The 2022 Ford Ranger, despite lower sales compared to the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado, is still one of the best in the midsize segment. But what really excites enthusiasts are the performance off-road versions. Sure, the TRD Pro and ZR2 Bison were favorites, but honestly, it’s the long-awaited Ranger Raptor that’s going to shake up the segment.
While the 2022 Ford F-150 has its fair share of Raptor models, from the 450-horsepower “regular” to the 5.2-liter Supercharged Raptor R, it’s the smaller 2023 Ranger Raptor that piques our interest. In fact, we think this off-road-ready Ranger has so much potential that it’s worth waiting for it to arrive here.
Although the next-generation Ranger Raptor is available in foreign markets, this model has yet to make it to US shores. The new Ford Ranger Raptor is expected to go on sale in the United States next year. However, due to global supply chain issues, the US launch of the Ranger Raptor is expected to be pushed back to 2023 rather than late 2022, and that the new Ford is likely to be a 2024 model.
On the plus side, we have all the information on what the new top-spec Ranger is capable of. Ford equipped the new 2023 Ranger Raptor with a few custom touches and plenty of off-road equipment. Suffice to say, the Raptor midsize truck has the potential to navigate any terrain without breaking a sweat.
The new Ranger Raptor gets a Rowdy V6 with two turbochargers
The racing Raptor is equipped with competition-level off-road technology and equipment. Since the market prefers spicy engines, Ford added a little more flavor to the boring Ranger. The Raptor model gets the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 offered in various Ford and Lincoln models.
However, Ford Performance has tuned the powerplant to deliver 392 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque in the new Ranger Raptor sold overseas. US models may have slightly different results. As for the transmission, the midsize truck gets a 10-speed automatic transmission with front and rear locking differentials. Obviously, it is equipped with an all-wheel drive system with multiple drive modes.
Of the seven rider-selectable modes, the uniquely tuned Baja mode activates anti-lag turbo calibration to maximize performance during high-speed desert runs. The other available settings are pretty simple. This helps make the Ranger Raptor more versatile in challenging scenarios. In addition to its high-speed desert and rock-crawling capabilities, this Ranger is also capable of towing 5,500 pounds, less than its non-Raptor siblings, thanks to its premium suspension and chassis geometry.
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Individual exterior details make the Ranger Raptor purposeful
Ford added a lot of custom design elements to the Ranger Raptor. You get a unique grille design with multi-layered ridges that give the front panel a dominant appeal. A similar design can be seen on Ford’s larger F-150 Raptor, making the design consistent across the lineup. With fender flares, off-road tires and suspension, the Ranger Raptor is now taller and wider than the standard Ranger. The contoured design of the front bumper enhances the overall presence by exposing part of the massive front tires. The Ranger Raptor gets 33-inch BFGoodrich KO2 off-road tires wrapped around upgraded 17-inch wheels with optional Beadlock rims.
In addition to this, Ford Performance partnered with FOX to develop a competition-grade off-road suspension for the Ranger Raptor. The arsenal consists of semi-active shocks and integrated FOX live valve controllers on all four shocks. Suspension height sensors and other sensors at each corner independently monitor terrain conditions hundreds of times every second and adjust suspension settings accordingly.
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A powerful interior enhances the colorfulness of the Ranger Raptor
Aside from the obvious lettering, which includes a splash of Raptor badges inside, we can see leather and suede upholstery adorning the heavily bolstered front seats. The 2023 Ranger Raptor comes standard with a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wireless connectivity.
The Ranger Raptor has a familiar dashboard design with an all-digital control unit like the Bronco Raptor. It allows drivers to choose from different viewing modes and will likely have Performance View when sold in the US. Performance View focuses on the tachometer and gear readings for a more immersive driving experience. In addition, the overseas version has aluminum paddle shifters and a 12 o’clock mark on the steering wheel, which adds to the sporty look. However, the 2023 Ranger Raptor will only be offered in one configuration — a crew cab with a five-foot cargo bed.
In summary, the 2023 Ranger Raptor has enough power to get you through the toughest terrain without much drama. We expect Ford to price the upcoming Raptor around $55,000, which is about the same as the converted Australian version. As far as performance 4×4 trucks go, the 2023 Ranger Raptor has all the makings to be the best in the midsize segment.
Sources: Ford Australia