Long-term introduction: Ford Ranger Raptor SPecial Edition
PRETORIA – Welcome back old friend! No sooner had we handed in our long-term Ford Ranger FX4 when we were again back behind the wheel of its bigger, and dare I say it… better sibling in Performance Blue – the Raptor, this time in SE or Special Edition guise.
Ford brought out the Raptor SE model a few months ago and it’s proving to be a hit among buyers, thanks to a few decals and one or two additions that set it apart from the standard Raptor.
So what’s different this time around?
On the exterior it gets twin matte-black racing stripes edged with red contrast lines to the bonnet, roof, lower body sides, rear wings and tailgate. The front recovery hooks are red while the wheel arches, front and rear bumpers, door handles and Ford-embossed grille are finished in matte black.
It also gets the integrated black sports hoop found on the Ranger Wildtrak, and probably the most significant change is the lockable Mountain Top black-roller shutter seen on the limited edition, the Ranger Thunder.
It’s a lot safer than the original tonneau cover but you are restricted to the height of the shutter, whereas with the tonneau you could still stretch it if your baggage was slightly above the loadbin.
Inside, strategically placed red stitching replaces the original blue while the instrument panel in the SE is finished in Raceway Grey.
Under the bonnet it’s still the same with Ford’s 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine providing 157kW and 500Nm of torque coupled to a 10-speed automatic transmission, with wheel-mounted magnesium paddle shifters which come in handy if you’re doing hard work, heavily loaded over long distances in soft sand.
They’re also useful if you move the shifter to manual and select Baja mode, which holds back a bit on the electronic aides when you decide to push the boundaries on twisty dirt roads.
Which is really what you want to do because the combination of the chassis, large 285/70/17 General Grabber AT3 tyres and the Fox Position Sensitive Damping shock-absorbers developed especially for the Raptor, have had numerous passengers holding on for dear life on roads close to where I live, where some serious off-road racing enthusiasts also test their cars.
So when I hear the roar of powerful V8s and the odd V6, I jump behind the wheel and chase around looking for them. It’s a blast when a standard Raptor tears around behind them.
Unlike most bakkies in the segment which are fitted with rear-drum brakes, the Raptor has discs all-round with front twin-piston front callipers that are 20 percent bigger in diameter than the standard Ranger, with 332x32mm ventilated discs. The rear-discs are fitted with 332x24mm ventilated discs with enhanced 54mm diameter rear-callipers, so when you engage “hooligan mode” you’re assured of very decent stopping power, aided by ABS.
Mostly though the first month has been city and highway driving, with my son writing final exams for Grade 11.
I received a thumbs-up from the security guards at the gate every time I entered the school, and while waiting for him many conversations were had about the Raptor with interested parents, and a woman in a Ranger Wildtrak even telling me she was in the process of convincing her husband to trade their bakkie in for a Raptor.
Our consumption over the period has been a respectable 9.9l/100km unloaded, with mostly one passenger.
The plan is to drive to the South Coast on alternative roads for the December holidays with four people, their baggage and a fridge plugged into the loadbay socket which should give us a better indication of real-life consumption.
That’s if Cyril and his advisory council don’t spoil the party.
The Ford Ranger Raptor SE comes in at just under R1 million, with the price set at R965 300.
It comes with a four-year/120 000km warranty, a six-year/90 000km service plan (six services), a three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and a five-year unlimited kilometre corrosion-warranty.