Ford has dismissed the idea that the Ranger Raptor has any genuine competitors whatsoever, saying its 292kW ute sits in a class of it own
Key stakeholders within Ford have declared the forthcoming T6.2 Ranger Raptor high-performance ute has no rivals from any other manufacturer – including the Australian-fettled Nissan Navara Warrior or the Toyota Hilux Rugged X.
The T6 Ranger Raptor made its debut in 2018 with a 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine and saw little competition from other midsize utes for several years, reviving the super ute segment for a modern era.
The Australian-developed ute was designed to fly across punishing terrain at speed, offering a distinctly different type of performance than a low-slung sports car like a Mustang, or a 4WD which approaches off-road conditions at far slower speeds.
With the growing popularity of the Ranger Raptor and high-spec ute trims in general, competition has since emerged in the Toyota Hilux Rugged X and Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior – which are both developed in Australia for our conditions.
However, Ford’s supervisor of the Ranger Raptor program Justin Capicchiano questioned whether other utes were on the same playing field as the new petrol V6-powered Ranger Raptor.
“Is there a genuine (Ranger) Raptor competitor? I’m not necessarily sure that there is,” he said.
With Ford unwilling to acknowledge any competitors, Mr Capicchiano said the second-generation Ranger Raptor has taken inspiration from other vehicles in the Ford Performance line-up including the F-150 Raptor full-sized ute and Bronco Raptor 4WD.
“We’re not looking backwards at what Toyota or Nissan are doing, we’re not interested,” Mr Capicchiano said.
David Burn, Ford Performance chief program engineer for Raptor, was even stronger with his words.
“You drive this thing and tell me that there’s a competitor out there that comes close,” he said.
“We’ve genuinely have made such a massive improvement in the vehicle, there is nothing else like it. Absolutely nothing else like it.”
The Ranger Raptor is a darling project of the Ford Australia development team which poured in significant resources to take the Ranger to the next level.
Changes like a completely redesigned suspension system (including a coil-sprung rear end), unique Fox shock absorbers and an imposing body kit are among some of the changes that separated the first-generation Raptor from the core Ranger line-up.
The end product was a ute that was regularly proclaimed as the best in its class and the addition of a 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 and full-time four-wheel-drive have the potential to broaden this gap further.
The Nissan Narara PRO-4X Warrior has come the closest to replicating the formula, with Melbourne-based tuning house Premcar modifying the suspension and exterior to make the Japanese ute more capable and imposing on and off the road.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is the price. With the Navara starting from $67,490 before on-road costs while the Ranger demands $79,390 for the outgoing model – and the new generation is expected to bring a sharp price hike to the tune of $10,000.
While a true comparison cannot be made without a back-to-back, both have earned considerable favour with the Australian public so we can expect this performance ute formula to continue for the foreseeable future.
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