Ford Ranger Raptor debuts with a diesel

Ford is ready to slay all expectations with the 2019 Ranger Raptor

Chevy truck fans reserved trucks as soon as dealers would take their money and waited months to get the ZR2.

The 2018 Ford Ranger Raptor has been revealed in Thailand, ahead of an Australian launch later this year.

Wednesday's announcement comes just over a year after Ford announced it had started shipping 2017 F-150 Raptors to China. Like those on the F-150 Raptor, the dampers are by Fox Racing Shox with 46.6mm piston for front and rear.

That power equates to 157kW, with torque dropping in at 500Nm. Drivers will also have a new Terrain Management System to play with which offers six modes selectable via a steering wheel switch, and includes sand mode, rock mode, and even Baja mode (named after the Mexican desert) which optimises the car's electronics for full-on off-road performance.

Visually, the Raptor gets a new grille with "FORD" across its centre, much like the F-150. It is based on the Thailand-built Ranger.

There are design changes everywhere with a stunning new grille featuring the iconic block FORD lettering, while a frame mounted front-bumper system is created to offer desert durability performance and a distinctive presence. The front bumper includes LED fog lamps with "functional" air-curtain ducts, which help to channel air around the body.

The flared front wheel arches are said to be more resistant to the dents and dings associated with off-roading, and allow for the longer-travel suspension and oversized off-road tyres. So, not only is the frame tougher and stiffer, but the brakes have been upgraded too. The truck is 67.3-inches wide at the front and rear tracks. Off-roaders will note with interest the increased ground clearance to 283mm.

At the rear, a modified rear bumper comes with an integrated tow bar and two recovery hooks rated at 3.8 tonnes.

Out back, the altered rear bumper now has a pair of tow hooks. The Raptor Ranger has a towing capacity of over 5,500 pounds.

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"The standout experience of the Ranger Raptor, hands down, is how far you can push it off-road versus any other available production road vehicle in our markets, and still ride like a millionaire on-road", said Damien Ross, Chief Program Engineer, Ranger Raptor, Ford Motor Company.

Inside, there are unique seats designed for high-speed off-roading, trimmed in "technical suede".

The dash cluster has aggressive styling, encompassing a host of Driver Assist features.

Beyond the blue stitching and leather accents, there's a new steering wheel with magnesium shift paddles. We worked out that if you spec'd this baby F150 with options (Trac-Lok lockable diffs) and had an engine tune, you'd be left with a sorta-kinda 4/5ths-scale Raptor.

The Satellite Navigation System comes into its own when off-roading in remote areas, even offering a "breadcrumb" feature to leave a trail when entering un-chartered areas - flawless for the serious off-roader.

This is all part of the standard Sync3 infotainment system, while the Raptor is also packed with driver-assistance technology - such as Electronic Stability Control, Trailer Sway Control and a rear-view camera - to make everyday life easier.

However, it's clear that the new model has been engineered in both left- and right-hand drive, and a Ford insider told us that the United Kingdom would be lobbying hard to be able to sell the Raptor.

Stay tuned for pricing and specification information closer to launch.

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