Raptor flies high with $85k sticker

Kiwis will pay top dollar for the new Ranger flagship – but will we care?

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FIFTEEN thousand dollars above the current flagship Ranger, just $1000 below the tag attached the highest performance V6 ute available and $5000 more than the Australian market buy-in.

That’s how the price tag Ford New Zealand has attached to the performance-minded Raptor version of the country’s strongest-selling one-tonne ute breaks down.

The determination to attach a $84,990 sticker to the four-cylinder two litre twin turbodiesel edition, which with 157kW and 500Nm has only slightly more power and torque than Ranger’s 3.2-litre five-cylinder and instead aces on a trick off-road suspension pack and styling and trim changes to stand out, was announced today.

It means the new Blue Oval model costs just $1000 less than the most expensive one-tonner on the market, Volkswagen’s Amarok flagship, the Aventura, before on-roads are added. 

The German ute runs a 3.0-litre V6 outputting 165kW and 550Nm, though another version making 190kW is expected to arrive soon to see off the V6 equivalent in Mercedes’ X-Class lineup, which New Zealand media get to trial next week.

Presently the most Kiwis pay for a Ranger is $69,640. That's the buy-in for a Wildtrak doublecab automatic.

Ford New Zealand is relaxed about the premium it has meted Raptor, citing that it will be a unique vehicle within the category.

“There’s nothing else like it,” said spokesman Tom Clancy. He reminded, also, that provisioning the model with its bespoke Fox Shox suspension was a considerable expense.

While Ford’s media release today cited the vehicle as being simply due to arrive in 2018, Clancy allowed that the intention was to launch to September or October. He said the Auckland-centred operation was simply being cautious about being too specific yet.

“Until vehicles get on the boat, we just don’t know exactly when we will see them.”

Another factor undoubtedly driving Ford NZ’s determination to be bold with Raptor pricing is the Ranger’s ongoing success. For the past year it has never sold fewer than 700 units per month; last month the model achieved 900 units. The monthly sales peak to date was hit in June 2017, when more than 1000 units were registered within four weeks.

Ford NZ managing director Simon Rutherfurd says NZ interest since Raptor’s global reveal in Thailand in February has been high.

“Kiwis love the Ranger, and there have been calls for a vehicle like the Ranger Raptor for some time.

“The Ford design and engineering team has worked incredibly hard with Ford Performance on this programme to deliver a product that will live up to the Raptor DNA, and the high expectations of New Zealanders.”

Ford reckons Ranger customers here are increasingly using their vehicle for both work and recreational purposes, including off-road drives. It says Ranger Raptor answers that call.

In addition to its long travel suspension, Raptor has aluminium upper and lower control arms, heavy duty skid-plates and underbody protection, which – combined with a unique chassis – enables it to be the most capable off-road Ranger yet produced, the brand cites.

This includes wider front and rear tracks, greater ride height, increased approach and departure angles, as well as water wading capability that’s enhanced to 850mm.

The Raptor’s engine createsjust 10kW and 30Nm more than the standard 3.2-litre five-cylinder but runs through a 10-speed automatic, with magnesium paddle shifters, whose transference to the main line is not yet clear. The present Ranger runs a six-speed auto but is scheduled for a major mid-life refresh, perhaps also presenting around the same time Raptor arrives.

 Ford says the flexibility of Raptor’s powertrain is further unlocked through a six-mode Terrain Management System (TMS), which includes low- and high- range four-wheel drive and a locking rear-differential. Again, that’s a more complex system than the mainstream Ranger has in current configuration.

The Ranger Raptor’s TMS introduces Baja mode, which offers the ultimate off-road performance settings.