I gotta say, there are only a couple of types of cars that really appeal to me. European performance or super cars, classic JDM's, classic British cars for example all give me that tingling sensation in my lower extremities. But there is another sort of car which I have a deep and secret love for. One that I've said many times before that most car enthusiasts love as well.
Pickup trucks, or as we call them in Australia? Utes. Big, coal rolling, Volkswagen Polo crushing, old man terrifying pickup trucks. They're so practical as well. I mean if you're on a road where there are other drivers around, and you don't want other drivers to be around on said road, all you need to do is drive down the center of said road and suddenly people disappear from the road. Or when you get up in the morning and have a coffee, and think "yes, today I want to rob a jewelry store". All you need to do is get in your pickup truck. Smash the front window of said store with your massive bumper bar which has old body parts hanging off it, and then run over any police car which gets in your way.
Anyway, this is my ultra practical test of a pickup truck I came ridiculously close to buying at the start of this year. I'll get to why I didn't end up buying it and opted for something else. It's quite a depressing story actually. One of a man and a truck that were destined to survive a nuclear apocalypse together and rule the new world. But got torn from each other, never to see each other again. It could actually be a romantic film to rival The Notebook.
So the car in question was the Ford Ranger Raptor. Australia's first attempt at showing the Americans up at their own job. Ford describe this vehicle as a Baja rally eating monster. Well actually they didn't, I did, but they still want the Ranger Raptor to be synonymous with that unnamed stupid Mexican rally sport which everyone secretly wants to be a part of. The Raptor even has a Baja mode. Presumably for show, because everyone knows that a Ranger Raptor couldn't actually complete the Baja 1000.
How does it perform?
This test is going to get laid out in parts. The first of which was the performance. Ford claim the Raptor does a 0-100km sprint in over 10 seconds. Which to be totally honest is utter sh*t. Both because over 10 seconds is such a terrible time for a performance truck, but also because I believed Ford was having both me and you on. I've driven multiple cars with that ecoboost engine, the same one in the Raptor. And it is stupidly powerful. So I tested it. I went to an empty airfield owned by a friend which had two runways. One was asphalt and the other was dirt. I lined the Raptor up on the asphalt runway, switched the car to 4X4 and sport modes, shifted the lever into manual and planted my foot. Low and behold I clocked the Raptor at 7.6 seconds to 100km/hr.
Surely Ford wouldn't lie to me right? I suppose I had a tail wind but it wasn't that stupidly strong. "Fine, okay so how do I make this car go slower?" I thought. So I switched runways, to the dirt one, and pointed the nose of the Raptor into the head wind. I switched the Raptor to Baja mode and put it into 4X2. Not surprisingly, the 100km/hr time was over 10 seconds. But those 10 seconds were so much fun I decided I needed to do some more dirt work. And that dirt work was so much fun I decided to do some more. Eventually it was dark outside and I had to go home.
Can it eat other cars?
It's probably worth mentioning at this stage that no, I did not run over other cars on the road with a Ford Ranger Raptor. I wanted to though. My next test was in a supermarket car park. I always remember one of my first mentor's growing up had a Ford F150. And every time we had to go to a super market or into a town for whatever reason he would just park the thing wherever he wanted and no-one would say a word of it.
So here I am, in suburbia at a Woolworths. There was a park at the front of the supermarket which encroached to the left on a disabled park. Or I could park 500 km away at the back of the supermarket. So like any good pickup truck driver I didn't want to take up space in the disabled park, so I half parked it in the Domino's alfresco dining area. I thought the normal Domino's demographic would appreciate my manliness.
I went into Woolworths, did my shopping, and came out again. And the ever loyal Ranger Raptor was sitting there. By that stage the entire car park was full and people were darting left to right to try and find a park. I slowly pushed my trolley towards the Raptor and as I walked around the back it revealed a middle aged man with a disabled sticker on his car sitting in the middle of the road with his indicator on. He wasn't going anywhere. Just sitting there with his indicator on. Irked I waved at him and pointed to the obviously free disabled park next to me. He looked at me, glassy eyed and shook his head.
It was that at that stage that I shrugged, got back in the Raptor and backed out. I'm not even joking when I say this, the man reversed as I did to allow me space to get out. I had a bloody container ships worth of space, but the man had to reverse for the Raptor. It hadn't even touched another car and it was roasting them, waiting to eat them all up. So yes, the Ranger Raptor eats other cars.
But the fuel, what about the fuel?
Now, ya see I thought this would've been a huge issue. I thought this would've totally turned me off the Ford Ranger Raptor. Because whilst it has it's little ecoboost engine, it's still a multi-tonne truck right? Wrong. This thing sh*ts oxygen. It was so surprisingly good on fuel that I didn't need to fill it up once during the weekend I had it. I was sitting at home with a friend and as typical Australian's do, we wanted to get a parmi and a pot. Let's stop for a second and quickly settle an age old argument as well. They are called parmi's. How do you spell parmigiana? With an i after m, therefore starting the colloquialism parmi. If you want to @ me about that one feel free, but the simple fact is you're wrong.
Anyway, my mate has a BMW X5, brand new might I add. And he says enthusiastically "I'll drive us, we just need to get fuel on the way". I replied with "nah it's all good, the Raptor still has half a tank left". "Surely not, you drove to the other side of Melbourne and back yesterday" he retorted. But it did, oh it did. It had so much fuel that my friend walked into the pub, in disbelief and with much less dignity than he'd left home with.
Right, but we all want to know whether it can do off-roading?
So I'm driving down the street after robbing a jewelry store, with all the safes and the cabinets in the back of the truck, and suddenly I see flashing lights in my rear view mirror. Christ it's the dogs. So I plant my foot, hear the Raptor roar, and think "they'll never be able to catch me now".
Alas the Victorian Police here in Australia now use BMW 530d's as pursuit vehicles. Those things are crazy powerful. The car catches up in a heartbeat and it right alongside the Ranger Raptor. Seeing that it's a BMW and knowing that BMW's are terrible off-road I switch the Raptor to Baja mode and smash the fence to a farm, plowing through a dam and jumping over the crevice on the other side. This car is just taking everything that's being thrown at it, it's floating over massive rocks and smashing through shrubbery. I'm having so much fun I forget the Police are chasing me. I soon figure out they have as well, they're inferior BMW 5 series sitting at the entrance to the farm waiting for crime scene investigators to tell them they should've had a pickup truck.
Okay, so why didn't you buy one?
I've ticked off everything in this car. I love the interior, I love that I can rob banks in it, I love that old men wince at it's sight and I love that it's ridiculously fast. Contrary to the title of the article though, tough trucks do not get chicks. Here's the thing, my partner is about 3 ft without her footstool or extended leg heels. I mean it's not quite that, but she's a bit small. And you see the Raptor is quite big, it's so big in fact that it needs a side step. But there's a problem with this side step, it's made of textured sharp metal material. So if you're a 6 ft male you just step up and hop in. However if you're a smaller female, you need to step up a fair way, swing yourself into the car then swing your legs into the passenger seat. And unfortunately every time my partner did this, she scraped her legs on the sharp textured metal, eventually ending in bloodshed.
The other thing was that she didn't like the fact that it was so arrogant. Admittedly, day to day, I'm a bit of a big cuddly bear. I care about other people and tend to be quite courteous. In the Raptor however? If you didn't get out of my way I'd make my way over you. That even scared me from time to time. It also made me giggle like a little schoolboy.
Anyway, so she ended up convincing me to get a Volkswagen Amarok. What she described as a sensible, most more sophisticated male's pickup truck. So I'm going to get a Volkswagen Amarok.
But here's the thing, if you're a single male who hates supermarket car parks, loves speed, loves outrunning the five oh and most definitely loves dune bashing. You should definitely buy a Ford Ranger Raptor. Any male tied down to a woman otherwise, there comes a point in your life when you have to ask a very important question. A question which will dictate the remainder of your life. That question is, am I a man, a husband, a father? Or am I a 9 yr old schoolboy trying to live out my childhood fantasies in my mature age? I, alike to many other males out there am still trying to decide which category I fall into.