Cars > Driven

Ford Ranger Raptor: The apex predator

High, wide and handsome with the performance to back it up

Don't you think this looks like a modified truck out of the box? PHOTO BY SIMONN ANG

Since the Ford Ranger Raptor was launched in 2018, other manufacturers have also released range-topping variants of their pickups such as the Nissan Navara Pro-4X, the Toyota Hilux GR-S, and the Mitsubishi Strada Athlete.

These are, of course, an attempt at taking a slice out of the Raptor’s pie. But with the current (and outgoing) Raptor being almost half a decade old at this point, it is worth finding out how it fares against its competitors today. Is it still worth its P2,048,000 price tag?

If you have been in an Everest or a Ranger before, then a lot of this interior is familiar. There are some thoughtful changes to it, though. PHOTO BY SIMONN ANG

Inside, it is mostly identical to the standard Rangers, but there are a few significant changes that distinguish the Raptor as a sporty truck.

The chunky steering wheel feels great in the hand, although the red center marker is a little over-the-top for my taste. It redeems itself, though, with beautifully long metal paddles that have the perfect amount of travel and feedback. Huge props to Ford for not making it click like a video game. The instrument cluster is a more traditional layout with a mechanical tachometer and speedometer flanking both sides of the TFT screen instead of the other way around on the non-Raptor Rangers.

For me, however, the highlight is the pair of front seats. They are bolstered quite aggressively, yet do not sacrifice comfort for one bit. The driver seat is eight-way power-adjustable with lumbar support. And while the passenger seat may get mechanical controls, it also has height and lumbar support adjustments that are not something you see every day outside of European luxury models.

Apart from that, this is still a very practical interior. It has Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, good legroom for the rear passengers, and tons of storage behind and under the rear seats.

Bone-stock, the Raptor stands an inch taller than the Wildtrak. PHOTO BY SIMONN ANG

Looking out through the windshield from the driver’s seat, the Ranger Raptor feels much wider than its flared fenders and wheel arches let on. For some reason, this drives larger than it looks. At 2,028mm, it is only 168mm wider than the standard Rangers (which works out to an additional three inches per side, give or take). But the difference seems much more substantial behind the wheel. Throughout my time with it, it was very awkward to maneuver on narrow two-lane streets, and always felt as if it didn’t fit between the broken lines.

I have to concede, however, that the broad stance gives this a literal truck-load of road presence. The Raptor is tall, wide and devilishly handsome, especially in this Performance Blue paint job. The extended fenders create a muscular look with the way they bulge from the headlights and the taillights, and the flares on the wheel arches are elegantly executed as well. Ford could have easily overdone it with a wrinkle finish and faux Allen bolts, but instead, it opted for an understated solution.

It also comes out of the box with standard 33-inch tires (285/70) shod around 17-inch alloy wheels, a steel step board, a bed-liner with tie-down points, and performance suspension.

The tailgate is extremely light. Easily operable with one hand. PHOTO BY SIMONN ANG

The internal bypass dampers supplied by Fox on both the front and rear axles are truly remarkable pieces of kit. These are very sturdy, chunky monotube struts that can hold almost double the oil volume of a normal shock, and are made of aluminum to keep the fluid cool during high-performance driving. Without sounding like too much of a nerd, the genius of these shocks is that they have bypass and bleed holes on the cylinder wall to either relieve or increase hydraulic pressure at certain stages of compression and rebound.

When going through small bumps, the wheels are allowed to oscillate and soak up bumps freely as the bypass holes are fully open. Over larger imperfections, the bypass orifices are closed off by the pistons as they come up to increase the damper’s resistance and keep the car from bottoming out. On rebound, the bleeders restrict the flow of fluid back into the cylinder to keep the car from bouncing back harshly.

Though the system was designed for use on fast dirt tracks, it works incredibly well on road, too. It’s comfortable and pliable on pavement, and the rebound is almost trippy when first experienced. It’s so controlled as it bounces back up that it beggars belief—almost as if time slows down as it bounces up and down. I was utterly mind-blown. They are also tunable, by the way.

As impressive as the dampers are, there is an equally dismaying flipside. The 10-speed automatic transmission fitted to this truck is just so odd and jerky. I can’t for the life of me understand why it has to hold first gear for so long when it has 10 gears. It hates crawling in traffic as well as sudden bursts of acceleration, and acts out with an unreasonable amount of shift shock.

Switching over to manual mode and using the paddles only make it worse. Not to mention the horror stories of these gearboxes failing catastrophically and the long wait times to repair them. There is also quite a bit of tire roar coming from the Goodyear Wrangler tires on this demo, but the Blue Oval brand has since moved on to fit BFGoodrich all-terrain tires on the Raptors on sale today.

This is a performance model, indeed. PHOTO BY SIMONN ANG

The 2.0-liter biturbo engine packs way more punch than the 3.2-liter powerplants the Ranger and the Everest first came out with. However, it retains the heavy feeling you get from these Ford diesels.

Don’t get me wrong: They’re not lazy, slow or underpowered; they just have a heavy sort of demeanor to them. I find that sport mode greatly negates this, making it the mode I spent most of my time in. It also has five other modes: normal, Baja, rock, grass/gravel/snow, and mud/sand. They all noticeably alter the power delivery and the response of the vehicle to suit the terrain. All drivetrain controls are, of course, electronic. As for the fuel consumption, it gets 6.5km/L in the city, which goes up to 10km/L in mixed usage.

Even with how old it may be, the Raptor still is in a class of its own. PHOTO BY SIMONN ANG

Our family has a 2016 Everest Titanium+ 4×4, and that vehicle was initially my main frame of reference for this review. I expected this pickup to be very similar to its SUV counterpart, and in many aspects, it is. The headlights, the dashboard, as well as the clicks and the thuds the truck makes while in use, are all very familiar to me.

But my time with the truck has made it clear that it is vastly different from the Everest and the standard Rangers in more ways than one. It may be bunched in with the rest of the pickups on offer today, but it is, in reality, in a class of its own. Because it takes much more substance than a set of blacked-out wheels, fender flares, and large decals of a butch name stuck onto the tailgate to match it. As far as true performance pickups go, the Ranger Raptor remains to be the only name in the game.


Engine2.0-liter four-cylinder biturbo diesel
Transmission10-speed automatic
Power210hp @ 3,750rpm
Torque500Nm @ 1,750-2,000rpm
Dimensions5,398mm x 2,028mm x 1,873mm
Drive layout4WD
UpsideIt comes out of the box loaded with all the 4x4 goodies one would normally have to get from the aftermarket. The Fox racing suspension is a cut above the rest.
DownsideThe transmission is the weakest link in this package, both figuratively and literally.

Simonn Ang

Simonn is just a regular guy who happens to love cars and motorcycles. He also loves writing about them, too.