Before the race-ready Ranger Raptor has even had a chance to go on sale in Australia, chief Ford Performance engineer Jamal Hameedi says that the ‘baby Raptor’ would be a perfect fit alongside the larger F-truck version in North America.
Hameedi even goes as far to say that it’s better to drive than the larger F-150 Raptor though the diesel engine wouldn’t well received in its market.
The current F-150 Raptor available in North America comes equipped with a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 336kW and 691Nm – more than double the power and 191Nm higher torque than the race-ready Ranger that makes up for its bigger size and weight.
But Hameedi says the smaller size of the Ranger Raptor wouldn’t pose an issue for the US market.
“Raptors are a slam dunk for the US,” he told TMR. “I think it [the Ranger Raptor] would do really well in the states.
“No, no way, no way, [its size would be] perfect.
“I think it’s certainly like it’s a baby Raptor, it depends what you’re looking for. There are a lot of people that just want that size in a pickup truck and they don’t want anything larger.”
It would also be a win for the Ford Australia team that put in over three years development and work on the new flagship ute which sits atop the line-up of Australia’s second best-selling vehicle in 2017.
Much of the design work was done by Ford’s Broadmeadows-based team along with engineering and development that took place at Ford’s You Yangs testing ground. It is understood Hameedi drove the Ranger in Australia during development with final testing taking place at both Alice Spring in the Northern Territory and Barrego Springs in California, where the F-150 Raptor was also put through its paces.
The Ranger chassis has been modified to adopt a coil sprung rear that increases travel height and improves stability but limits towing capacity to 2500kg. Hameedi says the newfound ability of the Ranger Raptor to tackle rough roads and Baja-like desert jumps at pace would appeal to Ford’s home market, though the new 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine would likely be shelved for a petrol motor.
“It’s the suspension, it is so incredible [with] the Watt’s link. It really is the best handling pick-up truck I’ve driven and not by an insignificant margin. The watt’s link and everything, I think it would go pretty well in America,” he said.
“I think most American off-roaders would actually prefer a petrol gas engine, but a diesel is the absolute way to go for the rest of the world.”
Introducing the smaller Raptor to the States shouldn’t be a challenge with the Ranger line-up already available there, but it could be sometime until it joins the stable.
“We haven’t said anything about availability in the US, our first priority is to get a Raptor available to everyone on the planet earth. So Americans already have an F-150 Raptor, we’ve got to spread Raptors to the rest of the planet.”
The Ranger Raptor will launch in Australia later this year.
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