The Ford Ranger Raptor can easily be considered as one of the most highly anticipated cars from Ford this year. With the U.S. market having the Raptor nameplate associated with the F-150 full-size pick-up for quite a while now, many Ford fans and customers clamored for the Raptor nameplate to be made available to our market. While the F-150 is huge and chugged petrol for days, the Ranger seemed to be the more appropriate canvas for Ford to finally create a Raptor made for our market. While rumors have circulated since 2016 that Ford was working on the development of the Ranger Raptor, this was all but confirmed until the second half of last year, and ever since we posted content about the vehicle, it almost always garnered a lot of attention. Now that the new Ranger Raptor is here, does it live up to the hype? Let’s find out.
On our way to the lahar fields, I was first assigned as a passenger in the Ranger Wildtrak 2.0 4×4, which shares the same twin-turbo diesel engine as the Raptor, which proved to be a powerful machine thanks to sharing the same engine as the Raptor. With 210 hp and 500 Nm on tap, the Ranger Wildtrak was effortless to use for overtaking and simply just blasting through the expressways.
As we arrived at the San Felipe Lahar Beds, a red Ranger Raptor was waiting for us. The lahar beds unexpectedly proved to be a challenge to some of the Filipino motoring media community. Nevertheless, having previous experience with dirt rallycross and off-road racing, I would have preferred if I had a helmet with me, but the Raptor was more than capable enough to handle the challenging terrain.
Apart from its wider body and lifted ride height, the main highlight of the Ranger Raptor are its Fox Racing shocks, uprated brakes, and a Watts Link rear suspension, which replaces the traditional leaf springs found in other Ford Ranger variants. As we were driving at a minimum speed of 60 kph, the Ranger Raptor handled the course beautifully, with the extremely long travel suspension allowing the wheels to maintain contact with the terrain even at high speeds. What’s more, the ride on the tarmac is much more composed compared to the Ranger Wildtrak.
Additionally, we also drove over the lahar beds at around 100 kph, and this is truly where the Raptor’s natural habitat is. It reminded me of the Baja or the famous Dakar Rally, wherein the Raptor’s components were truly made to handle such punishment from extreme high speed off-road driving.
Unfortunately, while the Fox Racing shocks pays its huge dividends when it comes to off-roading, it makes the Ranger much more limited when it comes to towing and hauling stuff. Due to its softer suspension designed for extended suspension travel made for absorbing all the punishment from extreme off-roading, the Ranger Raptor only has a payload capacity of 758 kg, and a towing capacity of 2,500 kg. This means that the Raptor is mainly a toy rather than a utility vehicle for the construction site or the farmlands.
After all this, we finally settled to a relaxing night at The Glamp Zambales, which proved to be a perfect outdoor-esque venue for us to unwind after such a long day. For the unaware, glamping is a combination of the words glamour and camping. It’s basically the concept of camping with the conveniences that one expects from a hotel, such as air conditioning, a sumptuous breakfast, as well as classy facilities. It it said that at night, given the right conditions, our own Milky Way galaxy can be seen clearly, thanks to its locations away from any light pollution sources.
Overall and above all, I survived the Raptor Test Drive both on the rallycross type of the terrain and the Baja-like speed run in the open Lahar field. The Ranger Raptor was a long time coming, and for all its intents and purposes, it truly lives up to the hype of being a pick-up truck purpose-built for such off-roading activities.
Additional photos from Dan Pabustan