Ford Ranger Raptor Impresses in Moroccan Desert

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Ford Ranger Raptor in the desert

With no public plans from Ford to bring the Ranger Raptor to North America, we enjoy a European’s take on driving one in Africa.

The Ranger Raptor not being available here in the U.S, is one of life’s big mysteries. Ford has let the Raptor trim of the Ranger loose in other markets, but remains resolutely silent on bringing it here to its natural habitat. While enjoying a recent review by Matt Robinson over at CarThrottle.com, that fact was truly brought home to us. Robinson was truly impressed by the Ranger Raptor when Ford took him out to the Moroccan desert to experience the thrill of the Raptor’s ability in the rough at speed.

Ranger Rapto jumping in Morocco

Robinson opens his review with a graphic account of traveling through the air at speed and waiting for the Raptor to connect again with the ground in the form of a wreck. But he tells us that: “… The chunky BF Goodrich tyres make contact with the sand once more, the dampers soak up the huge impact, and we’re back on our way to smash into the next obstacle.”

This becomes relevant when Robinson explains why he loves the Ranger Raptor for its ability but doesn’t understand what it’s actually for. He points that, “… with most dedicated off-road play centres limiting you to low speeds, and charging along green lanes at a serious pace being a tad irresponsible, where are you supposed to get the most out of your Raptified Ranger?” He’s quite right as in the UK, there’s exactly zero desert and very few other unprotected areas large enough where you could let a Raptor of any kind truly off of its chain.

Ranger Raptor rear quarter shot desert.

Green lanes in the UK are unpaved rural tracks, paths, or roads that are often twisty, rough, overgrown, or all of that at once, and used predominantly by horse riders and hikers. Off-roading in the UK, and most of Europe, is usually a low-speed activity over challenging ground rather than sprints across open rough areas. And, although we desperately want the Raptor to come to North America, the engine makes as little sense here as it does to Robinson there. He describes the 2.0-liter twin-turbo diesel engine as “just adequate,” and explains, “… when you’re flat out on rough terrain, the drone of the 2.0-litre lump quickly becomes unpleasant. For a such a silly car, this feels like far too sensible an engine.”

There’s little doubt that if the Ranger Raptor should come to its spiritual home, it would need to be with a more ballsy engine. But, that’s only if it actually does. For now, we’re limited to reading reviews and watching videos of Europeans having all the fun.

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Ian Wright has been a professional automotive writer for over two years and is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum, Jaguar Forums, and 6SpeedOnline, among other popular auto sites.

Ian's obsession with cars started young and has left him stranded miles off-road in Land Rovers, being lost far from home in hot hatches, going sideways in rallycross cars, being propelled forward in supercars and, more sensibly, standing in fields staring at classic cars. His first job was as a mechanic, then he trained as a driving instructor before going into media production.

The automotive itch never left though, and he realized writing about cars is his true calling. However, that doesn’t stop Wright from also hosting the Both Hand Drive podcast.

Ian can be reached at [email protected]

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