Raptor announcement fuels turbo V6 thought

Could the Raptor edition of the country’s most popular one-tonne utility be set to run a high-performance petrol V6 from America?


POTENTIAL that a feisty version of the country’s top-selling utility, modelled on American desert racing themes, might also eschew the rig’s usual diesel engine for a high-performance petrol seems to be rising.

Ford yesterday revealed it will next year introduce a Ranger Raptor, which it acknowledges is going to have enough muscle to warrant being included alongside the only other Ford Performance family members selling new here, the Focus RS and ST.

The announcement from Ford regional headquarters in Shanghai gave no detail and the truck’s mechanical makeup though Ford did include today’s video, showing a heavily disguised truck thumping around the Australian Outback.

The brand has not provided a launch timing. There is strong conjecture the hard-core hauler will make its world debut alongside the redesigned 2018 Ranger on which it’s based at the Bangkok motor show next March.

There’s also talk that Ford will give it something the mainstream Ranger, the top-selling truck in New Zealand for three years running – and also, in 2016, the country’s best-selling vehicle – does not have: A V6 petrol engine.

The mill cited for potential introduction is a twin-turbo 3.5-litre EcoBoost petrol V6 that runs in a variety of big rigs running in North America, not least the Ranger’s American cousin, the F-150 Raptor. In that model, it makes 335kW and 691Nm.

It is thought Ranger Raptor could take this as well as, or perhaps even instead of, an upgraded version of the existing Ranger’s 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel. The petrol adoption could even lead to a change of automatic transmission. While Ranger runs with a six-speed ZF box, the F-150 now takes a 10-speed auto.

Either way, Ford claims the Ranger Raptor – which shares its name with “the world’s most extreme production truck, the F-150 Raptor” -- will deliver “a level of capability and off-road performance never before seen in the mid-size pick-up truck segment”.

Ford’s claim is that the Ranger Raptor will sport a head-turning exterior look that exudes toughness as well as a level of capability and off-road performance never seen yet in the mid-size pickup truck – or, as well call it, one-tonne utility - segment.

Ford said the Raptor is “designed and engineered to deliver an adrenaline pumping experience.

“We are very excited to bring an Asia Pacific developed pickup truck to a whole new level,” Ford Asia Pacific vice president product development Trevor Worthington said in Shanghai.

“The Raptor version will offer fans an opportunity to own an authentic off-road Ranger performance model for the first time,” says Worthington.

“Combining the Raptor’s advanced off-road capabilities with the versatility of the Ranger is a significant accomplishment for Ford’s world-class engineering and design teams,” says Ford Performance chief engineer Jamal Hameedi.

Ford cites the full Ford Performance model family at present as the F-150 Raptor, Ford GT, Ford Mustang Shelby, Focus RS and Focus ST.