• The apex Ranger receives some updates that make a lot of sense for South African buyers
• Since its release in 2019 the Raptor has been Ford’s most marketable double-cab bakkie
• It offers a rarefied level of high-speed gravel road and trail conquering performance
• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24
The Ford Ranger Raptor is an exceptional vehicle. But that has not stopped Ford's product planners from creating a Special Edition version.
Globally, the T6 Ranger story is preparing for the transition to its successor. And to ensure that Raptor remains on-trend, right to the end of its production cycle, there is the new Special Edition version.
If you were hoping for some mechanic component upgrades, well, there are none. With its 150mm wider tracking width, the reinforced steel ladder frame remains as this new Ranger Raptor's platform.
There isn't a change to the engine or transmission, either. That means the Special Edition uses that proven 2-litre bi-turbodiesel engine, boosting 157kW and 500Nm, linked to a ten-speed automatic transmission.
As with most Special Edition bakkie products, this new Ranger Raptor is mostly about appearance.
The most noticeable graphic design update are those red recovery points, which contrast with those matte black finishes on the bakkie's wheel arches, bumpers, door handles and grille. If you pine for the era when Ford still marketed an array of ST models in South Africa, the Ranger Raptor Special Edition reintroduces the twin-stripe legacy. It features bonnet and roof stripes, in matte black, with red bordering.
Although bonnet and roof graphics rarely work as a design statement with most road vehicles, the Raptor's bold design and inherent ability carry the look with confidence. The red detailing theme continues inside this new Raptor, with some scarlet stitching on the steering wheel, instrument binnacle, and door panels.
Only the most obsessive Ford bakkie fans might notice it, but the Ranger Raptor Special Edition has a Raceway Grey instrument panel to differentiate it from other Raptors slightly.
The security improvement
South African bakkie ownership can often be tainted with residual anxiety when you park somewhere with a loaded full of valuables. Ford realises that a secure load cover delivers real value to customers. The annoying thing about most load area covers is that they are fussy to operate and can rattle with extended gravel road use. Having used the Mountain Top roller shutter system on other Rangers without issue, Ford has added this load area practicality and security feature to Raptor Special Edition.
Suppose you really want to unbalance the braai-side conversation. In that case, you could mention that with the roller shutter locked in place, the Raptor Special Edition has an aerodynamic performance advantage compared to the 'standard' Raptor.
Completing Ford's load area upgrades for this new bakkie is an integrated sports hoop, which is not load-bearing.
Ford will confirm local pricing for the Raptor Special Edition, closer to the bakkie's local launch, in the final quarter of this year.
South Africa's Ranger Raptor Special Edition bakkie will be a bit more individual than most other global markets. Why? Tyres.
Most Ranger Raptor Special Edition bakkie will roll BF Goodrich, but the South African units use General Grabber AT3 all-terrain tyres.