FORD Australia today confirmed the worst-kept secret in the automotive industry: it’s working on a souped-up Raptor variant of its popular Ranger ute.
Countless spy photos have been seen of Ranger Raptor prototypes in testing in Australia and the USA, where the Ranger will go on sale as a 2019 model.
The camouflaged test mules reveal pumped front ’guards covering a wider wheel track than what is found under the current PXII Ranger.
Ford AU’s press release describes the vehicle as being “designed and engineered to deliver an adrenaline-pumping experience, Ford Ranger Raptor sports a head-turning exterior look that exudes toughness as well as a level of capability and off-road performance never before seen in the mid-size pick-up truck segment”.
The Raptor nameplate carries over from the Ford F-150 Raptor in the USA. That Baja racer-inspired vehicle is powered by a stonking 335kW twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 petrol engine backed by a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Suspension is provided by three-inch Fox Racing bypass shocks, with matched coil springs on a wider track than standard F-truck.
No details are available on what the Ranger Raptor might bring here, but we doubt we’ll see the petrol engine in Australia; instead, a ‘tuned’ version of Ford’s diesel engine is expected. The spy photos reveal the wider track and big tyres on the prototypes, so we’re hoping Ford continues its partnership with Fox for the suspension components.
“Combining the Raptor’s advanced off-road capabilities with the versatility of the Ranger is a significant accomplishment for Ford’s world-class engineering and design teams,” said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer of Ford Performance. This suggests the Raptor might fall under the Ford Performance banner here as well.
The Ford Ranger will be relaunched in the USA next year as a 2019 model, and spy photos suggest this will be an updated model to the PXII currently on sale here. We‘re tipping Australia will also get the updated style and features of the US-model vehicles including the Everest, which will be badged as a Bronco in the US. No word on timing, but sometime in 2018 for sure.