FORD has taken the covers off its highly anticipated next-generation Ranger Raptor revealing key details of the model for the Australian market. And it’s got a turbo-petrol V6.
Launching locally at the end of 2022, the new Raptor will be the only Ranger variant to feature a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine that with 292kW and 583Nm Ford says will “nearly double” the kilowatt output of the 2.0-litre biturbo diesel unit found in the outgoing model; answering calls from customers who demanded the flagship ute was fitted with a more deserving powerplant.
With heavily revised suspension, a reinforced chassis and extensively overhauled off-road equipment including permanent four-wheel drive, front and rear diff locks and seven drive modes, the latest Ranger Raptor is arguably the vehicle it always deserved to be.
Ford will confirm full specifications and pricing of the model closer to its local launch, but says its latest offering is the ultimate performance truck.
Speaking to media gathered for the international reveal of the Ranger Raptor last night, key engineers and designers from the program outlined extensive details of the model’s enhancements for 2022.
“When we started working on the truck, we decided pretty early on in the piece that we wanted to go all-out in the pursuit of creating the ultimate performance truck,” Ford Performance chief program engineer for Ranger Raptor Dave Burn explained.
“We had an excellent start with the existing Ranger Raptor, so our job with the new one was to lean hard into the Ford Performance DNA and to provide something that was both unique in its segment and would also be able to create a halo for the entire brand.
“At the core of all genuine performance vehicles is an emotive ownership experience – that means the appearance, the steering handling and braking, the acceleration, and importantly the sound all come together in perfect harmony to give the vehicle personality, which in turn generates an emotional connection with the owner.
“I believe we've achieved that with the next-gen Ranger Raptor. And in doing so we've reset the benchmark for what a mid-size performance track can be,” he added.
Mr Burn said extensive local testing of the new Ranger Raptor over a variety of terrains and at varying altitudes had proven the character of the truck was an ideal match to customer expectations and the the newly adopted variable exhaust note gave the dual-cab utility a soundtrack that finally matched its looks.
Those looks – overseen by Ranger Raptor exterior design manager David DeWitt – were inspired in part by the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter jet. Like the outgoing model, the new ute features additional flaring over the haunches and wheel arches, bonnet and fender vents, and a separate front bumper with rated recovery hooks.
Inside are fiery red inlays on the dashboard and in the sports seats, with unique ‘Raptor’ engraving set in the lower portion of the leather-wrapped steering wheel.
“The key thing with the design of the Raptor is that just by looking at it, you should know exactly what it's capable of doing. The Raptor is about ‘capability’, and we tell that story with the stance of the vehicle, through the increased track, the widened wheel arches, the C-clamp headlights, the big F-O-R-D lettering across the grille, and with a front bumper that is separated from the grille,” Mr DeWitt detailed.
“All of these elements combine to give a horizontal emphasis and they emphasize the width of the vehicle and make the vehicle feel planted. The proportions are so overt and the surfacing so tall and muscular, a glance is all you need to know that it is a Ranger Raptor.
“Inside we’ve got grippy performance seats front and back inspired by the F-22 Raptor jet fighter seats. The Code Orange stitching on the instrument panels and the seats is further enhanced by the Raptor’s ambient lighting at night. There’s a premium-grade leather sports steering wheel with an on-centre marking and cast magnesium paddle-shifters behind it.
“Everything about the Raptor has been enhanced. It looks like it’s been to the gym and has beefed up,” he added.
And ‘beefed up’ is a description that’s certainly appropriate for the Ranger Raptor’s powertrain. Now with a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 petrol unit sourced from the North American F-150, Ford Ranger Raptor program supervisor Justin Capicchiano says the new Ranger Raptor makes almost twice the power of the outgoing model.
While Mr Capicchiano wouldn’t be drawn on final power and torque figures last night, the figures of 292kW and 583Nm have been confirmed this evening by a Ford Australia spokesperson. GoAuto understands the engine can produce as much as 368kW and 854Nm, a significant uptick over the current Ranger Raptor’s 157kW and 500Nm offering.
“When it came to developing the next-gen Raptor, we spoke to owners, and we listened to what they liked and what they wanted to expect from the new Raptor. We rolled that feedback into our desire to move the vehicle towards being a genuine game changer in the mid-size truck category,” Mr Capicchiano explained.
“It was clear that if the next-gen Raptor was going to be stronger, more capable, and more advanced than ever, it needed to deliver a whole new level of off-road performance, and that all started with the heart of the Raptor, the engine and what an engine we have chosen!
“The twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 EcoBoost is a race-bred engine that is used in off-road motorsport applications. So, it's proven itself in combat. It's efficient, modern, powerful, and it's an engine that's perfectly suited to the character of this truck.
“It delivers immediate response to throttle inputs. We fitted it with an anti-lag system which activates in Baja mode to really get this car firing out of corners … the next-gen Raptor isn't just fast compared to other mid-size pick-ups, it's fast period. In fact, it's hot hatch fast – on dirt. Honestly the amount of performance that we're now delivering is incredible,” he enthused.
While Mr Capicchiano did not provide acceleration times for the newest Ranger Raptor, he did say that it was a full minute faster than the outgoing model around Ford’s grueling 10km off-road test track.
He said the 2.0-litre biturbo diesel would continue to be offered in the Raptor in selected markets, but that Australia was locked in for the more powerful V6 petrol.
“The V6 petrol will be the halo performance variant … it’s mated to a 10-speed auto with a unique calibration for Raptor. The transmission features real-time adaptive shift scheduling to ensure you're always in the right gear at the right time … and the Raptor is (also) available with permanent four-wheel drive with the option of switching to rear-wheel drive,” he continued.
“The (permanent four-wheel drive system) continuously varies the flow of drive between front and rear wheels for optimum performance for all on road conditions, and obviously you've got low range four-wheel drive for when you leave the road behind.”
In addition to an extra off-road mode – taking the final count to seven – the next-gen Ranger Raptor now includes electronic front and rear locking differentials.
The model’s famed Baja mode also includes the ability to operate the dual-outlet 2.5-inch exhaust system in a ‘fully opened’ position during performance driving situations, while also offering Quiet and Normal modes for city and suburban driving.
“One of the key things when building a performance vehicle is the way it sounds. Sound helps to find the character of the vehicle, gives a car its signature, it adds to the overall driving experience and really reinforces the performance of the vehicle,” Ranger Raptor vehicle engineering manager Peter Spence outlined.
“For the next-gen Ranger Raptor, we wanted to develop an exhaust note that was unique but purposeful, powerful; something that made you want to put your windows down and turn off your radio and enjoy the sound.
“The acoustic magic takes place in Raptor’s active valve twin exhaust system, and the way it can be controlled by the driver based on their preference or automatically according to the drive mode they've selected.
“Inside the two-and-a-half-inch exhaust system there are two active valves that open or close in various amounts, depending on which of the four modes – Quiet, Normal, Sport, or Baja – has been activated … we also offer the ability to turn the sound of the car down so that Raptor owners can be good neighbours,” he chuckled.
The Ranger Raptor – which continues to feature Fox-sourced dampers – has undergone significant suspension tuning and chassis stiffening as part of its 2022 overhaul.
Ford Performance chief program engineer for Ranger Raptor Dave Burn said the additional performance offered from the new twin-turbocharged V6 engine meant further bracing of key structural points was required, adding that new damper valving technology and revised steering geometry was employed to give the model a more nimble attitude.
“There are a number of suspension frame changes we needed to compliment the new power train. We started by reinforcing the front shock absorber tower’s structure so that it could handle some of the punishing off road conditions … and this truck is now able to take an incredible amount of punishment,” Mr Burn emphasised.
“We sought out the most sophisticated shock absorbers that we could find. We selected Fox’s two-and-a-half-inch live valve shock absorber system. But they aren't an off-the-shelf kit, so we spent time developing our ideal damper tune using a mixture of Computer Aided Engineering and real-world testing to ensure the shocks came with the kind of control and the capability we wanted.
“The team developed everything from the right height to the spring rates and the fine tuning of ride zones within the damper … The system is smart enough to predict suspension movement and can increase or decrease the damping support depending on both the terrain and the driving style.
“It's so fast that the system will already have adjusted the damping before the drivers even noticed a change in the terrain. Sensors placed around the vehicle measure suspension displacement and velocity to adjust the damping rates of each corner up to 500 times per second,” he concluded.
Ford Australia said the Thai-built Ranger Raptor will be available before the end of the year. It will join the recently-revealed Ranger line-up – which is due imminently – as the flagship model, its driveline not shared with any regular Ranger variant for the first time.
The latest model is Ford’s first completely redesigned Ranger since the release of the T6 series in 2011 and will be released in five core variants: XL, XLS, XLT, Sport (new), and Wildtrak.
For more information on the all-new Ranger, click on the link below. GoAuto will have more information on the new 2022 Ford Ranger Raptor soon.