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Raptor in Ford Performance Blue

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With an outstanding appearance to match damn near any terrain, the Raptor looks like it should be powered by a big fat petrol engine  (something like the F-150 engine which in itself is a weapon of mass destruction) or at least, a whopper V6 Diesel.  Ford has gone another, more European way, and fitted this mean looking pick-up with a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder BiTurbo (EcoBlue) Diesel Engine pushing out 213PS. You can spec this 10 speed auto double cab Raptor from €63,950.

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The engine choice matches more closely to a European aesthetic than it does to a macho American one. Here in Europe, we don’t have the fuel prices the American’s have, so it makes sense that we get the 2.0 EcoBlue 10 speed auto. It would be nice to have a big ol V8 under the bonnet but it just wouldn’t sell in the numbers that any accountant at Ford worth his salt, could possibly give the OK to.

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With a 10 second 0-100km/h time and tow capacity of 2,500kg, this new Raptor is also slightly down on it’s max gross payload (620 kg). There are 6 driving modes starting with Sport (with a little added V8 artificial noise), ‘Baja’ (the Dakar rally mode to cover rough ground), Grass/Snow, ‘Normal’, Mud/Sand and Rock. The steering is light and easy for a 2.5-tonne truck, without body sway or lurching when you don’t want it, so it leads to a very pleasant truck to drive about in. This is in part, thanks to the new rear suspension set-up which has removed the shudder that’s inherent on pick-ups fitted with leaf springs.

It’s not meant for the city but much like an electric vehicle (hear me out), it takes a little thought and planning to weave through European city streets that were never built to accommodate larger utility vehicles. With some thought about streets and congestion, it ensured journeys went without too much fuss. The thoughts of causing a City street-log with something as attention seeking as the Raptor, was not on my to-do list. Parking also takes some planning, and again, once you know where you’re going and your destinations ability to accommodate such a vehicle, you’ll ensure a headache free day.

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Inside the Raptor, it’s old school truck chic, rough n ready. The comfortable leather/suede seats adjust electrically, there’s a sports steering wheel, blue stitched leather on the dashboard, an analogue instrument cluster and Ford’s SYNC3 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It works perfectly well but could definitely do with a graphics update. Setting it to Night Mode gives it a slightly more modern look but an overhaul is needed.

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It makes most big SUV’s such as the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Range Rovers look like any other small family SUV in comparison. It’s closest competitors are the VW Amarok (3.0 TDI V6 258hp 8-speed auto at €63,500) and the rumoured soon to be canned Mercedes X-Class (X 250 d 4MATIC at €52,550 – faster but with Nissan bits).

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With the all American dream at an all time low, Ford’s Ranger Raptor brings all that European’s will need in a work utility vehicle, but without the horrific running costs.

Special mention : It’s got a great authority about it and people notice it. Especially pedestrians. Which is a good thing when you’re trying not to knock down those who are walking about in a virtual world but with real world dangers around them.

Needs work :  Ford’s SYNC3 touch screen picks up bluetooth, radio, sat nav and all the functions it’s supposed to do, with ease. But the graphics really date it. If it was aimed at a much older audience, then I can see why Ford use it. Surely with exterior looks like this, it’s aimed at a much younger audience that are easily parted with their hard earned cash. Update that interior and you’ve got a good (if not expensive) all round package.

Specs:

Max Power 213 PS Diesel / Auto
0-100 km/h in 10s Road Tax €2,350 (lower commercial vehicle rate available)
Model as specc’d €63,950 Max towing capacity 2500 kg