If you’ve seen any of the video reveals of the Ranger Raptor for the European release, it’s like watching an adventure thriller with the truck as the star of the show. Movie-style stunts take place, with the Raptor making jumps off still-airborne planes, racing dirt bikes in multi-tier mines, and dashing beneath dangerous equipment with barely enough room to get past. It’s bonkers to imagine driving a truck that will cost upwards of $50,000 like it’s stolen, but Ford is obviously trying to get across the message that the Ranger Raptor is meant to handle brutal punishment. If only interested buyers could head to a new Ford dealership where a driving course was set up to test the Raptor in its natural environment, but alas, we have to settle for mild runs on the highways and city streets.
Either way, the recent Ranger Raptor’s reveal is certainly disrupting the world of midsize trucks, especially considering the international model pulling off those cinematic stunts is supposed to be the milder version of the US model. Imagining the types of off-road maneuvers the 2023 Ranger Raptor will be able to pull off is almost mind-boggling, and its release isn’t too far in the future. Specifics are still being trickled out gradually, with engine specs and finalized equipment lists still being held back for the moment, but enough information has been shared to get enthusiasts drooling. From the fresh styling to the factory fittings, the 2023 Ranger Raptor is expected to deliver a stunning capability to rival any truck manufacturer in competition with the Blue Oval.
EcoBoost Gets Exciting
Ford has been developing its EcoBoost engines for decades, consistently tweaking aspects of bore and stroke, fuel efficiency, and engine block materials to stretch the engine’s capability. The 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost placed under the hood of the 2023 Ranger Raptor was introduced in 2016 and has already been utilized to power several other vehicles, from the F-150 to the Lincoln Continental. The Australian-market version of the 2023 Ranger Raptor produces an impressive 392 hp with 430 lb-ft of torque, which is already more powerful than the 284 hp European model seen in the reveal videos. How much horsepower and torque we can expect for the US version of the Ranger is yet to be reported, but it’s likely to be at least equal to the Australian variant and may produce the 400+ hp of the Bronco Raptor.
In addition to the powerplant, the ten-speed transmission works in tandem with drive modes that have been tuned for improved performance. Because of an anti-lag system designed for Baja mode, the Ranger Raptor loses less boost when the driver releases the accelerator, a factor which can mean coming out of maneuvers with the turbos already spooled up and roaring to go. The transmission is specifically tuned for the EcoBoost engine in conjunction with the exhaust system to further improve performance in each of the selectable drive modes. Again, it’s difficult to say exactly how the engine will behave until test-driving can reveal the nature of the 2023 Ranger Raptor’s performance in real conditions, but the same engine and transmission are already fitted to the Bronco Raptor, including some of the same features, which is telling of attributes for the Ranger Raptor’s capability.
Ford has made the messaging clear enough when it comes to the Raptor line of vehicles, particularly in terms of off-road prowess. Most enthusiasts expect to purchase a vehicle they plan to take off-road and then add after-market parts to upgrade the vehicle’s capability to match the performance they need. It would seem that Ford wants to provide buyers with an off-road lineup that’s ready for trails and rough terrain—and even off-road racing—with all of the new Bronco Raptor and Ranger Raptor options coming out for 2022. Standard four-wheel drive, front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch all-terrain tires, and off-road-tuned suspension complete with Fox shocks are all expected to be included in the equipment list for the 2023 Ranger Raptor, much like its new Bronco brethren.
Beneath the 2023 Ranger Raptor is an assemblage of parts that are becoming far more common for off-road vehicles from the factory, but Ford doesn’t go quite as far with the midsize truck as it has with the recent Bronco Raptor equipment. For instance, the undercarriage protection for the Ranger Raptor includes a steel front bash plate, a transfer-case shield, and a skid plate for the engine. For those who expect to race across a desert at speed, extra shielding would likely need to be added. The Bronco Raptor has a full underbody shield to protect all the underpinnings, and with the cinematic explosion of stunts seen in the Ranger Raptor reveal video, one would expect to see the same type of coverage for the midsize truck. It would be nice to see rock rails added to the Ranger Raptor as well, but we’ll have to wait for more details on that score.
Looking at the exterior of the new European Ranger Raptor, it certainly has a wider stance than the rest of the Ranger lineup, which will lend itself to better stability during maneuvers. Styling on the exterior takes a bolder approach to give it an edgier look, with enlarged fender flares, beadlock-capable 17-inch wheels, functional hood vents, and a blocky grille that makes for a serious front-end appearance. Ford incorporated a few new elements into the design, with a built-in rear step on the back bumper and a towbar placed high under the step to allow for a higher departure angle. All in all, Ford considered a number of factors to make the Ranger Raptor ready to hit the trail right off the factory line, but it will certainly be exciting for buyers to test it in the wild when it finally hits the American market.
Cockpit Inspired Interior
Jet pilots should feel right at home in the driver’s seat of the 2023 Ranger Raptor, with the sport seats taken from the design book of jet fighters. A mostly black interior is spiced with Code Orange accents in the embroidered branding on the seatbacks, outlines of the climate control vents, on the steering wheel, and in other various interior touches. The digital instrument gauges will provide performance data the driver should be able to customize, and large screens for the driver display and infotainment will dominate the dash. Ford’s user-friendly Sync 4A system is set to be standard for the Ranger Raptor, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto among its numerous attributes. No doubt, the audio system will come with premium sound quality from Bang & Olufsen to accompany the excursions into backcountry or desert racing scenes.
Availability for the US
When the 2023 Ranger Raptor explodes out of the running gates in the United States, it’s expected to be offered only as a Crew Cab body style with a five-foot bed. Estimations of pricing are running toward the $52,500 mark, according to some sources, though that is yet to be confirmed by Ford. What is known for sure at this point is that the 2023 Ranger Raptor will be the most powerful version of the midsize Ford truck available. In addition to the fresh styling and performance-oriented equipment, the 2023 Ranger Raptor will also include an array of off-road technology like Trail Control and built-in navigation. The European Ranger Raptor is currently expected to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2022, while the American version won’t arrive until sometime in 2023.