Driving the Ranger Raptor can give you a sore throat. Pull up, climb down and most
likely someone will be standing there wanting you to fill them in on the workings of
Ford’s super ute.
There again, probably it was the sunset Sedona Orange duco of the test vehicle that
had caught his or her eye. Generally, a long list of questions had to be answered
before parting company with the onlooker of envious eye. Hence the driver’s dry
The last time this happened was years ago when a bunch of bikies bailed me up
demanding info on the Mercedes-Benz SL 500 I was trying out.
The 2023 dual cab Raptor lives up to its wild-world moniker representing the bird of
prey in all its elusive power and engaging street presence, the latter emphasised by
contrasting black wheels and signature grille, plus ‘RAPTOR’ decals on its flanks.
The Ranger Raptor has been around for a while, four years to be exact, and like its
predecessor, the latest generation, developed by the Australian design and
engineering team with Ford Performance DNA, relies on Ford’s F-Series trucks for
its pedigree. However, the newbie, with its own looks and more power, is streets
ahead of the ‘old bird’.
However, so is the price – $85,490, plus on-road costs, as opposed to $74,900, plus
on-roads. To my mind, the MY23 Ranger Raptor carries off the extra ‘load’ well.
Opposition includes Nissan’s Pro4-X Warrior and Toyota HiLux Rogue.
The Ranger Raptor is surprisingly restrained in exterior looks – flashy chrome is
conspicuous by its absence – relying on dark F-O-R-D block letter radiator grille, grey
wheel arch extensions and functional fender vents, and black powder coated die-
cast aluminium side steps.
Matrix LED headlamps are accompanied by LED daytime running lights and front fog
lamps. LED tail lamps can be found out the back with a rear bumper with integrated
step pad and towbar.
Tow hooks front and back share company with front bash plate made from 2.3 mm-
thick steel, while an optional factory fitted power roller shutter seals the lined tub
from the weather.
The Raptor comes standard with 17-inch alloy T285 / 70 R17 BF Goodrich K02 high
performance all-terrain tyres. A full-size spare is slung under the vehicle.
Ford Performance seats embossed with Raptor signature logo, suede inserts and
orange highlights and stitching. Up front they are firm yet comfortable and supportive
during spirited cornering. The rear bench is wide enough to take three adults.
The sports steering wheel has room for a selection of controls including selective
drive modes and paddle gear shifters. Storage is made up of a deep centre console
bin and phone charge pad.
Triple stack of glove compartments is designed to take stuff of multiple size and
shape. Doors incorporate bottle storage and cup holders pop out from the outer
A centre mounted tablet-style 12-inch touchscreen with a Ford SYNC 4A system
and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
There’s a 12.4-inch configurable digital instrument cluster directly in front of the
driver, while the Bang and Olufsen audio has its quirks operating the on-screen
controls. The sound could be sharper too.
Half a dozen factory-fitted ready-wired auxiliary switches are handily sited in the roof,
while the door release is not so, being a horizontal lever hidden inside the door pull.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
If there was one thing wanting on the previous Raptor it was its shortcomings in the
power department. The 2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine was not up to it. The
MY23 model tells a different story.
Made from the same high-performance material Ford uses in its NASCAR racing
engines, the 3-litre twin-turbo-charged petrol V6 unit is a different beast with up to
292 kW of power, plus 583 Nm of torque on tap, 85 per cent more power and 16.6
per cent more torque.
The prodigious power is put to ground by a ten-speed automatic transmission and
front and rear differentials, giving the truck 2500 kg braked trailer towing capacity.
The Ranger’s five-star ANCAP score cannot be extended to the Raptor because of
differences in such things as engine size and ride height. However, the list of safety
features includes autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-
and-go, traffic sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert,
lane-departure warning and lane-keep assistance, automatic headlights and high-
beam, 360-degree camera, front and rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring,
and intelligent speed limit assistance.
For a start (literally) there was a surprising amount of turbo lag: unusual with the
advanced turbo tech of today. However, late in the test I discovered the racy Baja
anti-lag system that, at the touch of a button, enables rapid delivery of boost on
demand. Thus engaged, the ute fairly flew off the mark accompanied by a unique
and full-on exhaust note.
Ford claimed an optimistic fuel consumption of 11.5 litres per 100 kilometres on the
combined urban / highway cycle with 98 RON premium unleaded, the test vehicle
could do no better than 13.5 litres per 100 kilometres in a range of driving conditions.
The driver has access to a plethora of selectable drive, steering, damper and
exhaust modes, all of which can be lumped into one at the touch of a single button.
Trail Control comes in handy off road, helping to maintain constant speeds up or
down varying terrain, while unique 17-inch optional beadlock-capable wheels are
designed to minimise damage from rocks while off-road driving.
Brakes, ventilated discs front and rear, are boosted electronically, while Ford
Performance developed Fox 2.5-inch Live Valve internal bypass shock absorbers
and electronically controlled front and rear locking differentials do their part to make
off-roading safe and comfortable for occupants.
Raptor’s sheer bulk and large turning circle regularly called on the efficiency of its
360-degree camera with its dynamic guidelines to avoid costly scrapes.
Maximum water wading depth recommended is 850 mm while maintaining steady
speed of 7 km/h or less.
Despite the odd stumble, when all the talking ceased, the Ford Ranger Raptor
showed itself to be worthy of its elevated position in the species. Streets ahead of
the Raptor it replaces.
AT A GLANCE
Ford Ranger Raptor from $85,490
Note: This price does not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact
your local Ford dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Ford Ranger Raptor 3.0L twin-turbo V6 petrol, 10sp automatic,
Capacity: 2.755 litres
Configuration: Six cylinders in ‘V’
Maximum Power: 292 kW @ 5650 rpm
Maximum Torque: 583 Nm @ 3500 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 95 RON recommended
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 11.5 L/100km
DRIVELINE: Ten-speed torque converter automatic, low range transfer case
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5381 mm
Wheelbase: 3270 mm
Width: 2028 mm
Height: 1922 mm
Turning Circle: 13.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 2475 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres