We’re big fans of the Ford Raptor. We like the hardcore off-road stock full-size pickup trucks in general, and if there were other manufacturers that would step up to the plate we would have more options. But unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet (hint hint Ram with the Rebel TRX or even better GMC with the All Terrain). Now rumors are flying around the automotive world that Ford might be bringing a midsize off-road beast to market and calling it the Ranger Raptor.
According to numerous reports, a more aggressive and beefed up version of the Ranger was spotted out testing in the Australian Outback. While it was covered with heavy camo, you could tell it was a Ranger and not just an ordinary one. Many off-road enthusiasts are convinced that it has to be the Ranger Raptor. This might sound ridiculous, and like quite the long shot, but there is some factual information that’ll lead you to believe there might actually be some truth to these wild claims.
The first thing I want to point out is that back in 2015 it was discovered that Ford registered trademarks for the monikers “Ranger FX4” and more importantly, the “Ranger Raptor!” Manufacturers do this sort of thing all the time and don’t always use the names they register, but it seems to me like it would be one hell of a coincidence that Ford registered that name, and then suddenly a more aggressive off-road variation of the new Ranger is spotted out testing. Granted, the FX4 would also be an off-road version so it could very well be that too.
Second thing is that when you think about it, both from business and enthusiasts perspective, it makes perfect sense to build something like that. I mean look at the success Ford’s had with the full-size Raptor. They’ve created a whole new segment for the pickup truck, of which they are dominating, considering they are the only ones competing in it. Having the Raptor in the lineup will also correlate to selling more trucks and has done so since the Raptor was released back in 2010.
Apparently, an Australian automotive website called CarAdvice spotted this more aggressive Ford Ranger and immediately could tell it was not a standard test mule. According to reports from the photographer, this new truck has a few upgrades that point towards it being the Ranger Raptor, or if nothing else at least the FX4, which wouldn’t be nearly as exciting.
This is a short list of the key features and upgrades that are sending off-road enthusiasts into a frenzy:
- Increased ride height over the standard model. This is something that is crucial for an off-road vehicle, especially one that’s supposedly a “Raptor,” because the increased ride height also means better ground clearance as well as more room for suspension travel.
- Speaking of suspension, this is maybe the most important upgrade that would be required in order for the Ranger Raptor to be the real deal. It would be a crying shame if the did call this new pickup a Ranger Raptor but instead of it having badass suspension it’s just a slightly upgraded version of the stock setup (cough Ram Rebel cough). Apparently, the photographer spotted a Watt’s linkage, which is commonly used alongside coil over springs.
- Wheel arches that have a little extra “flare” than the stock fenders. Which is important for two reasons, in my opinion, one being the looks, the other being the functionality. The flared fenders on a Raptor help give it that real wide and aggressive stance that currently no other truck can match. The second reason being the flare gives more room in the wheel wells which should allow more room for wheel travel or at least the potential of it.
- The front end has been modified and cut down so that it will improve the front approach angle of the truck. This one might be a bit of a stretch because it really could apply to any of the off-road versions of the Ranger, and I assume it would be hard to decipher unless you had a standard version sitting right next to it for comparison. But at the same time, if it’s true and specific to the Ranger Raptor it would be pretty cool.
There were a few other things the photographer spotted on the test mule such as the meaty off-road tires and supposedly four-wheel disc brakes. However, both of these things could very easily be new features for the FX4, or even a standard Ranger actually. Personally, I’m not putting a whole lot of weight behind those two, although if the Ranger Raptor is what it should and could be the more aggressive tires and brakes would be great additions.
Saving the best for last, even though it’s also one of the biggest “speculations” of them all, is what the car spotter reported about the drivetrain. They said that whatever was under the hood sounds very similar to the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that currently powers the Gen 2 Raptor. Which if you were to assume that’s true, it would be spectacular to have a twin turbo V6 churning out 450hp and 510lb-ft of torque on hand to help pull you up, over or through just about anything.
It’s still quite early considering the Ranger isn’t expected to hit the showroom floors of Ford dealers all over the United Sates and Australia until late 2018 and it’ll be classified as a 2019 model. And let’s say best case scenario they do bring the Ranger Raptor, and it’s everything that you wish it would be, will they bring it to the United States? I haven’t heard anything about Ford trademarking the name Ranger Raptor here, so that leaves a slight bit of doubt. But I have to assume there would be such an uproar from the Raptor community if they didn’t that Ford would have no choice but to bring it here. I guess time will tell.