Ford has confirmed a Ranger Raptor is under development, scheduled to be released in Australia in 2018.
Details are scarce at this early stage with Ford Australia remaining tight-lipped on any specifics, however the Ranger Raptor will form part of the Ford Performance family, which encompasses everything from the Fiesta ST hot hatch to the GT supercar.
Using the popular US F150 Raptor as a guide, expect the Ranger Raptor to feature more aggressive bodywork, suspension and brake upgrades and a boost in power.
Engine choice is not yet confirmed, with only Ford Australia's short teaser video to work from, but sadly there's next to zero chance of the F150's 336kW/690Nm 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 making an appearance.
Much more likely is a powered-up version of the Ranger's current 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel. The 169kW/564Nm offered by the Tickford-tuned Ford Ranger gives some hint as to some possible outputs.
Whether the Ranger Raptor is able to deliver “an adrenaline-pumping experience” as Ford claims remains to be seen, however what is true is that this new Blue Oval ute “will create a class of its own among off-road performance vehicles”.
Combine this with Australia’s love of high-performance and the departure of locally-built ute likes the Falcon and Commodore and there’s a substantial gap in the market that’s never really been filled, Toyota’s half-heart supercharged V6 TRD Hilux the closest attempt.
We’ll bring you more details on the Ford Ranger Raptor as soon as we have them.