Ford Ranger Raptor review: Brutal, unapologetic, serious fun

Damien O'Carroll
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Base price
CO2 level g/km
Fuel Consumption (l/100km)
Maximum power kW
Maximum torque Nm
Towing (Tonnes)
0-100 km/h
  • Ferocious performance and handling
  • Deeply impressive off road
  • It's a huge toy!
  • Ferocious thirst
  • Flaky wireless phone projection
  • Getting close to being too big

There is a very strong argument to be made for the idea that the Ford Ranger Raptor really shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Now, let me qualify that, because the Raptor is a very serious performance vehicle indeed - after all, you don’t jam a damn-near 300kW twin-turbo petrol V6 into a ute if you are not serious about performance.

No, what I mean there is that no matter how luxurious and packed with tech and equipment they get, utes are still generally regarded as tools; whether it be for work or everyday life, they are expected to serve a purpose. To be functional. To be, well, serious.

But the Raptor doesn’t hold with such notions. As a work tool it is compromised by its lesser towing and carrying capacity when compared to its less showy family alternatives (2500kg and 750kg respectively, compared to 3500kg and 1000kg), while it’s lifestyle-y/everyday usefulness is compromised by both that pulling capacity (really big boats are out) and the fact it packs a damn-near 300kW twin-turbo V6 and has the prodigious thirst for fossil fuels that come with that...

So, what exactly is the point of the Raptor then?

Well... fun. The Ford Ranger Raptor is all about fun.

While the last-gen Raptor was all about off-road fun, thanks to its amazingly awesome Fox Racing shocks, the new one sees that by using largely the same set up, but then raises the fun stakes considerably with that needlessly powerful V6 that not only ups the off-road fun quotient, but also brings a lot of on-road fun as well.

This is because with close to twice the power of the old Raptor (292kW versus 154kW), the new Raptor has been transformed into something no-one probably expected – it is the new grown-up Bogan machine.

Hear me out – while Ford and Holden battled it out for years with V8-powered sedans and utes for the lucrative financially-secure middle-aged Bogan market, the drop in popularity of mainstream large sedans and, partially as a result of this, local production (particularly of niche performance models) has seen a conspicuous gap in the market for well-off Bogans of a certain age who want a noisy car that can rip a good skid when necessary, but because they are old now also want something comfortable and that possesses some small facade of practicality so they can sell the idea to their significant other that it really is a sensible family vehicle.

And the Raptor really does tick all those boxes.

Let’s get that silly “sensible family vehicle” stuff out of the way first: the Raptor is, apart from its slightly lesser load lugging capabilities and excessive power, essentially a Ranger ute. Which, of course, means all the good things we have said about the new Ranger’s ride, handling and comfort applies to it.

In fact, the ride comfort is even better in the Raptor thanks to the Fox dampers remarkable ability to not only absorb huge hits and heavy landings off-road, but also offer a truly impressive on-road ride quality and exceptional body control. They are excitingly expensive, by the way, which is why they only hide tucked up in the Raptor’s wheel arches and not the whole Ranger line up - Jamal Hameedi, the man considered the father of the original F-150 and Ranger Raptors, told me at the launch of the first iteration that the suspension set up “cost more than an engine in a small car”...

Which is part of why you are paying close to $100k for a ute.

Another part of that is the wonderfully belligerent twin-turbo V6 that, like the shocks, has an impressive ability to be an absolute performance monster one second, and then a smooth, refined pussycat the next.

But it is also the thing that sees the Raptor effortlessly fulfilling the main part of the original Bogan brief – it is a fast, noisy ute that can rip a good skid when necessary. Plus, it can also do sweet jumps, which is not something your Falcon XR8 could do. Well, not on purpose at least.

So, yes, while the Raptor is comfortable and surprisingly refined as a daily driver, it is also a properly noisy, aggressive, fast and ferocious Bogan performance machine.

And that means it also comes with the downsides of savage performance and glorious noise; mainly the amount of petrol its slurps back.

Yes, the Raptor is ferociously thirsty – while the RightCar website lists a WLTP 3 consumption figure of 12.8L/100km, the reality is closer to 16 or so litres in urban running. This will drop with a bit of open road running, but it depends one two things: if those roads are winding back roads and if you are feeling particularly Bogan-y or not.

This is because the Raptor is ridiculously fun to punch enthusiastically along a winding road - the Fox dampers that are so remarkable off-road offer up similar levels of amusement on-road, with beautifully dialled in body control that plays brilliantly with the accurate steering.

Depending on what kind of mood you are in, leaving it in 4WD sees effortless grunt out of corners for a sharp, controlled fast approach, or dropping it into 2WD means things get somewhat more tail-happy and Bogan-y, yet stay wonderfully predictable and adjustable.

But there is a literal price to pay for this kind of wild abandon as the Raptor’s prodigious thirst comes to the fore if you really punch it along a winding road...

There will generally be two distinct reactions to a review like this: you will either be nodding and smiling, thinking that this sounds like the perfect ute and you want one right now.

Or you will be recoiling in horror at the idea of celebrating a profligate waste of resources that takes up an antisocial amount of space on our roads, while pumping excessive emissions into our precious atmosphere in times of a true climate crisis.

And, yeah, for sure we all need to start taking responsibility for the crap we pump into the atmosphere, but... damn this thing is seriously fun...

ENGINE: 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol
POWER: 292kW/583Nm
GEARBOX: 10-speed automatic, AWD
CONSUMPTION: 12.8 litres per 100km (WLTP)
PRICE: $92,990


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