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New Ford Ranger Raptor gains V6 power

Lifestyle

New Ford Ranger Raptor gains V6 power

The Ford Performance division played a crucial role in its development

Motoring editor, reporter and presenter
The 2022 Ford Ranger Raptor is no shrinking violet.
The 2022 Ford Ranger Raptor is no shrinking violet.
Image: Supplied

Equal partnerships in the motoring world are rarely all that equal. One side usually ends up with the shorter end of the stick in most joint agreements.

Ford has lent Volkswagen the underpinnings of the next-generation Ranger. But while the former has already unveiled its contender in production form, the German associate continues to bore observers with releases of computer-generated sketches and press releases with scant details. Hopefully, that does not set the tone for what is to come – but it is clear that sentiments towards the imminent Ranger are hotter than they are for the new Amarok.

Fox shocks are still part of the deal.
Fox shocks are still part of the deal.
Image: Supplied

During the week, the blue oval brand took the wraps off the all new, potent looking Raptor version of its double cab. The outgoing vehicle continues to enchant lovers of brawny and powerful off-road machines, thanks to its Fox Racing shocks and musclebound exterior presence. Although many will agree it failed to set the tarmac ablaze, sharing a motor with the regular, garden variety versions of the Ranger.

That looks set to change, with the addition of a 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged petrol option, in a V6 configuration. If that does not get your heart rate up, consider the prospect of its output: 292kW and 583Nm. Very tasty. The Ford Performance division played a crucial role in its development. In terms of hardware, the actual block is made of compacted graphite-iron, which promises to be 75% stronger than the iron used in traditional castings.

More lateral support is provided for front occupants.
More lateral support is provided for front occupants.
Image: Supplied

An anti-lag system promises responsive performance. How does it work? Simply put: the turbochargers are kept spinning for up to three seconds after the driver backs off the throttle, allowing for faster resumption of acceleration out of corners or between gears when the driver gets back on the accelerator.

As before, a 10-speed, torque-converter automatic is used. Unlike before, the all-wheel drive system is permanently active, while front and rear locking differentials add prowess over trickier obstacles. The electronically-controlled active exhaust system is linked to the four driving modes on offer, bringing an acoustic character that ranges from meek (in Quiet mode) to assertive (in Baja mode). Chassis upgrades versus the regular Ranger appear extensive.

Additional mounts and reinforcements, for elements including the C-pillar, load box and spare wheel, as well as unique frames for the jounce bumper, shock tower and rear shock bracket, are part of its arsenal. New lightweight aluminium upper and lower control arms, long travel front and rear suspension and the Watt’s link rear setup were tweaked to deliver greater control across challenging terrain at high speed.

Two differential locks means easier negotiation of technical off-road obstacles.
Two differential locks means easier negotiation of technical off-road obstacles.
Image: Supplied

Not that the soon-to-be replaced Raptor struggled in this regard. Input from Fox is still very much a part of the suspension componentry. The latest Raptor employs shock absorbers with a live valve internal bypass system. As the shocks compress, different zones within the bypass system give exactly the amount of support needed for the travel being used and work in reverse as the shocks rebound back to full height.

Also neat is that the oil within the shocks is infused with Teflon, claiming to reduce friction by as much as 50% compared to the predecessor. The shocks also limit squatting motions under hard acceleration. Stronger underbody protection comes in the form of a front bash plate made from 2.3mm-thick steel, as well as shields for the engine and transfer case.

The interior is almost entirely digitised.
The interior is almost entirely digitised.
Image: Supplied

There is more in the way of driver assistance, including smarter off-road driving modes, as well as a cruise control function for trail driving.

From the outside, it is pretty evident that the newcomer ups the ante. Its prow is set apart by a wide grille with the Ford lettering boldly across, flanked by Matrix LED headlamps. Flared arches house 17-inch alloys (two style choices); wrapped in chunky BF Goodrich tyres. Functional aerodynamic elements and cast aluminium side steps make for impressive garnishes.

Bang & Olufsen sound and seats said to be inspired by jet-fighter cockpits are among the interior highlights. The cabin boasts a 12.4-inch instrument cluster, 12-inch centre touchscreen and the latest version of the Ford SYNC operating system.

Expect the new Ranger (including the Raptor) before the end of 2022.



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