2020 Ford Raptor is built for performance

The Raptor is equiped with  much better suspension damping that leads to better steering control.  PHOTOs/David Mukooza

What you need to know:

The Raptor is as safe as can be, being one of only a handful of utility vehicles to score five stars at the Euro NCAP crash testing

In October 2020 at the Busiika Motor Racetrack, the Cooper Motor Corporation (CMC) officially unveiled the all-new Ford Ranger Raptor in Uganda.

From his driving experience, Arthur Blick Junior said the Raptor creates an entirely new breed of exceptionally capable off-road vehicles that pushes the limits in technology, innovation and driving excitement.

On the exterior, the Raptor appears aggressive and bulky with exceptional styling cues. Its wider than standard sheet metal, big wheel arches and huge broad tyres give it a commanding look while the grille and bumper elements (front and rear) set it apart from the rest of the Ranger line-up.

The drive

According to Ronald Lubega, a mechanic, who has had the chance to drive the Raptor, the car has an incredibly compliant drive and NVH levels which refers to its ability to contain noise and vibration from the outside. It is comfortable to drive, although due to its size, parking it can be difficult.

“The specially designed Fox suspension leads to superior driving experience. There is much better suspension damping (process of controlling or stopping the spring’s oscillation) that leads to better steering control as well as feedback from the steering wheel,” Lubega says.

Performance

According to CMC, the Raptor is powered by a 2.0 Bi-Turbo diesel engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission delivering 210hp of power and 500Nm of torque. Lubega says he felt that it was rather underpowered in the first three gears, lacking the urgency that you get from other double cabins. He attributes this to the wheel and tyre combo messing with the Raptor’s gears.

“This leads me to believe that the Raptor is definitely biased towards off-road activities where those first few gears do not need to deliver speed,” he says.

Space and comfort

The Raptor’s interior is luxurious and comfortable. There is plenty of leg and headroom and enough space for all passengers. The seats are a heated suede-leather combination with the basic Raptor embroidery and are adjustable in multiple directions to attain the perfect driving position.

The fact that Ford has packed the Raptor with tech does not hurt either. It has a SYNC 3.3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto readiness, ambient lighting, auto high beam, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, push-button start and enough charging sockets and USB outs to power a number of mobile devices.

Safety

Along with all that tech, the Raptor is also brimming with safety systems. According to www.ford.com, the interior is fitted with seven airbags and a tyre pressure monitoring system while behind the scenes you have lane departure warning, pre-collision alert, lane keeping assist, reverse camera with (PDC) Park distance control and park assist. It also has heads up display and all the standard systems such as electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and anti-lock braking system (ABS).

The Ranger is as safe as can be, being one of only a small handful of utility vehicles to score five stars in the Euro NCAP crash testing.

Price

All of this comes at a cost though and it is not exactly cheap. The new Ford Ranger Raptor is available at $80,000 (about Shs300 million).

Downside

The Raptor has only one powertrain and in line with the engine, buyers will be stuck with the 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo Diesel and 10-speed automatic gearbox; meaning there is no manual gearbox, no 4x2 unit, and no other engine to choose from. The lack of options puts the Raptor at a disadvantage.

It also has sportiness over versatility and as mentioned, its hauling numbers are average for a pick-up truck (800kg payload, 2500kg towing), especially when compared to Ford’s very own Ranger Wildtrak (1,120kg payload, 3,000-3,500kg towing).

Also, the rear cabin may not be roomy enough, especially for adults during long rides.

Verdict

There is no question the 2020 Ford Ranger Raptor has a lot to offer, So, despite its shortcomings, the pick-up nameplate has some immensely attractive selling points.

Drivers who want a rugged all-wheel performer will truly enjoy its off-road prowess. Simply put, the Raptor serves up a fine mix of power, performance, and comfort on and off the road.

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