The wait is over: the most anticipated ute release of this year – the 2018 Ford Ranger Raptor – is here. The covers were thrown off what Ford has dubbed the “race-bred” Raptor at a special global reveal held in Bangkok, Thailand today (February 7) about 11.30pm AEDT. The event was a reveal-only, no driving.
First things first: Australia and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region will get the Raptor with a new 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine (157kW/500Nm); there’s been no official word as yet on any other engine variants, including whether a petrol version (based on the US F-150 Raptor’s 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol (336kW/690Nm) will be an option in the not-too-distant future. Rumours abound though.
It certainly looks the business: intimidating front end, flared fenders, and chunky cabin.
Inside, the seats are technical suede, so you don’t slip around while driving the Raptor over bouncy stuff, and the interior includes blue stitching and leather accents.
The steering wheel has new lightweight magnesium paddle shifters and perforated leather hand grip sections.
Active and passive safety tech includes all the usual culprits such as electronic stability control, roll mitigation, and more outdoorsy-type functions like 'Trailer Sway Control', 'Hill Start Assist', 'Hill Descent Control' and 'Load Adaptive Control'.
Off-road stats are on the right side of impressive with 283mm ground clearance, and approach (32.5°), departure (24° with tow-bar on), and ramp-over (24°) angles all topping their class – or so Ford reckons.
Massive news in the suspension stakes as well with the intro of Fox Racing Shox dampers, front and rear, designed for off-road endurance driving and offering up greater wheel travel, with 46.6mm pistons for front and rear.
The shocks – categorised as 'Position Sensitive Damping' type – are designed to cop the worst of undulating terrain at high speeds providing “higher damping forces at full jounce and rebound”, according to Ford.
The Raptor also gets beefier rubber – All-Terrain BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 tyres, measuring 838mm in diameter and 285mm in width – and disc brakes.
It has Ford’s 'Terrain Management System', which has six drive modes: two for on-road (Normal and Sport) and four modes for off-road: Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Sand, Rock, and the new Raptor-suited Baja mode (“for enthusiastic drivers!”), specially tuned for high-speed off-road performance, paring back vehicle systems, such as traction control, holding gears for longer and downshifting more energetically.
The Raptor’s tray is 1743mm long and 1560mm wide. It has a modified rear bumper with an integrated tow bar and two recovery hooks rated at 4.5 tonnes.
Exterior colours include 'Lightning Blue', 'Race Red', 'Shadow Black', 'Frozen White', and the range’s hero colour: 'Conquer Grey', with contrasting 'Dyno Grey' accent colour.
No pricing was available at time of writing but we reckon Ford will slap a price-tag of around $75,000 on it.
Check out Marcus' interview with project head Damien Ross: