a little rugged test of endurance? We subsequently decided to take a trip deep into the Drakensberg mountains for a weekend Ultra Trail Run adventure (that’s 42km for those non-runners).

Ford Ranger in the sand

The long weekend started off on a Thursday morning with massive excitement and anticipation for the adventure ahead. Loading all our trail gear and a couple MTBs for good measure was not an issue thanks to the Ranger Raptor’s ample loading capacity and Easy Lift tailgate with rubber stretch cover (which was a life saver due to the torrential down-pore we experienced).

The Raptor has a formidable presence on the road as it towers above all other vehicles and most bakkies. However, the most impressive aspect of driving the vehicle in our opinion is that you feel totally sheltered from the outside and cannot hear the noisy road. The only noise you can hear (albeit subtly) is the roar of the 2.0 twin turbo diesel engine. The vehicle has so much power under the hood that it sounds and feels like it’s aWWII  Sherman tank on molly!

The cabin is designed with total luxury in mind, including sport bucket seats and state-of-the-art technology synonymous with Ford.

Here are a couple stand-out features that we must mention

No-nonsense exterior

Take one look at the Ranger Raptor, and you know this off-road high-performance pickup means business. Its imposing stance, with 51mm taller ride height, 283mm ground clearance, 150mm wider front and rear track and 850mm wading depth lets you know that this is a serious off-road performance machine. A 32.5-degree approach angle, and ramp-over and departure angles of 24 degrees, provide impressive go-anywhere capability.

Performance-bred interior

Step inside Ranger Raptor, and you will enter a world where it is unmistakably Ford Performance. The sports seats are uniquely designed and trimmed in Technical Suede for maximum grip, providing optimum support during high-performance off-road driving, while also providing exceptional comfort when cruising in town.

Withstand any shock

To better handle the crunching jumps and wild rides of your off-road pursuits, the Ranger Raptor boasts Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) shock absorbers exclusively manufactured by FOX for this model. They provide higher damping forces at extremes for unparalleled off-road capability, and lower damping forces in more moderate conditions for a smoother ride on-road. Front wheel travel is increased by 32 percent, and rear travel by 22 percent compared to the standard Ranger.

Tuned for all terrains

Ranger Raptor enables drivers to select from six Terrain Management System (TMS) modes to tackle a wide range of terrain and driving scenarios, including:

  • Normal mode – emphasising comfort, fuel economy and driveability.
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  • Sport mode – more responsive for spirited on-road driving.
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  • Grass/Gravel/Snow mode – designed to inspire safe and confident driving on off-road slippery and uneven surfaces.
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  • Mud/Sand mode – tuning vehicle responses for optimum traction and momentum in deep, deformable surfaces like loose sand and mud.
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  • Rock mode –  specifically for low-speed rocky terrain where smooth controllability is key in low-range.
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  • Baja mode – designed for high-speed off-road performance, vehicle systems such as Traction Control are pared back to allow more spirited off-road driving. Gear selection is optimised for maximum performance, holding gears longer and downshifting more aggressively.

 

If you consider yourself a true weekend warrior and you’re looking for a multi-purpose vehicle with all the luxury and 4×4 capability you’ll ever need then the Ford Ranger Raptor is the vehicle for you. Starting at around R932,400 (www.ford.co.za) this is not a cheapy but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth!

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