Thanks to the full-size truck segment growing and gaining more creature comforts than ever, Ford decided to bring back the Ranger midsize truck to the U.S. for 2019, albeit without the Raptor performance diesel offered on the Old Continent. And now that the new Ranger has marked the introduction of the second-gen Raptor for 2023, the Blue Oval has announced the performance truck is a global offering, with both the standard model and the Ranger Raptor set to land in the U.S. and Canada next year.
With the Ranger chassis-based Bronco gaining a Raptor version animated by a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 churning out at least 400 hp, we expected the same configuration to be used for the 2023 Ranger Raptor and we were right. However, since only the Aussie and the Euro specs have been announced so far, we can’t be sure of the exact numbers the new Ranger Raptor will offer in America.
Down Under, the off-roading-savvy truck makes 392 hp and 583 Nm (430 lb-ft) of torque from the iron block EcoBoost and this is the sort of muscle we’re expecting in North America. Over in Europe, emission standards have seen the motor being downtuned to 284 hp and 362 lb-ft (491 Nm) of twist.
Then again, we shouldn’t make the mistake of reducing the TT V6 to its output numbers. For one, the motor packs an anti-lag feature similar to what Ford Performance cooked up for the Focus ST and the GT supercar, with this keeping the turbos spinning for up to three seconds after you step off the gas. Then there’s an active exhaust that lets you choose between four mods, so you can be both a good neighbor and a speed freak.
The engine works with the familiar ten-speed automatic, while using a two-speed transfer case and locking difs at both ends to send power to all four wheels.
And while this might not be the case in North America, the Gen 2 Ranger Raptor retains its predecessor’s 2.0L twin-turbo diesel. The new specs aren’t in yet, but the engine we know is good for 210 hp and 368 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque.
The new, 2022 Raptor rides on an upgraded version of its predecessor’s platform (here’s an old Ranger with a Mustang conversion), hence the T6.2 designation, with the wheelbase and the tracks being more generous, while the wheels sit closer to the corners of the vehicle.
The suspension of the 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor
We’re sure that Ford engineers are well aware of how much social media likes jumping trucks, which is why the 2023 Ranger Raptor sports a reinforced chassis and all-new suspension.
As such, we’re dealing with aluminum upper and lower control arms and a revised Watt’s Link at the back. Then we have the Fox 2.5-inch Live Valve shocks with internal bypass valves, which offer plenty of travel. The dampers feature a Bottom-Out control trick that increases the resistance in the final quarter of the suspension travel to keep the belly of the beast, which does come with skid plates, from touching whatever is underneath, while preventing squatting and diving when the driver abused either of the two pedals.
Those air intakes are functional and the pumped-up fenders house 17-inch wheels shod in all-terrain rubber, while the one behind the wheel can choose between seven driving modes: Normal, Sport, Slippery, Rock Crawl, Sand, Mud/Ruts, and Baja.
Inside, there are jet fighter-inspired seats (boy, they really took that flying action mentioned above seriously!) and Code Orange accents. The Raptor enjoys dedicated magnesium paddles and a 10-speaker B&O sound system,
The 12-inch vertical infotainment screen in the center console features SYNC 4 along with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, while the driver enjoys a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster.
2023 Ranger Raptor market launch
By the end of this summer, European customers will get to enjoy the new EcoBoost Ranger Raptor, while the diesel market arrival is scheduled for next year. As for the North American arrival, Ford CEO Jim Fairley has only confirmed the 2023 arrival of the new Ranger and Ranger Raptor, without providing an exact date.
I’ve had the opportunity to feel the Ranger evolve from the 3.2l Diesel Wildtrack range-topper to the 2018-introduced Raptor diesel, which lost a pair of cylinders but became more agile and easier to drive. So, naturally, I’m expecting the 2023 Range Raptor to fly high.