Ford Ranger Raptor long-term test: introducing our outrageous new pickup

  • High-performance off-road pickup joins the Parkers fleet
  • Find out what the Ranger Raptor is like to live with as a daily driver
  • Big in size, big in attitude, it's already dividing opinion

Report 1: Haters gonna hate

Well, here we are then. Depending on how you feel about it, the Ford Ranger Raptor is either peak pickup for the UK in 2020 or ‘automotive dumbassery’ of the highest order, as one colleague from a classic car publication recently colourfully suggested. We’re now lucky enough to have one on a long-term test, and a big part of the plan here is to find out which of those descriptions is more apt.

Ford Ranger Raptor long-term test review - cj hubbard's new daily driver

You might be wondering…

What makes the Raptor so different to any other Ranger, and such a potential opinion divider? Our main Ranger Raptor review will clue you into the full story, but the short version is the Raptor has been re-engineered by Ford Performance in order to cope with high-speed off-road driving – of the kind that would likely shake most other pickups to death.

To this end, it not only has a reinforced chassis frame and massively enhanced bodywork intended to survive such abuse, it also has Fox Racing suspension, chunky BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres and the kind of interior makeover that’s appropriate for a vehicle that costs over £50,000 once you include the VAT. Obviously, it comes loaded with standard kit as well, including a sat-nav system that can lay breadcrumbs you can follow back if you’re travelling away from the beaten path.

Ford Ranger Raptor long-term test review 2020 - rear view, black, country road, wind turbine

On the flip side, the Raptor is so heavy that on the one had it no longer counts as a commercial vehicle for tax purposes (payload is just 620kg) and on the other doesn’t qualify as a dual-purpose vehicle for speed limits – meaning despite all that visual machismo it’s legally only allowed to do 60mph on a dual carriageway.

Which actually isn’t that big a deal, as the final fly in the peak-pickup ointment is under the bonnet. Where the American-market F-150 Raptor pickups have always packed whacking-great amounts of horsepower, the first Ranger-based Raptor has to make do with the same twin-turbo 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel as other high-spec Rangers.

And while this does have a healthy 213hp and 500Nm of torque, even the standard-fit 10-speed automatic transmission can’t get those big wheels turning with real show-stopping vigour. That high-end off-road suspension sure does make it comfy for a pickup, though.

So what are you planning to do with it?

Drive it. A lot. In the current pandemic environment, having access to a go-anywhere, carry anything (…that isn’t too heavy…) truck feels strangely appropriate – which will of course seem stupid and not a little melodramatic to some people. I’m mostly joking, but there’s no denying that glancing out the window at it parked on the drive, as I’m doing now, brings a certain sense of reassurance.

There are some challenges ahead. The damn thing is so big it can occasional be difficult to find a suitable parking space, while my plans to use it as my daily family car will require finding a waterproof solution to stashing all the toddler’s gear in the back – while the Raptor’s load cover is good, it’s not 100% impermeable.

As for that main question at the beginning there. Hate to break it to the nay sayers, but regardless of the obvious difficulties, I’ve got to say: I already love it.

Also read:

>> Ford Ranger Raptor - our main review