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An orange 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor is shown on a runway next to a airplane.

The Upcoming Ford Ranger Raptor: What to Expect

Ford’s midsize pickup, the Ranger, returned to the American market in 2019, and it’s been delivering refined powertrains and great stats ever since, winning over fans looking for a truck that’s efficient and easy to maneuver in tight spaces. The 2023 Ford Ranger is launching a new generation of the truck with a total redesign. Not all of the details are out yet, but we do know some of what’s coming. For one thing, the front end of the exterior will have a bolder look that makes the Ranger look more like its big brother, the F-150.

Even more exciting, especially for adventurous drivers, is the fact that the Ranger will be getting its own Raptor trim. Off-road enthusiasts should be familiar with the F-150 Raptor, Ford’s extra-wide, extra-tough trim that can take on anything from racing through the open desert to crawling over boulders in the mountains. But that extra width on a full-size pickup body can be a hindrance rather than a help if you like to frequent smaller trails with twists and turns that require careful maneuvering. Not only does the name Ranger Raptor flow right off the tongue, but it’s also going to be a more compact option for outdoor explorers looking for a rough and ready pickup.

The 2022 Ranger does already have a Tremor package, which adds bigger wheels, a lifted Fox suspension, skid plates, and recovery hooks. But while the Tremor can easily tackle dirt roads, snow, and basic off-roading, it doesn’t have all of the power and capability that hard-core off-roaders are looking for. If you’re searching for the kind of power and prestige that only a true “Raptor” can bring to the table, then it’s time to check out the upcoming Ranger Raptor model.

Exterior Features

Like the F-150 Raptor, the Ranger Raptor will be immediately recognizable from its distinct exterior. Look for a tougher appearance, featuring extra ground clearance, flared fenders, and a unique grille design that has the word Ford incorporated into it in big, bold capital letters. It will also be sporting rugged tires that can handle all kinds of terrain, from loose sand to muddy or rocky trails. Not everything will be totally different, though. It will use the same frame as the regular Ranger and will be offered with a crew cab and a five-foot cargo box.

Under the Hood

The Ranger Raptor is likely to feature a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine that will provide the truck with 392 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. This is basically in line with the powertrain in the Ford Bronco Raptor. While those stats certainly aren’t as mind-blowing as the ones for the F-150 Raptor’s engine, keep in mind that this is a smaller and more lightweight truck that doesn’t need as much power to get it going and that this is subject to change before all of the details for the U.S. version of the Ranger Raptor are finalized.

Off-Road Equipment

It wouldn’t be a Raptor if it wasn’t loaded up with plenty of off-road-specific equipment. You should expect a sturdy long-travel suspension optimized to deliver control on uneven surfaces, even at high speeds. Shocks will handle off-road conditions and keep passengers comfortable even when things get bumpy.

A close up shows the black rim on a blue 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor.

Europe Already Has a Ranger Raptor

In Europe, a Ranger Raptor has been available to off-road enthusiasts since the 2018 model year. Since it’s more established in that market, Ford has already released several details regarding the next generation of the Ranger Raptor coming to Europe for the 2023 model year. We can’t promise that all of these stats and features will apply to the U.S. version, but they can give us an idea of what’s coming our way. So with that caveat in mind, let’s take a deep dive into the features that have been announced for the 2023 Ranger Raptor in the European market.

Engine Sound Modes

The loud roar of a powerful engine can make tearing across an open stretch of wilderness way more thrilling and exciting, but that same roar that’s a hoot in the middle of nowhere is an annoyance once you get it back home, especially if you have neighbors who like to complain. Ford seems to have figured out how to let drivers have their noisy cake and eat it too, with an electronically-controlled active exhaust system that amplifies the engine noise using four selectable modes.

Quiet Mode prioritizes keeping the volume down over all else, even performance, for situations like early mornings or late nights when you don’t want to wake anyone up. Normal Mode gives you the power you need without getting too loud for driving down a residential street. Sport Mode turns things up a notch for a more dynamic experience. Baja cranks things up to eleven, letting you unleash the mighty roar of the Raptor’s powerful engine.

Selectable Drive Modes

The Ranger Raptor is designed to conquer the trails, but you’ve probably got to drive on some freeways in order to get there. Off-road trails can vary from rocky mountains to sandy deserts, with each climate requiring its own unique approach. That’s where selectable drive modes come into play. They let the driver change the truck’s settings at the turn of a dial, adjusting elements ranging from engine and transmission to traction and stability controls, steering and throttle response, and ABS sensitivity and calibration in order to get them just right for the situation at hand. The various modes also change the information displayed on the touchscreen and driver information center as well as the color themes so that the most important information is prioritized and it’s easy to tell at a glance which mode you’re in.

  • Normal Mode: Prioritizes fuel efficiency and provides a comfortable ride on paved roads
  • Sport Mode: Heightens responsiveness for a more spirited feel
  • Slippery Mode: Lets you drive with confidence on wet roads or uneven surfaces
  • Rock Crawl Mode: Provides you with maximum control at very low speeds, allowing you to safely traverse extremely rocky or uneven terrain
  • Sand Mode: Optimizes power delivery and gear changes for driving on loose sand or deep snow
  • Mud/Rut Mode: Provides maximum grip as you accelerate and works to maintain vehicle momentum, even in deep mud
  • Baja Mode: Turns all systems up to eleven for peak high-speed performance

Trail Control

Cruise control can come in handy on the highway, but generally, it’s only intended for use at higher speeds. Most vehicles with cruise control won’t let you set a speed that’s lower than a set number (usually around 20 or 25 mph), but if you’re on a trail and want to focus on steering without worrying about acceleration, then you don’t want to be flying through the woods at 30 mph. Trail Control is specifically designed for off-roading, allowing the driver to set a speed below 20 MPG and let the system take care of acceleration and braking so that the driver can concentrate on tricky twists and turns.

A grey 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor is shown driving over a log bridge in the woods.

And Now We Wait

If you’re itching to hit the trails in one of these midsize bad boys, then waiting for more information to come out can feel like a real nightmare. However, with so many fun and useful features expected to be packed into this truck, we’re sure that it’s going to be well worth the wait. So just keep an ear to the ground and be ready for Ford to announce more details soon. We can’t wait to see exactly what the American Ranger Raptor is going to bring to the trails.

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