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Monday, January 27, 2020
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Ford’s all weather, all terrain warrior

 

Late last year, Ford Group Philippines (FGP) released the long-awaited Ford Ranger Raptor to a roaring welcome even under torrential rains. Months following the release, FGP brought a group of motoring journalists to Zambales right before Christmas to wrap the year up with a chance to compare the Ranger Raptor against the well-loved Ranger Wildtrak on lahar. For the short 10 to15 minutes, you got to experience the Ranger Raptor going all out across a lahar field. It never did answer the question looming in the back of our minds: How is the Ford Ranger Raptor to own? With a personal test-drive and another Ford tailored event, we found out.

Quick catch up
The 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor is a weaponized off-road ready truck using the already potent Ranger as a base. Though six-inches wider and two-inches taller than the Ranger Wildtrak, this truck is not a heavily accessorized Ranger. Taking inspiration from its “Raptor” namesake the F-150 Raptor, it was designed to be a Baja racer you can buy right out of the showroom. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo engine producing 210 hp and 500 Nm of torque. That power plant is mated to an intelligent 10-speed automatic transmission that seems like a lot of gears to shift through, but the Ranger Raptor is well sorted in that area.

On the road
The very first thing you will notice is how much larger you are compared to most cars on the road. To help with the extra size are a wide array of sensors and the A4-sized side mirrors. Parking was the first challenge during my city test with the Ranger Raptor. A typical parking slot can easily contain a Ranger within its perimeter lines. The Ranger Raptor has you using a little more than a majority of the parking slot because of its width. Thanks to other talented motorists who see parking slot lines as optional, finding a safe parking slot was a little difficult. Parallel parking in Makati wasn’t difficult at all, thanks to the backing camera. Though it may look like it doesn’t fit in a standard parallel parking slot in Makati, the Ranger Raptor is only one-inch longer than a normal Ranger that comfortably fits in one.

Standard across the Ford line-up is adaptive steering. It makes steering inputs easier at lower speeds, lightening the load on the steering wheel, while at higher speeds the steering load becomes heavier. This is perfect for city driving especially weaving in and out of traffic when space allows for it. Extra caution must be taken in changing lanes, especially with motorcycles that are lane splitting, because they can easily enter your blind spot.

The 33-inch BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires did not produce much road noise. Matched to those BF Goodrich tires are 17-inch standard blacked-out wheels. The ride of the Ranger Raptor simply amazed this writer, because it made it seem like our taxes were actually going into fixing the road. Imperfections, potholes and humps were nothing to the standard Fox Shocks. It was as if the road was being ironed out right before you drove over it.


Consumption of this performance truck returned 8 kilometers per liter (kpl) of diesel in the city, and 11.3 kpl on swift provincial roads. Cruising at highway speeds returned 14.7 kpl. Loading the Ranger Raptor with substandard diesel would defeat the purpose, and may do harm to its fuel delivery system and engine in the long run. Higher octane diesel from the major gas companies is the fuel suggested, and is something to consider if you are planning on purchasing a Ranger Raptor.

Off Road
Driving the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor only in the city is like confining a wild animal in a cage. It was made to be a weapon off road with the creature comforts of a family-hauling truck. Taking the Ranger Raptor off road gave me the opportunity to see the Terrain Management System (TMS), and the Fox Sports Suspension in action. Rock Crawl and the Hill Descent mode were the first features used to descend to a riverbed. Switching the TMS to Rock Crawl will automatically engage the 4L for maximum traction and power over the rough stuff. The Ranger Raptor just took it in stride not even breaking a sweat in the process. Once on the riverbed, switching the TMS between the Mud/Sand mode and Baja Mode engaged 4H on the fly. Unleashing the Ranger Raptor on an empty riverbed was an amazing feeling. The truck felt right at home begging you to go faster and harder over the loose terrain. The standard Fox Shocks felt like they work even better the faster the Ranger Raptor glided over the terrain.
(Top tip: Do not off road alone in case you get bogged down or in an accident. Having a support team and letting the authorities know you are going off road in their area is essential. Remember not all open pieces of land are public land. Have the proper authority before entering the area and having fun.)

Contrast
The difference between the already proven Ranger Wildtrak and the Ranger Raptor is like comparing oranges and apples. They have their specific purpose in life. The Ranger Raptor is the rough and tough sport pick-up truck you can buy straight out of the showroom and bring it straight to the off-road trail. The Wildtrak shouldn’t be belittled because of the lack of machismo accessories. This Ranger is just as capable off-road. During another tailored event by Ford, the WildTrak showed its prowess in a technical off road course. The huge difference between the two is in the suspension. With what may seem like a large boulder for the Wildtrak, the Ranger Raptor gallantly jumps over any obstacle without shaking up your insides.

All-in-all
The 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor is a great truck. During the first test drives of the Ranger Raptor, this writer was instantly in love with the truck. Is it worth the extra money? Yes, if you are going to use it for its intended use. Most of these trucks will probably never see the rocks, mud and sand, which is alright, because this is also great as an everyday truck. Perhaps extra care should be taken into account when maneuvering through tight spaces but as with everything done in repetition, you will get used to it. If you are going to use this truck as a work vehicle you may want to think twice. Loading and towing figures are better on a lower priced Ranger Wildtrak. The ride height also makes it a little bit of a challenge loading items into the bed.

Pricing comes in at P1.998 million (as of date tested) that is a bargain for a performance truck, which is still priced literally under P2 million. If history gives any clue into the future, then you should purchase the Ford Ranger Raptor now before they increase the price yet again. Pair the bargain price with a new once a year maintenance service and you have yourself a deal.

I have yet to drive a truck that came straight from the showroom to splashing about in a riverbed and climbing rocks, then back to the highway to safely bring you home in comfort. Any truck without modifications would suffer under the abuse that the Range Raptor can brush off. Hopefully, FGP can set up a Ranger Raptor course so owners can use their trucks for more than just hopping over speed humps.

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Today’s Front Page January 27, 2020

Today’s Front Page January 27, 2020