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The secret diary of a motoring journalist aged 39¾'ish


20th January 2020

Excitement at the arrival of the Ford Ranger Raptor was slightly tinged with dismay when you know the European version comes with a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine and not the 450hp 3.5-litre V6 motor that US buyers get. Still, the Euro Raptor looks the business thanks to those bespoke wide arches, unique alloy wheels and 150mm wider track to give it more attitude than Tyson Fury. Me likey.
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It’s fair to say the Raptor has made a big impression in the village where I live. Almost everyone seems to have clocked it and likes it. Several dad chums at the school gate have asked about it and are cooing over the looks and fun you could have in it. Today’s drive shows the 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine makes this truck quicker than I thought it would be courtesy of 500Nm of torque and 213hp. The 10-sped auto is also very slick in operation.
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The all-terrain tyres of the Raptor make light work of a muddy track this morning to try out the Ford’s off-road ability. With Fox Pro suspension, frankly this was no great trial for the Ranger but gave an insight into its full and considerable potential. However, those tyres hamper on-road grip and you need to exercise caution on wet corners to avoid the front end washing wide at surprisingly moderate pace.
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A trip into Edinburgh today and, thanks to hold-ups, plenty of time to assess the Raptor’s cabin. The Raptor-specific front seats cup you in all the right places for support and the unique dash cluster is clear and easy to read. However, some of the plastics in here are a bit agricultural even for a rugged pick-up and especially for one with a ticket price of £49,324 before you add the VAT.
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I’ve taken to trundling in the Raptor on the wet lanes surrounding home as the grip from the off-road biased tyres only goes so far. Much better is the feel through the steering and the cushioned ride quality of this Ranger. Where other models can hop and skip over bumpers, the Raptor is much smoother and more controlled to give a caressing experience. Mind you, on narrow roads, you have to bear in mind the car’s width.
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A chance to try out the pick-up bed today as I have to move a bedstead. First hurdle was opening the sliding load cover. No matter how I pulled, pushed and jiggled, it wouldn’t budge. I resorted to looking up an online video to find the knack and, open sesame, it rolled back to let me strap the bed frame to the cross bars for safe transportation. Hardly the most taxing job for the Ranger, but one made more difficult by the awkward load cover mechanism.
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Giving a lift to some friends this morning to our sons’ rugby match and the side steps unique to the Raptor proved their worth. I hadn’t paid them much attention, but the boys needed them to hop up into the cab as otherwise they would have needed a step ladder. Once installed, they loved the high ridin’ Raptor and earned many admiring comments when their mates spotted them getting out.
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