An assist recommended by safety agencies and set to be standard to the updated Ranger Wildtrak is absent from the $15,000-dearer Raptor.
AN accident avoidance technology now requisite for an optimum crash test result will not reach the raciest version of the country’s best-selling utility for some time yet.
Media attending an international launch event for the Ford Ranger Raptor, a new flagship out to establish pedigree for enhanced performance and off-road ability yet likely to have equal standing as an inner-city showboat, have reportedly been advised it will miss out on autonomous emergency braking when it is launched in October.
Ford has indicated at a soiree in the Northern Territory this week that the AEB’s wholesale inclusion might occur sometime next year, as a running change.
That has come as a surprise given the Wildtrak model, which has been the fleet flagship until now, will deliver AEB in a facelifted format that costs $15,000 less than the $85k Raptor.
Allowing a vehicle to self-engage emergency braking in event of a sudden and unexpected collision event with a vehicle or even a pedestrian that the driver has not reacted to, AEB is now fast-tracking to passenger models.
Experts see it as the optimal format of front collision warning systems as important for safety today as seatbelts, airbags and antiskid brakes.
Even though it is soon to be a feature of everyday cars – the most recent recipients being the latest Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla, respectively rolling into the market in August and October – and sports utilities and crossovers, AEB has yet to reach seriously into the one-tonne utility sector.
That might yet become a consumer issue with doublecab versions of traydecks now racing up the charts, largely on the strength of winning favour as SUV-substitutes for recreational use.
This emergent role for vehicles primarily designed as workhorses has been a winner for Ranger; its success not just as the country’s top-selling commercial but also often as the country’s best-selling vehicle seems largely built on its family favouritism.
With this in mind, it seemed Ford was keen to build on that status by implementing AEB, which the European and Australasian NCAP crash testing agencies are demanding for consideration for highest score potentials.
It generally comes in three categories: A low-speed system that works on city streets to detect other vehicles in front of a car to prevent crashes and non-life threatening injuries such as whiplash; a higher speed system that scans up to 200 metres ahead using long range radar at higher speeds and a system that detects pedestrian movement in relation to the path of the vehicle to determine the risk of collision.
The setup that Ford will deliver appears to offer significant improvement over the forward collision alert which configures in the outgoing Ranger Wildtrak. This presents limited braking assist and mainly offers an audible alarm.
As is, driver-assist systems in the Raptor currently extend to lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, high-beam assist, driver attention alert, traffic sign recognition, cruise control, a speed limiter, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, hill-start assist, hill-descent control, trailer-sway control and roll-over mitigation.
Ford has cited the complexity of the Raptor’s development as having raised several challenges it is still in the process of meeting. It could be that the issue lays with the design of the front bumper, which is a heavier steel item on Raptor.
The Raptor delivers a 2.0-litre EcoBlue twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 157kW of power at 3750rpm and 500Nm of torque from 1750 to 2000rpm; that’s 10kW and 30Nm more than the outputs from the five-cylinder 3.2-litre turbodiesel in the Wildtrak and other four-wheel-drive Rangers.
Raptor’s outputs are achieved by a smaller high-pressure turbocharger with variable geometry that spools up first, while a larger sequential low-pressure unit with fixed geometry fires up at higher engine speeds.
Drive is sent part-time to all four wheels via a dual-range transfer case and a 10-speed torque-convertor automatic transmission with magnesium paddle shifters.
As a result, the 2404kg Raptor can sprint from standstill to 100kmh in 10.5 seconds. Top speed is just 170kmh, which is 40kmh lower than the outright pace cited for the Amarok V6 ute that costs just as much. The incoming Mercedes Benz X-Class X350d V6 is also able to exceed 200kmh.
While the Raptor matches the regular Ranger with its independent MacPherson-strut front axle, it picks up a Watts axle with long-travel outboard coil-over dampers for its rear end.
Additionally, unique Fox Racing Internal Bypass twin-tube shock absorbers with position sensitive damping are found on both axles, with the rear also featuring a piggy back remote reservoir.
The Raptor’s terrain management system features six modes – Normal, Sport and Weather (2WD), Mud/Sand and Baja (4WD), and Rock/Gravel (4WD Low) – that allow the driver to adjust the automatic transmission and the tweaked electronic traction and stability control systems to suit driving conditions.
Other standard equipment includes dark-coloured 17-inch alloy wheels, 285/70 BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrain tyres, spray-on tub-liner, an Ezy-lift tailgate strut, a power-operated tailgate lock, underbody protection, dusk-sensing HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, front LED foglights and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
The Raptor’s body kit has chassis-mounted front bumper with air curtains, a high-strength steel bash plate, sheet moulded front fenders, a rear bumper, four tow hooks, black wheel-arch extensions, a Ford-branded front grille, a sculpted bonnet and heavy-duty skid plates.
Braked towing capacity is 2500kg – 1000kg less than the Wildtrak on which the Raptor is based, while payload falls short of one tonne, at 686kg.