We continue to live in a golden age of pickup truck and SUV performance, and Ford Performance is leading the charge. Freshly announced is the all-new Ford Ranger Raptor, and it looks to raise the bar in the midsize truck segment, and vastly improves on the outgoing model in several ways. And did we mention that it’s coming to America this time? Because it’s coming to America this time!
Below is everything you need to know…
Ford Ranger Raptor Design
The Aesthetic of the Ford Ranger Raptor is easily identifiable from the standard model with a wider track, a taller stance, blackened exterior design elements, and of course that signature F-O-R-D lettered grille. There are a lot of echoes of the larger F-150 Raptor in several details, specifically the hood and front fender elements. We see a bit of Bronco Raptor in the back with the unique tail lamps.
As expected, the 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor comes with a powerful 3.0L EcoBoost V6 engine. Tuned by Ford Performance, this motor cranks out a stout 392 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. It even incorporates a compacted graphite-iron cylinder block, with a 75 percent increase in strength and stiffness compared to iron traditionally used in engine block castings. It’s not cast aluminum.
Like we see in the Bronco Raptor, the Ranger Raptor also incorporates a 10-speed automatic transmission for shifting duties. The exhaust note settings of the engine are also shared between the two, and are described as follows:
- Quiet – prioritises quietness over performance and sound to keep the peace with neighbours on early mornings
- Normal – intended for everyday use, this profile offers an exhaust note with presence while not being too loud for street use. This profile is applied by default to Normal, Slippery, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl drive modes
- Sport – offers a louder and more dynamic note
- Baja – the most striking exhaust profile in both volume and note, in Baja mode the exhaust behaves more like a straight-through system. Intended for off-road use only.
While the big news is the integration of a powerful V6, the 2.0-liter EcoBlue twin-turbo diesel engine will still be available in some markets. In the previous-generation Ranger Raptor, the engine pushed out 210 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. It goes without saying that the new EcoBoost V6 offering is a big improvement.
The chassis of the Ford Ranger Raptor sees specific mounts and reinforcements for elements including the C-pillar, truck bed and spare tire, as well as unique frames for the jounces, shock tower and rear shock bracket. There are also lightweight aluminium upper and lower control arms (perhaps from the Bronco Raptor?), long‑travel front and rear suspension and a refined Watt’s link rear end have been designed to deliver more control across rough terrain at high speed. Critically, both front and rear axles see an electronically locking differential.
Bolted to the chassis is a set of Fox 2.5-inch Live Valve internal bypass shock absorbers that are filled with damping fluid infused with – get this – Teflon. Since it’s been proven to be toxic for cooking, Teflon’s new use case helps reduce friction by a full 50 percent compared to the fluid used on the outgoing vehicle. This should keep the Fox dampers operating smoothly during periods of excessive wear when baja-blasting the backroads. They also come with a feature that Fox calls Bottom-Out Control, which provides maximum damping force in the last 25 percent of shock travel. Similarly, the system can stiffen the rear dampers to prevent Ranger Raptor from squatting under hard acceleration, reducing unwanted weight transfer, and improving vehicle stability.
The Ford Ranger Raptor chassis is further fortified with a front bash plate that’s almost double the size of the standard model, and is made from 2.3 mm-thick high-strength steel. There’s also an engine skid plate, and transfer case skid plate that are designed to protect key components such as the radiator, steering system, front crossmember, engine sump and front differential.
Lastly, a set of tow hooks at the front and rear provide flexible recovery options while driving off‑road should things get a little awry.
Like the other Raptors, this new one features multiple drive modes, which are described as follows:
- Normal – designed for comfort and fuel efficiency
- Sport – more responsive for spirited on-road driving
- Slippery – for more confident driving on slippery or uneven surfaces
- Rock crawl – for optimum control in very low speed driving over rocky and uneven terrain
- Sand – optimizes gear shifts and power delivery for progress in sand and deep snow
- Mud/Ruts – for maximum grip during launch and maintaining vehicle momentum
- Baja – sets all systems to maximum attack for peak high-speed off-road performance.
The Ranger Raptor also comes with 33-inch BFG KO2 all-terrain tires exclusively. There’s no “Sasquatch” package of sorts for this all-terrain truck. But that doesn’t mean that customers won’t inevitably lift and add a set of 35-inch or 37-inch tires on this new Raptor themselves. Perhaps American customers will be treated to such factory hardware when the truck rolls out of the Michigan Assembly Plant in 2023. It does carry a unique program code, after all.
Ford Ranger Raptor Price
This brings us to the final detail: the price. With 33-inch tires and less extreme hardware overall than the Bronco Raptor, the rumors of the Ranger Raptor starting below $55,000 USD for America are likely to stand. This could also pave the way for something more extreme, should the market demand it, such as a Ranger Raptor R or even a leave space for an actual Bronco pickup truck, which is said to have gone stillborn. Time will tell what happens next.