fbpx Improved on-road handling but slightly less capacity - Farmers Guide

Improved on-road handling but slightly less capacity

Late last year, Ford announced significant updates for its Ranger pick-up in a series of special editions. David Williams tried out the latest flagship Raptor SE.

Farmers Guide test-drove the latest Ford Ranger flagship – the Raptor SE.

Ford’s Ranger is a popular choice for UK farmers, so changes or upgrades to the specification or appearance always attract interest. This was the case during visits to farms and contracting businesses during a week-long test drive of the latest Raptor.

Wide model choice

For 2022, the Ranger line-up retains its established Single Cab, Super Cab, and Double Cab body styles, all with selectable 2 and 4wd. The specification level determines engine and transmission choice.

The base XL is available in all body styles, with 2.0-litre EcoBlue 130 or 170hp engines and six-speed manual transmissions.

The XLT with extra features is available in Super and Double Cab formats, with a 170hp engine and a six-speed manual transmission.

Limited is the mid-spec option, with 170hp in the Super Cab version mated to a six-speed manual transmission, while the Double Cab has a choice of 170hp or 213hp engines, both with 10-speed auto transmissions.

Top Wildtrack and Raptor specifications are Double Cab only, with 213hp and 10-speed automatic transmission.

Special editions

The new special editions include the MS RT and the Wolftrak which come in Double Cab. The MS RT has the 213hp engine and 10-speed auto transmission, while the Wolftrak has the 170hp engine and a choice of engine and a manual transmission. The Stormtrak and Raptor SE are Double Cab only and have the more powerful engine with automatic transmission as standard.

The Raptor SE supplied for the Farmers Guide test features advanced coil spring suspension which provides an incredibly smooth ride even at high speeds over rough ground. The ride quality is far superior to standard versions with leaf springs, but a downside for many potential purchasers is the reduced 545kg maximum payload which means it won’t qualify for VAT relief. This means that most farmers and contractors will probably opt for the Stormtrak which shares the same engine and transmission and a similar interior, but it has leaf springs and carries loads up to 1,024kg, and tows trailers up to 3,500kg.

The load bed is a similar size to other double-cab models in the Ranger line-up, and just as tough and functional – but a different suspension set-up means carrying capacity is reduced to 545kg, with implications for reclaiming VAT.

Practicality

Like all Rangers, the Raptor is ruggedly built to withstand hard work, and the load bed comes with a tough liner for protection. The cargo area is up to 1,575mm long, and 1,560mm wide and the rear tailgate opening is 1,139mm. With long-travel suspension and larger 285/70R17 wheels and tyres, the Raptor SE has more ground clearance than other Ranger models for improved off-road performance, but a less convenient 900mm loading height.

Handy tie-down points are included inside the bed and there are also full-length rails. A lockable sliding cover is standard. A tow hitch with a 13-pin electrical socket is included, and maximum towing capacity is 2,500kg, although all other versions except the 130hp XL tow 3,500kg.

Power, capability, and comfort

There is plenty of power from the 2.0-litre bi-turbo engine. With 500Nm of torque, the truck holds set speeds well without constant gear shifting. Acceleration to 62mph takes nine seconds, and 70mph is achieved in top gear at 1,700rpm. The Raptor SE is very quiet once cruising speeds are reached, but the engine sounds harsh when accelerating.

Even with the load bed empty the ride quality is good, and with a maximum half-tonne pallet on board there is little difference to the handling or performance. Weather during the test week provided some slippery off-road conditions, but the Raptor’s large tyres gripped well and with the engine running at just over an idle speed and 4wd selected, the truck steered in and out of deep mud ruts with ease.

For those with extreme off-road conditions to navigate, the Raptor SE with its superior suspension, larger wheels and extra ride height might be a better option than other Ranger variants. Ground clearance is an impressive 283mm, and maximum wading depth is 850mm. Approach and departure angles are 32 and 24 degrees respectively.

The Raptor SE has a smart interior, and the comfortable leather seats and trim are practical and easy to wipe clean.

Equipment and comfort

The Raptor SE comes with smart, badged soft leather seats. The front seats are heated and have eight-way electric adjustment. There is plenty of head and leg room for taller drivers, and the seats are supportive and remain comfortable during longer journeys. The rear bench seat is comfortable and leg room is adequate. The steering wheel is finished in soft leather, and, like the seats, it is easy to wipe clean. Overall, the Raptor SE features an attractive, quality trim and is well finished.

Most controls are user-friendly and become quickly familiar, but the trip computer is fiddly, as are the mobile phone controls. A large central touch-screen controls navigation and media and displays images from the reversing camera. The menus are logical and easy to use.

Storage includes a large central console with a tray and hinged lid, and a generous-size glovebox. The door pockets are large and there are several trays for smaller items.

All-around vision is very good, and the side mirrors are heated and feature electric folding and adjustment. Puddle lights help avoid stepping into mud or manure when leaving the vehicle in the dark. All Rangers come with heated windscreens which clear ice quickly on frosty mornings. The heating elements are so thin that they are almost invisible and allow a clearer view than earlier versions.

The Raptor’s large doors open wide for access. The wide aluminium step below looks smart, but it becomes muddy in wet weather and it’s hard to avoid dirtying clothes when getting in and out of the vehicle.

Verdict

The 2022 Ranger Raptor SE is comfortable and quiet and has plenty of room for up to five people, as well as a generous sized rear load bed. The lower rated carrying and towing capacities as well as implications for VAT status will be off-putting for many agricultural businesses, but similar high-specification versions in the range with standard rear suspension and the prized one tonne-plus load capacity will prove just as popular as previous year models.

Fuel consumption from the 2.0-litre bi-turbo engine averaged approximately 28mpg during the week-long test, and on a long journey this rose to 31.8mpg – according to the trip computer.

The 2022 Rangers are built for work, well finished and look smart, and if the Raptor’s reduced load capacity isn’t an issue, then it would be hard to find a more comfortable and attractive pick-up. List price for the Raptor SE is £45,000

 

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