Ford officials have shrugged off a social media backlash over the company's choice of a 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine for its new 2018 Ranger Raptor dual-cab ute.
The Raptor, which shares design and engineering DNA with its US stablemate, the F150 Raptor, was revealed at a media event in Bangkok last night. It will be available in Australia later this year but only powered by the 2.0-litre diesel engine, which produces 156kW and 500Nm. There had been whispers of a petrol version (based on the US F-150 Raptor's 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol: 336kW/690Nm) and that may still be possibility, but not at this stage – or so Ford officials say. The Aussie market Raptor has the Ford-designed and -built 10-speed auto, based on the same transmission used in its Mustang.
In the immediate wake of the Raptor reveal, CarsGuide's social media channels erupted with surprise and disappointment at the choice of engine – but none of it seemed to faze Ford's Raptor team. Jamal Hameedi, Chief Engineer, Ford Performance, Ford Motor Company, said those people were missing the point of the high-performance race-bred Raptor.
"My response to that is: you don't get what the Raptor is all about; if you're focusing on the engine, you're missing the whole point, dude.
"The Raptor is about the suspension, it's about the chassis and it's about [us] breaking the bank on the chassis, the suspension, the architecture, the shocks… those four shocks cost as much as a small engine, and that's not an exaggeration.
"That's what the Raptor is – it's not about horsepower, it's not about torque; it's having enough horsepower and enough torque to do the job but it's not a focal point."
Gone are the Ranger's rear leaf springs – the Raptor gets coil springs, Watt's link set-up, and solid rear axle – and its much-hyped suspension includes Fox Racing Shox dampers, front and rear, designed for fast, hard-core off-road driving and offering up greater wheel travel, with 46.6mm pistons for front and rear. The shocks – categorised as Position Sensitive Damping – are designed to cop the worst of undulating terrain at high speeds.
The Raptor is tipped to be available here in the second half of this year. Details on its kerb weight, GVM and pricing were not available at time of writing, but expect to pay about $75,000.
Check out Marcus' interview with project head Damien Ross: