Ford Needs to Sell a Ranger Raptor in the U.S.

Ford has recently brought back its Ranger midsize pickup truck, and it seems to be living up to the hype. The Ranger is currently offered in a variety of trims, ranging from the basic XL trim to the high-end Lariat model with leather seats and driver assistance features. There are also a variety of packages and options to outfit your Ranger however you see fit, including three cab styles, rear-wheel and four-wheel drive options, various equipment packages, and the FX4 Off Road Package. However, the one thing the new Ranger desperately needs is its own version of the wildly successful Raptor trim that’s offered on the F-150.

If you aren’t familiar with the Raptor, it’s a trim level of the F-150 that’s optimized off-road driving, particularly at high speeds. It’s powered by a 450 horsepower twin-turbo V6 and a 10-speed automatic transmission that can blast it to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds, while its Baja-inspired suspension will smooth out the desert floor. The Raptor can jump, climb, and dash over almost everything, making it unlike any other truck on the market. It’s the closest you can get to a street-legal, mass produced version of an off-road trophy truck.

While it’s been wildly successful, it does have one major handicap: the Raptor is ginormous. While the standard F-150 isn’t a small truck by any stretch of the imagination, the Raptor is over half a foot wider due to flared fenders that allow the off-road wheels and upgraded suspension to fit under its body. The result is a truck that feels out of place in most settings, especially in the more suburban and urban worlds. It’s massive on narrow streets, and parking can often be an onerous experience.

With that in mind, a Raptor version of the Ranger makes a ton of sense. Not everyone needs the Titanic, and many people would love to drive their Raptor to work during the week, and take it out into the great wide open on the weekends. The Ranger Raptor would be easier to live with in the day to day, while still being capable of the adventures that make the Raptor such a compelling vehicle.

This isn’t some forlorn wish that Ford would get their engineering team together to build something new. Ford already has a Raptor version of the Ranger, but it’s only for the global market, otherwise known as “everywhere but here.” That’s pretty disappointing, isn’t it?

The Ranger Raptor for the rest of the world is largely what you’d expect. It gets the same 10-speed transmission as the F-150 Raptor, as well as fancy Fox suspension dampers that are more or less the same as the ones on the bigger truck. By all accounts, the Ranger Raptor should be able to blast around the desert at high speed, just like its bigger brother.

However, the powerplant used by the Ranger Raptor is a departure from what we normally see in the U.S. Instead of the Ranger’s standard 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the Ranger Raptor gets a 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel. This is a more powerful option than the 5-cylinder diesel that sits under the hood of the standard overseas Ranger, but it’s unlikely that Ford will try to bring it here due to more stringent regulations and diesel’s bad rap as of late.

In many places overseas, space is at a much higher premium, so the Ranger Raptor makes even more sense. Trying to drive an F-150 Raptor on streets that have been around since the Romans were in power sounds like a form of torture. However, that doesn’t mean the concept wouldn’t work in the U.S.

Instead, the biggest problem Ford is running into with the American market is likely the engine. If Ford were to bring the Raptor Ranger here, they would need it to be powered by a gas engine that still offered a hefty increase of power over the standard Ranger. It would also need to fit into the Ranger’s current engine bay with minimal modifications. The likely candidate is the same 335 horsepower 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 found in the Edge ST, but it’s entirely possible this engine just simply won’t fit. In that case, Ford will need to look at other options that haven’t been developed already.

Even if it takes some effort to bring the Ranger Raptor to U.S. standards, it would still be worth it. It’s not hard to see that a more accessible Raptor would be successful here, considering the success that the full-size version has had. Furthermore, the Ranger Raptor would likely be a good deal less expensive than the F-150 version, making it the Raptor for everyone.

At any rate, Ford has not made public any plans to bring it here despite their endless teasing. Hopefully, we too will be blessed with the small, fast off-road truck of our dreams.

Resources:

https://www.ford.com/trucks/ranger/

https://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/models/f150-raptor/

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a16740549/2019-ford-ranger-raptor-officially-unveiled-news/

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