JOE goes off road in Morocco to drive the beast-like Ford Ranger Raptor 1 week ago

JOE goes off road in Morocco to drive the beast-like Ford Ranger Raptor

On a recent trip to Morocco, JOE's Eric Lalor discovered that the new Ford Ranger Raptor is built for absolute punishment.

Ford has announced the arrival in Europe of the new Ranger Raptor – the toughest and most high-performing member of the Ford Ranger range, Europe’s best-selling pick-up.

Developed by Ford Performance, Ford says the awe-inspiring Ranger Raptor supports thrill-seeking outdoor lifestyles and can tackle the harshest off-road terrain at speed.

That all sounds very well on paper, but I can testify to exactly that. How? Because I was fortunate enough to fly to Morocco to test-drive the Ford Ranger Raptor and push it to its absolute limits across the roughest terrains we could find.

Our remit was to push and punish this vehicle, but it stood up to all of the challenges and came back for more.

Ford Ranger Raptor

My travelling party headed for the port city of Essaouira to sample the capabilities of the vehicle. We picked up our vehicles at the airport and set off on a multi-terrain journey around the Moroccan countryside and coast.

Make no mistake, this is a very big powerful machine, but deceptively nippy and hugely responsive when driving along a motorway. I was very surprised at how quickly and smoothly we built up speed.

The new Ford Ranger Raptor is powered by a bi-turbo version of Ford’s 2.0‑litre EcoBlue diesel engine that delivers 213 PS and 500 Nm of torque and Ford’s new 10-speed automatic gearbox.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Morocco is a beautiful country and it was a pleasure driving around it in all its glory. From big modern motorways to queuing behind herds of goats for right of way in the middle of a town befitting of biblical times, we experienced it all.

Built to withstand high-impact off-road events, the Ranger Raptor’s unique, super-strong reinforced chassis frame uses high-strength, low-alloy steels to endure the punishment delivered by off-road racing. So, all we needed was some off-road terrain.

We drove around some narrow country roads covered in gravel, but it was when we got to the beach that we discovered the true capability of the vehicle.

Driving across a course of sand dunes and huge rocks, the Ranger Raptor was not found wanting on any of the surfaces. These were no ordinary sand dunes either. The sand was deep and any kind of hesitancy resulted in being stuck and wheel spinning to your heart's content.

Ford Ranger Raptor

It's all very well making it across all this tough and challenging terrain, but it's another thing doing it at speed and this is where the Raptor comes into its own.

The Raptor’s race-bred suspension has been specifically crafted to tackle fearsome terrain at high-speed while remaining in complete control and comfort, using a 150 mm wider track and 51 mm taller ride height compared with the Ranger XLT.

We were taken on a course across a lot of sand dunes and rough terrain. Our instructor, Carlos, as you can see in the video below, wasn't too impressed with my driving and tried to hijack the drive several times.

The Ranger Raptor enables drivers to select from six Terrain Management System modes to tackle a wide range of terrain and driving scenarios including:

  • Normal mode – emphasising comfort, fuel economy and driveability
  • Sport mode – more responsive for spirited on-road driving
  • Grass/Gravel/Snow mode – designed to inspire safe and confident driving on off-road slippery and uneven surfaces
  • Mud/Sand mode – tuning vehicle responses for optimum traction and momentum in deep, deformable surfaces like loose sand and mud
  • Rock mode –  specifically for low-speed rocky terrain where smooth controllability is key
  • Baja mode – tuning responses for high-speed off-road performance, just like drivers need in the famous Baja desert rally.

Ford Ranger Raptor

The New Ford Ranger Raptor will arrive in Ireland in August, is available in double cab format and includes the following key highlights:

  • Acceleration 0-100km: 10.0 seconds
  • 2,500kg max towing capacity
  • 620kg max gross payload
  • Front and rear ventilated disc brakes
  • Terrain management system
  • 17” x 8.5” alloy wheels
  • Unique Raptor trim (leather & suede)
  • 8-way powered driver and passenger seats
  • Dual zone automatic A/C; SYNC 3 with navigation centre

The Ford Ranger Raptor will be priced from €63,950; more information is available on the Ford Ireland website.