Is the Ford Ranger Raptor actually all that fun?
Sure, it promises big things… but what's it like in the real world?
When I drove the Ford Ranger Raptor on the car's international press launch in early 2019, I was convinced that the blue oval had done an amazing job of building a truck that made you feel simultaneously invincible and like an eight year old who's just got a Tamiya truck from Santa.
Ford took the regular Ranger and welded fat reinforcement plates onto its ladder chassis, chucked out the leaf springs and whacked on some strong off-road racing suspension. And, erm, left the 2.0-litre BiTurbo diesel in the engine bay. Oh well. But I jumped the Raptor jumped off and into sand dunes in a way that would probably have set airbags off in most other trucks. And it came back for more.
A year and a half later, I finally got the chance to live with one for a bit here in the UK. Is it still as fun as I remembered? Watch to find out how it coped with my RUGGED LIFESTYLE, or read on for more coherent thoughts.
The first thing you notice climbing into the Raptor's cabin is, well, how much fun it is to climb into the Raptor's cabin. You step up onto a mighty sturdy black metal running board, grab a chunky plastic A-pillar-mounted handle and hoist yourself up and into the leather/cloth seat with its giant Raptor embroidery.
The cabin's just-about-okay for a £50,000 truck, and it's tarted up with swathes of just-about-leather and colourful sporty stitching. The rest of the plastics are still the hard-wearing sort you get in a the regular Ranger, which is probably good if you intend to use the Raptor as intended. In the mud.
How does it drive?
The Raptor's 210hp and 369 lb ft of torque get it to 62mph in a leisurely 10.5 seconds. It doesn't feel horrifically slow, although the 10-speed auto can never really decide what gear to put you in.
To get a smile, you need to put the Raptor in Baja mode to slacken off the stability control and then start leaning on the knobbly BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres. The back end skids wide out of junctions in a gloriously slow-motion slide that your granny could catch even after her post-bingo ketamine hit. And then you realise that Tarmac isn't the Raptor's best mate. The tyres are a bit howly at speed, and it feels huge by virtue of being tall.
The fun comes when you come up against an oncoming car on a narrow road with grass verges, and you realise you don't have to slow down from 40mph to take to the green stuff. I promise, you'll never stop to let another car past in a Ranger Raptor. Because you can remove yourself from the road with such ease. It actively encourages you to dive out of the way, off the Tarmac and onto something squelchier. You'll inevitably end up swerving back onto the road with an armful of opposite lock and a huge grin on your face. And then you'll wish you owned a huge swathe of land to use as your playground. Because that's what the Raptor deserves – it begs to be drifted through mud, jumped and generally dicked-about in.
What about the practicalities?
Like all pickup trucks, the Raptor's load-lugging capabilities are a bit compromised. Sure, there's a large load-bed with a 600kg carrying capacity (way down on the regular Raptor), but anything you put in there rattles about unless you get handy with a bungee net.
The rear seats are not hugely roomy, and the seat backs are quite upright so aren't that comfy for long journeys.
I got 25mpg out of it, although I dare say 30mpg is possible if you're not gassing it everywhere in Baja mode like an oik.
So should I get one?
It's hard to recommend a £50,000 pickup truck that's not particularly fast. But if you have that money spare and a lot of land to erm, re-sculpt, then you can't get much better (in Europe) than the Ranger Raptor. It is a huge amount of fun to drive off-road, simply because you don't ever feel the need to slow down. You will, however, feel honour-bound to jump, drift and laugh until you swallow big bits of mud.
It's a very niche vehicle, but if you have the land for it, it's brilliant.
And yes, Americans, we know your Raptor is faster. You don't need to mention it in the comments.