Ford Ranger RAPTOR – Launch Drive

Ford Ranger RAPTOR – Launch Drive

In the UFC there are several fighters that stand out! One that springs to mind as I was writing this piece was Jonny “Bones” Jones, current Light Heavy weight division champ, he has incredible speed , power and can go the distance , even has insane ground game, you may wonder how is this relevant to this review.

At the recent Ford Ranger launch out in lush green Western Cape town of George I came into the knowledge that I may be heading to Upington for the much anticipated Raptor launch, I had never been to the Northern Cape before, this added to the already boiling excitement. I enjoy travelling our country and this promised to be quite an experience like no other.

Upington is the high speed playground, the Bloodhound land speed is one such testament, and it happens to have the longest airport runway strip, and an abundance long straight freeways I have ever seen. It also happens to be home to some of the finest salt pans for epic off road fun, Ford South chose it wisely to launch the “Raptor” truck, still a bakkie to us South Africans.

The looks shout presence through flared wheel arches, bigger bumpers on the front and the rear, these are surrounded by re-enforced tow hooks, and a protective steel plate at the front just below the bumper to shield the engine. The clam shell fit bonnet with strong lines and larger FORD logo in the grille further enhance the exterior menacing looks. The interior benefits from several mild yet highly impressive touches, like the blue out stitching on the dash and on those ultra-supportive sports seats. The centre console is similar to what you find in the Wild track , the cluster is made sportier with bolder dials , a centre marked Raptor labeled  leather steering wheel with aluminium paddle shifters round off an impressive interior, as you depart an illuminated Ford Performance scuff plate greets you on the front door  steps. The side steps on the Raptor are made from serious strong light metal with matt coating , just be careful when stepping out , it scraped my calves several times , took some getting used to. The rear end is finished with some decals and labels just nje for control, you can’t mistake a Raptor for anything else on the road.

Drive is from hi output 2.0litre bi-turbo engine , with a 10 speed automated gearbox, the figures are impressive , 157kw and 500nm to get you moving, with a ground clearance of 283mm the Raptor employs a Watts suspension and Fox Shocks, it is connected to the ground via specialized BP Goodrich high performance off road tyres.  The combination of all of this is what I simply call “FUN” what this truck can do off road is nothing short of spectacular. With 6 different drive modes that can be accessed via a button on the right of the steering wheels, it can basically drive anywhere, sand, mud, gravel and wet surfaces with a wading depth of 850mm it is ready and willing. The power delivery is smooth, and relentless to iron out any moment of boredom which may rise, on road it quickly gets up to cruising speeds pretty easily. Driving the Raptor at high speeds on salt pan out in the Kalahari made one thing clear, the Ford performance people know how to put a truck together. It is utterly impressive!!!!

It is the Jonny “Bones” Jones of bakkies right now!!!!

The Raptor benefits from a host safety driving aids found in other modern Ford products like lane keeping assist , forward collision alert, reversing camera and rear parking assist to mention but a few.

One thing is certain, the Raptor has set a new benchmark for off road prowess, Priced at R786 400 all in , the option missing is you as the driver . It is backed by a 6year/90 000km(15 000km Intervals)service plan, 4year /120 000km Warranty, unlimited kilometer Corrosion and Roadside assistance over a 5 year and 3Year period respectively.

Thanks to Ford South Africa, Neale , Minesh, Vusumuzi, Ange, Doreen , Gideon and  the entire team for an epic experience at Upington.

Yours in Motoring

Wezile Lorenzio Bonani

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