Safety, Value and Features
WWhen I first drove the last-generation Ford Ranger Raptor a few years ago, with the bi-turbo diesel engine, I was one of the few motoring journalists who thought it had enough power to throw the Raptor off-road. And a little fun at it. Well, I was wrong. Totally wrong. And I’m happy to admit it.
The 2023 Raptor is a different animal entirely, and it’s not just an exterior freshen-up. The vehicle offers a lot more than the Raptor of old, all based around a fire-breathing 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine – the powerplant the Raptor should have come with first.
How does 292kW and 583Nm grunt match the sound of a 10-speed automatic transmission? It sounds bloody awful and goes exactly that way. However, it’s not just about the engine, although it does play a large part in making the 2022 Raptor an exclusive four-wheel drive.
With Fox suspension and coil springs at all four corners, advanced off-road technology with interactive driver and terrain modes, and a beautifully thought-out interior, this new Ranger Raptor ticks a lot of boxes.
But how well does it fare in the real world of muddy job sites, remote campgrounds and off-road parks? This is what we are here to find out.
Powertrain and performance
Petrol-powered 4WDs don’t exactly fill the Australian off-roader’s heart with joy, but I assure you it will. Producing a claimed 292kW at 5650rpm and 583Nm at 3500rpm, the 2022 Raptor has the performance it needs, and then some.
Mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, the only word that truly describes the driving experience of this vehicle is fast. The transmission shifts quickly, but not in a busy way that’s annoying. It is smooth in operation, offering gear ratios to suit any occasion.
The engine is fast. It pushes you back into the firm bucket seats under acceleration so brutally it feels like it’s trying to kill you. Thankfully, the 2022 Ranger Raptor has a five-star ANCAP safety rating in case you run out of talent. Having said that, the Raptor is an easy vehicle to drive and provides a truly engaging driving experience.
With that power comes a thirst, and on test we returned fuel economy figures of around 16 liters per 100 km. These are the same figures I recently got from a V8 petrol-powered Nissan petrol, just to put things in perspective. Certainly, with less motivation this figure will fall; But the Raptor is really a case of thinking about smiles per gallon and not miles per gallon, as it sounds like it’s just as enjoyable.
On-road ride and handling
What I was surprised by was the feel of the brake pedal. I was expecting it to be razor sharp in operation, yet it was more on the spongy (read: progressive) side. Don’t get me wrong, the brakes work both on and off-road, but you need more input than in the Nissan Petrol and Toyota Land Cruiser 300 GR Sport, for example.
That’s where the negatives end, as I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the 2022 Ranger Raptor. Ride quality is exceptional. Hit a speed bump at the posted speed limit and you won’t even notice it.
Fox builds quality suspension, and when combined with the locally tuned chassis found under the 2022 Ranger Raptor, you have a ute that has no right to handle it well. A good suspension is something you’ll appreciate every time you drive, and factory 4WD suspension doesn’t get much better than that.
Tip the Raptor into a sharp corner and it stays flat, clinging to the road with bare skin like sica flakes. And that’s in 2WD; You can drive the Raptor in 4WD Auto mode for even more on-road grip.
Damping can also be adjusted via a button on the steering wheel, allowing you to instantly take the ride quality from comfort to sport to off-road modes. There are buttons for adjustable suspension settings as well as adjustable steering modes, as well as a button to control how loud you want the exhaust. Naturally, we were in game mode the whole time. Yes!
This is where the Raptor shines, and it’s probably no surprise. We can explore many different types of terrain in the Blue Mountains, from high-speed dirt to mud and rocks, and there’s no dual-cab on the market that handles the rough stuff like the Ranger Raptor.
Corrugations and bumps can be taken at speeds that would send you off the roof of other utes, and when you want to slow things down for steep descents, the gearing options provided by the 10-speed automatic transmission are seemingly endless. are In the low range, this thing can crawl with the best of them.
That being said, if you leave off the difflock and terrain modes and just put the Raptor in low-range 4×4, it’s nothing special when it comes to traction control to prevent wheelspin.
Fortunately, the Raptor has a number of aces up its sleeve, and by choosing what terrain you’re driving on through the selectable drive modes, things get a lot more serious. Front and rear diff locks certainly help the cause, as does the previously mentioned Fox suspension which not only rides well but offers a fantastic amount of suspension travel.
Engaging 4WD modes isn’t as simple as turning a dial, and it can be a bit confusing to operate as you need to be in certain drive modes to make certain selections. Once you play with it, you get used to it, and we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the bush before heading. Once you have the system dialed in, all 4WD sequences engage quickly and easily.
Cabins and Accommodation
I don’t think I’ve seen a sportier interior in 4WD. With black leather seating and interior components, highlighted with Code Orange accents, it’s over the top in all the right ways and really sums up what the Raptor is all about.
Traditionally, anything with wordplay in it is comforting, but not so with Ranger Raptor. It’s comfortable for everyday use, as well as helpful when chucking the ute around private property or doing serious off-roading. The seats in particular are fantastic, and when you have a bad back like mine, comfortable and supportive seats are important.
Something we discovered by accident when arranging the seats for photography is that the front seats can be folded back, basically flat, making for a really comfortable place to nap. I’ll still pack my stuff, but it’s a smart addition for a roadside power nap.
Ford is loaded with features. Wireless phone charging is built-in, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and I had no problem connecting my old iPhone to the system. The sound system is also a cracker, especially when you fiddle with the EQ settings, but it can be a bit loud as I like to dial my tunes up to 11.
While most of the interior controls can be found and adjusted via the massive centrally-mounted infotainment screen, it’s still refreshing to see basic knobs for volume and air conditioning.
As well as controlling the vehicle’s functions, the touchscreen serves as a display for the high-quality cameras mounted around the vehicle, offering a bird’s-eye 360-degree top-down view and trailer hatch view. I find this especially useful when off the road and when there are as many other vehicles parked on my steep driveway as possible.
We didn’t pay attention to this test, but I dare say stopping the caravan would be child’s play with this technology.
What! No gas on the bonnet? We had to open the bonnet to take pictures of the engine bay, and it was so hot that we burned our hands supporting the bonnet. At this price point, I don’t see how that’s acceptable. I dare say, there will be an aftermarket solution to this problem very soon… but seriously?
On the plus side, you’ll find the best cup holders in the industry inside the cabin. There are two artefacts mounted on either side of the dash below the air conditioner vents, and I was able to easily store a liter water bottle in the front door pockets.
The tray area is huge and comes from the factory with Ford’s own spray-on tub liner to prevent scratches when loaded. There are tie-down points at all corners, as well as in-built LED lighting that comes in handy after a late-night shopping trip. There’s a 12V outlet on the passenger side, perfect for plugging in a fridge on the go.
Towing capacity is limited to 2500kg, which is 1000kg less than regular Ranger models. That’s a good thing, because who really wants to carry more than 2500kg with a double cab? not me. Payload capacity is listed at a maximum of 753kg, which isn’t class-leading but still respectable.
Wading depth is listed at a maximum of 850mm, which is up there with the best of them. I’m skeptical of that figure, but there’s no water in the airbox on this or any previous 2022 Ford Ranger reviews, so I trust that figure. inclined to do. job well done
The new 2022 Ford Ranger Raptor is a little odd, because it does a lot of things well without feeling like a compromise. It’s fast, comfortable, stupidly capable off-road and easy to pilot on-road. You can use it as a ute, rally car and daily driver.
“The hype is real, it’s a fantastic 4WD”
The only limitation is the previously mentioned towing capacity of 2500kg, so if you need to haul heavier loads than that, you’ll need to look elsewhere. I’m also looking at a long range fuel tank to feed the beast on long trips, as 80 liters of 98 octane (preferred fuel) won’t get you very far if you drive with gusto. will What you will do.
It’s not just better than the last generation, it’s in another league. It offers more tech, more power, better off-road capability and a better all-round driving experience.
The hype is real, it’s a fantastic 4WD that I’d be happy to see parked in my driveway, and I’d take it anywhere in Australia. Gasoline power alone hasn’t transformed this new generation Ranger Raptor, but it sure as hell hasn’t hurt it.
2023 Ford Ranger Raptor specs
|Body||4-door, 5-seat dual cab|
|Drive||Permanent four wheels|
|engine||3.0-litre V6, DOHC, 24V, Twin Turbo Petrol|
|Bore stroke||85 mm x 86 mm|
|power||292kW @ 5650rpm|
|Torque||583Nm @ 3500rpm|
|0-100 kmph||6.5 seconds (approx.)|
|Transfer||10 speed automatic|
|The weight||2674 kg (kg)|
|Fuel consumption||11.5L/100km (combined)|
|Front suspension.||Struts, double A-arms, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bars|
|Rear suspension||Watts link, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar|
|Wheel base||3270 mm|
|Brake||332mm disc brake (f/r)|
|Tire||BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A 285/70 R17|
|The wheels||17 inch alloy|
|Price||$85,490 + on-road costs|
Safety, Value and Features
Things we like.
- The engine and gearbox package is superb.
- Amazing suspension performance on and off-road
- A lot of fun to drive – a real fun car
Not so much
- Almost $100k is a lot for a ute.
- Fuel consumption – it likes a drink.
- There are no bonnet gas struts in the engine bay.