The first-ever Ranger Raptor, Ford’s new off-road, performance pick-up bakkie, was unveiled in Thailand this week.
The Raptor will be produced at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa's (FMCSA’s) Silverton plant, in Pretoria, as part of a $220-million investment announced late last year, aimed at expanding Ranger production at the facility.
Capacity at the plant will increase from 100 000 units a year to 167 000 units a year.
FMCSA will produce the Raptor for the local markets, as well as export markets in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Raptor will be available in the local market in 2019.
The Ford Ranger was South Africa’s second best-selling vehicle in 2017 – following the Hilux at number one – with sales of 32 811 units. Ranger exports reached 57 311 units.
Raptor sales are likely to boost Ford’s sales numbers in South Africa, considering the enduring popularity of bakkies in the local market.
The purpose-built, desert-racing-inspired Raptor forms part of the Ford performance brand, with other members of the club being the well-known ST, RS and GT derivatives.
Ford says the Raptor has been designed “for the true enthusiast off-roader”,
“We are so excited and proud to unleash this vehicle to the public, driving it really makes you feel like a hero,” says Ford Performance chief engineer Jamal Hameedi.
“The Ford Performance team is excited to extend the Raptor name from our flagship off-road performance F-150 to Ranger.”
The Raptor’s vehicle stance is noticeably bigger than the Ranger, standing at 1 873 mm tall, 2 180 mm wide and 5 398 mm long, with wider front and rear tracks at 1 710 mm.
Ground clearance is increased to 283 mm, with an approach angle of 32.5°, ramp over angle of 24°, and departure angle of 24°.
All-terrain BF Goodrich 285/70 R17 tyres have been specially developed for the Ranger Raptor. Each tyre measures 838 mm in diameter and 285 mm in width.
The Ranger Raptor comes with a 10-speed transmission, combined with a new two-litre bi-turbo diesel engine, to deliver a maximum of 157 kW of power and 500 Nm of torque.
Inside, the seats are specially designed for off-road high speed performance support, while the steering wheel also offers lightweight magnesium paddle shifters for crisp gear changing.
“The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road versus any other available production road vehicle in our markets, and still ride like a millionaire on-road,” notes Ford Ranger Raptor chief programme engineer Damien Ross.