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Ford Ranger Raptor is coming to America

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Overnight, Ford Australia revealed one of the worst-kept secrets ever: The 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor. It looks great, and the reveal announced it would be the fastest, most powerful Ranger ever. Although, that’s not hard to do.

It was, however, hard to get all lathered up and excited as this was only going to be offered overseas. To our surprise, as the reveal was happening, Ford CEO Jim Farley Tweeted confirmation that the Ranger Raptor would be coming to the U.S. and Canada after all.

And now we’re excited.

So let’s look at some Ford Ranger Raptor highlights. Note: Information below comes from the global version of the Ranger, Raptor and none of these details have been confirmed for the North American version, but many will likely be part of it.

No V-8 necessary

Much like the third-generation F-150 Raptor and the recently announced Bronco Raptor, there won’t be a V-8 engine to start off, but that’s OK. The 2023 Ranger Raptor is slated to get the 3.0-liter twin turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost, and it’s tuned by Ford Performance.

That means a great exhaust note and impressive output from a V-6. We also know this engine in the Ranger Raptor will deliver 392 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque.

This engine is a graphite-iron cylinder block, which is around 75% stronger and up to 75% stiffer than the iron used in traditional castings.

Why the 10-speed automatic transmission will be great

A 10-speed automatic transmission will be part of the powertrain. While this may disappoint some of the manual transmission purists out there, they may be excited to learn an anti-lag feature will be part of it. Ford Performance is tweaking the transmission to ensure there’s no turbo lag.

How does this anti-lag feature work? It keeps the turbochargers spinning for up to 3 seconds after the driver backs off the throttle, allowing for faster resumption of acceleration out of corners or through the gears when the driver steps back on the accelerator. This feature is only available in Baja mode, however.

Ford Ranger Raptor

Baja mode sound

Speaking of Baja, this driving mode gets its own engine note, which will be the most aggressive and impressive of the four sounds. However, even if you like the sound, you should only be selecting Baja mode when true off-road performance is needed. Ford defines the engine sounds like this:

  • Quiet – prioritizes quietness over performance and sound to keep the peace with neighbors on early mornings.
  • Normal – intended for everyday use, this profile offers an exhaust note with presence while not being too loud for street use. This profile is applied by default to Normal, Slippery, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl drive modes.
  • Sport – offers a louder and more dynamic note.
  • Baja – the most striking exhaust profile in both volume and note, in Baja mode the exhaust behaves more like a straight-through system. Intended for off-road use only.

Full-time four-wheel drive system

To go along with those engine sounds, there are seven drive modes. For the first time, Ranger Raptor gets an advanced full-time four-wheel drive system with an all‑new electronically‑controlled on-demand two-speed transfer case, combined with front and rear locking differentials. This is maybe one of the things to be most excited about as Ranger has never had such a system before now.

There are also selectable drive modes:

On-road

  • Normal – designed for comfort and fuel efficiency
  • Sport – more responsive for spirited on-road driving
  • Slippery – for more confident driving on slippery or uneven surfaces

Off-road

  • Rock crawl – for optimum control in very low speed driving over extreme rocky and uneven terrain
  • Sand – optimizes gear changes and power delivery for progress in sand and deep snow
  • Mud/Ruts – for maximum grip during launch and maintaining vehicle momentum
  • Baja – sets all systems to maximum attack for peak high-speed off-road performance

Running gear

The Ranger Raptor will get its own specific chassis. Some of the highlights include: Raptor-specific mounts and reinforcements for elements including the C-pillar, load box and spare wheel, as well as unique frames for the jounce bumper, shock tower and rear shock bracket all combine to ensure Next-Gen Ranger Raptor can handle punishing off-road conditions.

Aluminum upper and lower control arms, long‑travel front and rear suspension and a refined Watt’s link rear end have been designed to deliver more control across rough terrain at high speed.

The bottom line on Ford Ranger Raptor

We hope very little changes when the Ranger Raptor makes its way to North American. The overseas version looks incredible and seems like the revitalizing breath the Ranger needs. A new version of the Ranger is coming in 2023, so the Raptor will be a great part of that offering.

When Ford relaunched the Ranger into the U.S. it lacked a wow factor. And quickly the enthusiasm of the midsize Ranger was overshadowed by the launch of the Bronco, the next-gen F-150, the F-150 Lightning and the even smaller Ford Maverick.

As such, the Ranger Raptor lets the truck come roaring from the shadows and gives it a chance to shine. What do you think about the Ranger Raptor? Leave us your comments below.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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