The first time we tested the all-new Ford Ranger Raptor at one point in our journey from the city of Darwin, Australia to the Tipperary Station (a distance of over 143 kilometers of mixed surfaces that leads to a private, almost 210,000 hectare property, roughly twice the size of Hong Kong), Manny and I literally soared airborne at a tick over 160 km/h as we jumped over one of the deepest cattle grids along the route yet landed without any drama aside from Manny losing his breath and the grip on his smartphone! So here we are again, as we further try to punish the Ranger Raptor into submission. It was another round of guiltless pleasure all over again! The Darwin Ranger Raptor experience combined abundant wildlife, rock, tarmac, fine red sand, and water. This time around Ford Philippines sent Chris Van Hoven and I to represent the Philippine media to cover the landmark celebration of the Ranger Raptor super truck being built in Silverton, Pretoria, South Africa. We, along with select journalists from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and South Africa, were the first wave of motor journalists to test the factory’s finished production super bakkies (I prefer how the South African’s refer to pick-up trucks). The Silverton plant currently produces the Ranger pickup range for export to 148 markets in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
We first flew in to Johannesburg to settle-in and immerse ourselves in the local culture as best we could, given the limited time constraints. We went to the Lion and Safari Park in Broederstroom for a couple of entertaining and informative hours with the wildlife, then carried on to the Harties Aerial Cableway, which extends to the top of the Magaliesberg mountain range and offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Hartbeespoort Dam and the surrounding area.
We had some food and cocktails there before heading down for dinner at the Carnivore restaurant at the Muldersdrift Estate where we dined on all-you-can-eat classic South African dishes as well as meats that included Kudu, Warthog, Crocodile, Zebra, and Antelope skewered and cooked on an open fire and served on Masaai swords.
On the next day, we flew out of Johannesburg and headed northwest to Upington, Northern Cape, on the banks of the Orange River, known for fine wines from the Orange River Cellars and the Kalahari Basin. After we landed and had our briefing, we jumped on our dedicated Ford Ranger Raptors and drove north on the R360 for the Goera Pan, an ancient salt bed which is surrounded by characteristic Northern Cape Kalahari rolling red dune landscapes, situated on route to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and a gateway to Namibia and Botswana. It was here after driving on the well-paved tarmac of the R360 that we all got to explore the incredible abilities of the Ford Ranger Raptor.
For a quick recap, compared to the current Ranger Double Cab Wildtrak, the 211 bhp twin-turbodiesel 10-speed Ford Ranger Raptor uses bespoke upgraded 13.07-inch (332 mm) front brakes and with slightly narrower but identical diameter rear vented discs instead of drum, perfectly calibrated long-travel Fox Racing internal-bypass dampers on all corners for extreme compression and rebound, the independent front suspension uses forged-aluminum upper control arms and cast-aluminum lowers, coil-sprung rear instead of leaf springs (what the current Ranger uses) with a Watt’s linkage that manages the lateral live axle, has an electronically controlled locking differential, has a 150 mm wider track, 168 mm wider body, uses bespoke BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires (a paragon for all-terrain capability), has 46 mm more ground clearance, is 44 mm longer, 25 mm taller, same wheelbase, and 110 kg. lighter together with over 350 unique components. It can wade water to a depth of the new class best of 850 mm, while being the fastest, nimblest, quickest, and most comfortable super truck ever.
At the Goera Pan, we all got to drive, for as long as we desired, primarily three exercises; a rally stage, a sand stage, and a slalom stage. The only physical differences applied to the vehicles were adjusted tire pressures, the lowest setting for sand, mid-setting for the rally, and the closest to stock pressures for the slalom stage. The other adjustments made to suit each exercise were from the steering wheel 6-mode intelligent terrain control, 4-Low and 4-High knob, and rear differential lock button. The rally stage course was an 8-minute route that had the most variable terrain that began on the salt-bed flats, that led to the semi-desert hills then back down again. We ran it on “Baja” mode for optimal high-speed off-road performance. The most challenging stage was on the deep sand dunes where we all maxed-out our off-road skills using the “sand” mode climbing and plowing through the course. The last stage was the least laborious and the most juvenile as we just enjoyed 4-wheel drifting through dual concentric courses.
There was one last exercise after the whole day in the beating sun, a 7-kilometer alternative route near a cattle range that had multiple consecutive high-speed jumps where we would literally jump and soar at speeds over 150 km/h! We drove the living hell out of the Ford Ranger Raptor over some of the most challenging terrain without breaking a sweat. It is so capable that it makes even inexperienced drivers perform like professionals. The Ford Ranger Raptor is the very top triathlete in the trucking class. Its monumental ability to maintain speed as it jumps, crawls, wades through rivers, all in even the most unforgiving terrain is truly astonishing. It is the very best balanced and most exploitable super truck ever produced. This last South African experience simply reinforced it!
|Cylinder Head||dohc 16v|
|Fuel Injector||Direct Injection Intercooled Twin-Turbodiesel|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||211 bhp @ 3750 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||369 lb-ft @ 1750-2000 rpm|
|Top Speed||170 km/h (106 mph) Governed|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||9.7 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||25 mpg (9.4 l/100 kms.) City / 32 mpg (7.5 l/100 kms.) Highway|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||PhP 1,998,000.00|
|What's Great||And once again the Raptor delivered more than expected. It is the most enjoyable, fastest, nimblest, quickest, and most comfortable super truck ever. It is so capable that it makes even inexperienced drivers perform like professionals.|
|What's Not So||I’m nitpicking again but I wish that the rear light assembly was LED, that we get the B&O audio option, and there are no rear passenger a/c vents.|
|C! Editors Rating||10/10|