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On paper, Ford’s new Ranger Raptor ticks all the boxes. It’s spacious and modern, with all the safety and in-cabin technology you could want in a box-fresh car.
Couple that with upgraded suspension and all-terrain tyres, and surely the Ranger Raptor will be some of the most fun you can have on four wheels, right?
Well, the sticking point might be its price, which was revealed this week to be $84,490 before on-road costs, so what else is on offer for less that promises to be just as much fun?
Well for just a touch under $80,000, you can get yourself into a brand new 330i, which punches out a sizeable 190kW/400Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine.
It may be down on power and torque compared with the Ranger Raptor, but its 5.8-second 0-100km/h acceleration time is spritely enough, and you get a plush and premium interior, and dynamically engaging rear-drive layout.
If its pace, practicality and a premium badge you want, how about the Genesis GV70?
Or more specifically, the flagship variant that scores a potent 279kW/530Nm 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 that is enough to rocket it to 100km/h from a standstill in just 5.1s.
All the modern conveniences are included, such as power-adjustable seats, a digital instrument cluster and Nappa leather trim, wrapped in a stylish mid-size SUV package.
If practicality is a huge draw to the Ranger Raptor, well, have you considered a wagon?
The just-launched VW Arteon R-Line Shooting Brake combines a punchy 206kW/400Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine with a long roofline and sizeable 565-litre boot, meaning there is plenty of room to move gear and the family very quickly.
A 5.6s 0-100km/h acceleration time also doesn’t hurt, while its interior is kitted out with all the latest in safety and technology.
And if you are worried about the fuel bill, well, with a near-$20,000 saving with the Mustang GT over the Ranger Raptor, we’re betting you’ll be able to keep the V8-powered coupe going for a while.
MX-5 is always the answer, right? Ok, it might be an odd choice for those shopping for a Ranger Raptor, but hear us out.
The Mazda MX-5 remains one of the most dynamically engaging vehicles on the market thanks to its low weight and rear-wheel-drive formula, and so affordable is the 2022 version that you could actually buy two of them for the price of one Ranger Raptor.
Or better yet, why not get an MX-5 for the weekend and have enough change left over to buy a Ranger XL?
This means premium build quality, German engineering and badge that will make other parents envious during school runs.
Maybe you’re attracted to the new Ranger Raptor because you like to get off the beaten path and go to places unknown.
With a dual-range 4x4 system as standard, and an eight-speed automatic transmission, the Land Rover Defender is also about $4000 cheaper too.
Though the Ranger Raptor can haul a sizeable 2500kg load, the Nissan Patrol can tow a literal tonne more with its 3500kg braked towing capacity.
Throw in serious off-road chops and a plush and upmarket interior, as well as interior space to spare, and you’ve got yourself a convincing alternative to Ford’s new flagship ute.