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Diesel power for Ford's ultimate Ranger double-cab

Since 2010 Ford’s very loyal Ranger bakkie fans in South Africa, the U.K. and Australia has longingly pined after its F-150 Raptor.

With its custom Fox-tuned racing suspension, radical Baja 1000 race-ready styling and ability to roll over broken terrain faster than any other bakkie, the Raptor has always been forbidden fruit because it is only made in left-hand drive.

Fortunately, sense has finally prevailed in Ford’s product planning department and a Raptor-lite, is now a reality and will be available in right-hand drive. Better yet, it will be built in Ford’s Silverton production facility, just outside of the nation’s capital, Pretoria. The Ranger Raptor is everything that Ford bakkie fans hoped it would be, a true 2/3rds scale version of the American F-150.

Beyond its imposing appearance there are some very custom engineering bits that make this bakkie so special. The most important amongst those are Fox coil-over shocks, which cost about the same as most rival bakkie engines. These shocks were specially built for the Ranger Raptor and not only help it achieve a higher stance than the conventional Ranger double-cab (Raptor’s ground clearance is 42mm better, at 283mm), but also smooth the roughest terrain, at speeds that would destroy most other bakkies.

Powering the Ranger Raptor is a new 2-litre biturbo diesel engine, boosting to 157kW and delivering 500Nm, which transfer to all four wheels through a ten-speed automatic transmission. That’s correct: ten-speeds. In addition to the abundance of gears, are six electronically controlled driving modes, which adjust steering weight and throttle sensitivity to terrain.

Nothing much has changed inside; the Raptor looks much the same as any other Ranger but for a red centring guide on the steering wheel rim and gearbox shift-paddles. There’s no word on pricing yet, but it should easily become the most expensive of all Ranger derivatives when it does go on sale locally in 2019.

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