Ford Ranger Raptor long-term test: report 1

In theory it's a lean, mean working machine, but we're living with the ultimate version of Ford's Ranger pick-up truck to see if it lives up to the hype...

Ford Ranger Raptor driving front

The car Ford Ranger Raptor 2.0 EcoBlue 210 4WD auto | Run by Max Edleston, senior photographer

Why it’s here To provide grin-inducing entertainment and practicality in equal measure

Needs to be Unstoppable on-road or off-it, reasonably sensible to run, and practical enough to be used as a working vehicle

Mileage 2050 List price £57,064 Target Price £46,470 Price as tested £59,824 Test economy 25.1mpg Official economy 26.6mpg Options Raptor Pack (£2160), Raptor Splash decal pack (£600)

19 March 2024 – When I grow up...

When I was a boy, growing up surrounded by rural communities, farmland and the kind of countryside scenes you’d see adorning postcards, I had a dream – to one day own an exciting pick-up truck.

It wasn’t an especially big dream, I’ll grant you, but while other boys set their sights on becoming an astronaut, a cowboy, or a billionaire – or sometimes all three in the same morning – I just wanted to tower over everything else on the road in a car which was unstoppable over any terrain. And finally, I’ve got one.

Yes, the Ford Ranger Raptor currently parked on my driveway is every inch the model I imagined as a child, from its chunky off-road tyres to its oversized front grille and race-inspired decals. It looks meaner than Mad Max’s outback runabout.

Despite my latest company car catering to my seven-year-old self, however, I’ve not completely forgotten my sensible trousers. You see, while the Ranger Raptor can be had with a fire-breathing 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine under the bonnet, with a real-world fuel economy figure which might bankrupt me, I’ve gone for the 2.0-litre diesel model, instead.

This should still be plenty powerful enough, with 208bhp in total, but will hopefully be a little bit kinder to my wallet, with an official fuel economy figure of 26.6mpg. And given the many miles I do as one of What Car?’s photographers, that’s handy. Indeed, I’m already grateful that while my car feels at least as capable as a Land Rover Defender in the rough stuff, I can turn off its four-wheel drive system when it’s not needed, helping to conserve precious pennies.

Max driving Ford Ranger Raptor

The low-down shove of the diesel engine has already been useful, helping me to make the most of gaps in London traffic, or overtaking on the motorway. And while I have no doubt it could tow a mobile photography studio if needed – my car is rated to haul a whopping 2500kg – there’s no need because of how much space there is in its load bay.

Even though I travel heavy, I’ve not struggled to get all of my photography gear into the Raptor’s load bed. And this isn’t just because I’ve been able to leave some of it behind, with the vantage point offered by that load bed meaning I don’t need the step-ladder I would usually bring with me for elevated shots.

I’m not worried about security, either, because I chose Ford’s Raptor Pack, which comes with an electrically powered roll top cover to keep everything out of sight – and to protect it from the rain.

Ford Ranger Raptor driving side

First impressions of the Raptor’s interior are good, not just because it’s comfortable and comes with all the toys I want, but because it’s so easy to get along with. The controls for the infotainment screen and climate control, for example, are chunky and physical, meaning they’re easy to operate even if you’re wearing gloves. And while my car features more luxury than most Rangers, with its leather seats and soft-touch upper dashboard, it still feels like it’s been made to endure a hard working life.

My passengers have already commented that not only do they have lots of space to stretch out, but that my Raptor is a lot more comfortable for a typical commute than they expected. That comfort is helped, I suspect, by the upgraded suspension my car gets over lesser Rangers.

In my company, the Raptor will face a varied life. During the week it’ll take me and my kit all over the country, and be expected to keep going even when the actual road has long since run out. Meanwhile, at the weekends, I plan on exploring the Raptor’s lifestyle credentials, and seeing if it’s just as fun to live with as I imagined such a vehicle would be all those years ago.

Ford Ranger Raptor LT rear

Of course, the Raptor needs to accomplish all of this while being faultlessly reliable and without breaking the bank. Indeed, part of this test will be to see if going for the Raptor over the cheaper Ranger Wildtrack is money well spent. For now, though, I’m just smiling like a young child who’s has been handed the best toy ever.

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