“Raptor: A small or medium-sized dinosaur that ate other animals” (Merriam-Webster Incorporated, 2021). Yeah, we think this defines Ford’s vehicular interpretation of the Raptor quite well.
But first, cast your mind back to 2015, Ford announces an additional investment of US$186 million for incremental Ranger production volume to meet soaring demand across the Ford Thailand Manufacturing (FTM) region.
Fast forward to now and the 2021 Ford Ranger Raptor, and there’s a bit of fear and a lot of excitement for this ute, with our inner Dr Alan Grant gasping “YOU BRED RAPTORS?”.
It’s an intimidating beast from the moment you lays eyes on it, that’s for sure, and it’s certainly muscled up like some of the other utes in the space, like the now defunct Colorado Z71, HiLux Rugged X, Amarok Ultimate 580 and Nissan Navara N-TREK Warrior.
The hero in Ford’s Ranger line-up, it stands tall, defined, sporty, and muscular, nope scratch that, super muscular. Our Yeti of a monster truck, pun intended, is finished in a cool Arctic White.
And in case you’re not sure what it is when it fills your rear view mirror, factory black Raptor decals adorn the sides, so you can identify it as you move out of the way and let it go past. That’s the persona it projects, there’s no doubt.
17-inch Dyno Grey alloys wrapped in massive 33-inch all-terrain BF Goodrich tyres create the huge chasm between the guards and tyres. Thanks to the standard inclusion of 2.5-inch FOX Racing Shocks, the Raptor achieves 30 percent more wheel travel too.
This combination of wheels, tyres and suspension allows for a smooth and comfortable on-road experience and thrill-seeking off-roading adventures. An attention grabber, the Raptor demands looks wherever it goes.
Climb on inside, and the Raptor is all business. For optimum figure-hugging goodness when you are at ‘full send’ off-road, Ford has included body-contoured sports seats with enhanced bolsters and suede inserts, a little bit of luxurious comfort for a rough rider.
The voice-controlled SYNC 3 infotainment system puts you in command of an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen, which seems out of place on a car of such big proportions. The Raptor’s standard 6-speaker sound system provides capable road trip entertainment too.
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB+ digital radio, satellite navigation with traffic messaging, two USB ports, front and rear 12V auxiliary power outlets, Bluetooth, seat heaters up front, and a 230V inverter for the rear. It’s got it all.
There’s a front bash plate and tailgate lift assist outside too. If that wasn’t enough, the Raptor is also equipped with an embedded modem, in order to provide direct access to the FordPass Connect package.
This allows your smartphone to find your car, lock and unlock doors, do a fuel level check, and start the engine remotely in order to heat or cool the cabin to the last known setting, in preparation for your next expedition.
It’s all very exciting, right up to the point you realise that this 2,342kg behemoth is powered by an underwhelming 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder offering 157kW/500Nm, paired to a10-speed torque-converter automatic transmission.
We understand the Raptor doesn’t live its life a quarter mile at a time, but one would expect this vehicular hulk to at least have some more flex in the power figures for what’s under the hood.
The 80-litre fuel tank delivers go juice at a claimed fuel consumption figure of 8.2-litres/100km, but the best we could manage was an 11.5. At times, the 10-speed seems to think before it changes too, which makes merging into traffic an adventure of its own.
That said, the Ranger Raptor is predictable, which makes driving easy and comfortable, at least on a dry tarmac. Wet weather, however, will require total driver alertness and adherence to the phrase ‘Slippery when wet’.
Off-roading and outdoor recreation are where this adventurous fun mobile thrives though. Be it on the dunes, a 4×4 track, the local boat ramp or navigating a Bunnings carpark, this is where the Raptor’s reason for existence comes to light.
The 2021 Ford Ranger Raptor has a built-in terrain management system that offers six driving modes; Normal, Sport, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Sand, Rock and Baja to handle whatever you may demand of it.
Keeping in mind that the big Ford ute’s fancy Fox suspension setup is made for action, a toolbox and a dirt bike (or some mountain bikes if you like to pedal), would be right at home in the spray-in bed liner in the tray.
It’s got a 2,500kg braked towing capacity, should you need to do some heavy (but not too heavy) hauling.
Interior space is bountiful, and the rear cabin fits two child seats quite easily, or three adults should your friends seek ultimate togetherness. Drink holders, glove box, door pockets and a sunglasses holder, the Ranger Raptor is big on storage too.
Safety wise, the Raptor is a high achiever, with the entire Ranger line up achieving a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. A rear view camera, LED daytime running lamps, LED fog lamps, alarm, emergency braking, and trailer sway control all feature.
You’ll also find traffic sign recognition, hill decent control, parking sensors, lane keeping assist and much more. Prices start from $83,940 and it come with Ford’s 5-year unlimited km warranty.
Be warned though, it is very easy to get carried away with accessorising your Raptor with factory options, quite often leading susceptible owners towards a hefty price tag for an already pretty pricey ute (or pickup if you prefer).
And if Arctic White isn’t your thing, there’s also Shadow Black, Conquer Grey, Ford Performance Blue and True Red. Interior wise, what you see is what you get, with a mix of leather, suede, and blue stitching.
There’s a sports steering wheel with magnesium paddle shifters to add that final sporty touch too. The 2021 Ford Ranger Raptor is perfect for those outdoorsy individuals who would rather take the scenic route and get off the beaten track.
It works hard but plays so much harder.
Our test vehicle was provided by Ford Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Ford Raptor contact your local Ford dealership. Images courtesy of BrakefastMedia.