Overseas, the Ford Ranger Raptor was sold for a while as a slightly improved version of the regular Ranger, but with a miserable 4-cylinder engine that needed more than 10 seconds to go from 0 to 60 and virtually no off-road ability, the Raptor badge was more of a gimmick than something else. However, along with the completely redesigned Ranger, Ford also introduced the all-new Ranger Raptor, and it’s much better than before.
This time around, the 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor boasts plenty of power and an array of off-road equipment, essentially making it the little brother of the upcoming 700+ hp Ford F-150 Raptor. In fact, it borrowed a few bones from the highly competent Bronco Raptor, which should be enough to prove that it really means business.
Unlike the previous Ranger Raptor, Ford has officially confirmed that the all-new model will arrive in the US in 2023. With an expected starting price of around $50,000, it will compete with the likes of the Chevy Colorado ZR2, GMC Canyon AT4X, and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. Here’s why the 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor is worth the wait.
The 2023 Ranger Raptor has plenty of power
The Ford Ranger Raptor will be powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6, which is the exact same engine found in the Ford Bronco Raptor. While the Raptorized Ranger—or the regular one, for that matter—has yet to hit US dealerships, the pickup is already available in Europe. However, due to emissions regulations, the European Ranger Raptor is limited to just 288 horsepower, which is still good, but not great. Fortunately, American buyers will be happy to hear that the 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor will make 392 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. Ford hasn’t released any official 0-60 mph times at this point, but test drives show it’s capable of sub-6 seconds, which should be more than enough for most. The twin-turbo V6 is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, and each gear has its own individual turbo boost profile that maximizes torque at any given point.
The 2023 Ranger Raptor draws a lot of inspiration from competitive truck racing in the Baja desert, so it’s designed to deliver similar capabilities of its own. With this in mind, Ford has graced the Ranger Raptor with a new anti-lag system that only works in Baja mode. The system is able to keep the engine’s turbochargers spinning for three seconds after the throttle is off, allowing boost to be instantly restored after any throttle tap. In addition, the Ranger Raptor will also allow drivers to choose from 4 different exhaust notes that range from extremely quiet to downright loud.
When it comes to towing and payload capacity, Ford has once again kept the numbers to themselves for now. The regular 2023 Ford Ranger will probably be able to tow a maximum of around 7,700 pounds and will also be able to carry a payload of up to 1,500 pounds. We expect the Ford Ranger Raptor to underperform in both departments thanks to its off-road-tuned suspension that prioritizes performance over utility.
The 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor is a real SUV
In addition to a healthy powerplant, the all-new Ford Ranger Raptor has also received a lot of off-road equipment that makes it ready to conquer any terrain. It’s still based on the Regular Ranger, but boasts permanent four-wheel drive with locking differentials on both axles and an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case, as well as a taller rack for increased ground clearance. The Raptor also features lightweight aluminum control arms with long-travel suspension and 2.5-inch Fox shocks that can readjust in real-time for optimal settings at all times. To help the Ranger Raptor handle the increased off-road stress, Ford strengthened its C-pillar, bump bumper, shock mount and rear shock mount.
The performance pickup offers seven different driving modes, each of which prepares it for different types of off-road, as well as an extreme Baja mode that maximizes the Ranger Raptor’s capabilities for trail running or dune jumping.
An updated design and interior complete the 2023 Ranger Raptor
Ford also gave the regular Ranger a facelift, making the Raptor look like its badass sibling. Up front, it features the typical Raptor-style “FORD” grille, wrap-around LED headlights, and a high-quality skid plate. From the side, it displays flared plastic-coated fenders, all-terrain tires, side steps with aluminum protection, and fancy air vents behind the front fenders. Finally, the rear of the Ranger Raptor features LED taillights, dual exhaust pipes and a rugged bumper.
Inside, the Ranger provides plenty of passenger space thanks to its four-door crew cab configuration, along with several Raptor-exclusive trim designs. Upholstery comes in leather and micro-suede, though expect to find hard plastics and rubber in less visible parts of the cabin. Standard equipment includes new jet fighter sports seats with heating and adjustment features, orange trim, a 12-inch central touchscreen along with a 12.4-inch digital driver display, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
All in all, the 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor is sure to hit the ground running as soon as it hits US soil, and we fully expect it to be one of the most competitive trucks on the market.