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Ranger comes in with a Raptor

Friday, November 27, 2020

Kingston Industrial Garage (KIG), dealers for the Ford brand of motor vehicles in Jamaica, launched the 2021 Ford Ranger Raptor pickup, virtually, last night.

A few days prior, Jamaica Observer's Auto secured a test drive at the Yaad Man Racing circuit in Bog Walk, St Catherine.

“This not just another trim level of the Ford Ranger,” Judith Denton, KIG sales and marketing manager told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

In the showroom, the Wildtrack is what wears that crown. Denton explained further that the Ranger Raptor is its own beast, something necessitated by the very designation, Raptor. The nameplate was first applied to a high-performance version of the Ford F-150 pickup in 2010.

“That vehicle, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor came third in the Baja 1000 in 2008 before going on sale in 2010,” she said.

The Baja 1000 is the world's fastest off-road racing event, and the very same testing and technology that made the F-150 Raptor a success has been applied to its smaller, global brother, the Ranger by Ford Performance.

“It was developed by Ford Performance to support those with thrill-seeking outdoor lifestyles and can tackle the harshest off-road terrain at speed,” she said.

The headline is the 210bhp from the two-litre Bi-turbo diesel motor, which along with that horsepower 369lb/ft of torque is sent through a new 10-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. The turbochargers work in series, with a smaller unit delivering the low-end grunt and responsive throttle behaviour. As revolutions per minute (rpm) increase, the larger low-pressure unit takes over for maximum power.

The rest of the Ranger Raptor is beefed up to allow that power to be harnessed over whatever terrain the driver may find themselves. Body-wise the Ranger Raptor has been massaged to accommodate a 150mm wider track, and is 51mm taller thanks to 2.5-inch performance shock absorbers from off-road racing specialists FOX. They have Position Sensitive Damping, giving the pickup the ability to smooth out the harshest of off-road surfaces and yet still retain the on-road refinement of the base Ford Ranger. The tricked out suspension continues with the use of lightweight aluminium on the front control arms, a rear suspension arrangement specific to the Ranger Raptor, and optimised off-road geometry.

Under the wider body, the chassis frame has been reinforced with high-strength, low-alloy steels. Extra protection comes from a host of underbody shields, one of which is 60 per cent thicker than the standard item. Brakes get larger in the front having not just larger pistons, but moving to a twin piston design. In the rear the brake calliper is larger as are the brake rotors all around.

Don't think the Ranger Raptor is all brawn and no brain. This is a very smart truck due to Ford's Terrain Management System and 10-speed transmission. There are the Normal and Sport modes, but for the hardcore driver there are four more, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Sand, Rock, and Baja modes. These work in concert with the three, four-wheel drive modes available and the transmission to operate over a wide range of conditions, from economy, to towing, and high speed off-roading.

At its heart, the Ranger Raptor is still a Ranger pickup and is expected to work, thus it has 283mm of ground clearance, can wade in water up to 850mm, has a maximum approach angle of 32.5 degrees, and a break-over angle of 24 degrees. It can tow 2,500kgs. The cabin is well appointed, blending practical durable materials with premium, stitched leather and metal accents. The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system runs Ford SYNC 3 for enhanced smartphone integration.

The Yaad Man Racing circuit, as developed by rallycross champion Fraser McConnell, has been designed with the hope of restarting and supporting rallysport in Jamaica. It's very technical, having large elevation and surface changes with tight sections. In our test drive, the Ranger Raptor handled all that was thrown at it with ease, conveying plenty of feedback, inspiring the confidence to push the vehicle harder than the conditions appeared to be.

The 2021 Ford Ranger Raptor hits KIG's showroom floors at just over $12 million as a fully loaded package.