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Ford Raptor GT, anybody? Here's what we know about the much-more civilised next-generation Ford Raptor, including the return of the petrol-powered Ranger in Australia

The T6.2 Ranger-based Raptor due in late 2022 will become more sophisticated and dynamic. (Image credit: Thanos Pappas)

Ford will reveal the next-generation T6.2 Ranger-based Raptor in February next year with headline V6 petrol power, ahead of an on-sale date sometime in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Following on from the T6.2 Ranger series revealed late last month, the completely redesigned and re-engineered flagship version of the Australian-developed pick-up will move even further upmarket than before, with a greater on-road refinement focus.

As a result, expect prices to kick off from $85,000 before on-road costs, stretching towards $100,000 or more for a full-kitted out grade courtesy of Australian accessories specialists ARB.

This is due to a raft of new and more sophisticated specification and features, including an expected world-first driver-assist safety technology that should pole-vault the Raptor, as well as Ranger, to the top of the truck class, according to one Ford dealer source.

Of course, as everybody knows by now, a petrol engine will also be offered on the T6.2 Raptor.

The unit in question will be a variation of the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost shared with the US-market Explorer. In the latter, it delivers around 300kW of power and 560Nm of torque, driving all four wheels via a 10-speed torque-converter automatic transmission.

Whether the four-wheel-drive system will be the same new full-time 4WD (4A) set-up with varying drive to the front or rear wheels as per the next Wildtrak, remains to be seen.

The Explorer’s 331kW/841Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol/electric hybrid powertrain may also eventually be in the mix down the track.

For now, Ford isn’t saying how much far the Raptor’s platform and drivetrain will diverge from the latest Ranger’s, but the differences should somewhat mirror those between the outgoing models.

To refresh, these included a Watts link rear axle instead of the regular truck’s leaf-sprung rear suspension system when the original Raptor burst on the scene in 2018, along with long-travel outboard coil-over dampers, Fox Racing Internal Bypass twin-tube shock absorbers with position-sensitive dampers and forged-alloy upper and cast-alloy lower controls arms.

The upshot of all that was 330mm of additional body width, due in part to 150mm-wider front and rear tracks and 25mm of extra ground clearance. Still, on dimensions, approach, departure and breakover angles are now 32.5, 24 and 24 degrees respectively, while ground clearance is a handy 283mm. Water wading depth is 850mm. The Raptor’s tub is 1549mm long, 1139mm wide (between the wheel houses) and 835mm instead of 964mm tall – with only the latter differing from the regular Ranger’s box dimensions. A bit less than normal, but still eminently useable, and a corollary of the Raptor’s unique rear floor section.

We understand that most T6.2 Rangers gain the current Raptor’s four-wheel disc brakes at last (dropping the old drum brake set-up), along with a 4x4 settings offering six modes, including Sport, All Weather, Mud/Sand and Rock/Gravel configurations. These work in conjunction with the transmission and traction/stability controls according to the prevailing conditions.

And what about the 2023 Raptor’s all-important styling?

An aggressively flared body kit with extended wheel-arch surrounds is surely a certainty given how successful the current model is, along with a unique Raptor grille treatment to give it greater differentiation compared to its more utilitarian brethren. We’d also wager on a big bonnet bulge, butched up bumpers and a 20-inch all-terrain wheel/tyre package.

That said, with the stronger and more rigid platform changes migrating over, it’s reasonable to expect that the new Raptor may become somewhat less off-road biased and more on-road luxurious in a grand touring style, suggesting that Ford may be about to bring a bit of GT performance/luxury dynamism to the humble truck.

Whatever transpires, we’ll be keeping our ear to the ground, so stay tuned for more Raptor information as it comes to light.