Since 2010 Ford’s Special Vehicle Operations department in America has been building an awesome-looking machine called the F-150 Raptor.
This monster started off being powered by a big V8 engine but nowadays it has a twin-turbo V6 which still produces 450bhp, even if it doesn’t sound quite as good as the ol’ V8.
An F-150 Raptor in the UK doesn’t work that well because our roads are too small and our petrol too expensive.
Ford, however, decided to create a more UK-friendly version that’s based on the Ranger pick-up.
It certainly looks the part.
Firstly, Ford fed the Ranger some body-building steroids to pump its body out by 168mm, widened its track by 150mm and raised it off the ground by an extra 51mm, while the chassis was beefed up with extra steel plate.
A 2.3mm-thick bash plate was bolted on underneath the engine and Fox Racing dampers and off-road springs fitted.
The Ranger’s rear leaf springs were thrown out and replaced by coil springs and a Watts linkage.
Massive 33inch Goodrich all-terrain tyres have been fitted to similarly beefy alloy wheels and it’s all finished off with a big Ford grille was added to the front just like its American relative. The whole machine looks great.
However, under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine that produces a very weedy 211bhp. It has 500Nm of torque but it still has to try and push 2,510kg along.
The journey from 0-62mph takes 10.5sec, but at least you might see 31.7mpg out of this modestly powered giant.
In a wise move, Ford chose to launch the Raptor at Essaouira on Morocco’s Altantic coast. The beaches are long, you can drive on them, and there are lots of sand dunes. It’s pure Raptor country.
This machine is almost indestructible. A Range Rover would be an expensive smoking pile of bits if you treated it the way you can treat the Raptor. I haven’t had so much fun in a vehicle for ages.
Mini-Raptor uses the same 10-speed automatic gearbox that its big brother uses over the pond and although it makes some odd gear choices, occasionally it works well.
Not surprisingly those big tyres and their block treads make for rather wriggly progress on-road but the Raptor is competent enough.
Pity it sounds so disappointing.
Some clever noise manipulation has been engineered but from the outside the Raptor sounds like Iron Maiden playing an acoustic set.
Ford wants £48,784 for this motor and that’s a big number.
Yes, you get a lot of goodies inside – electric everything, infotainment and smart phone mirroring but all the same.
Anyway, you’ll be able to claim the VAT back because the Raptor is a commercial vehicle, right?
Well, no it isn’t. All the sexy off-road stuff has robbed the Raptor of so much load capacity – it has a payload of only 620kg – that it is no longer classified as a commercial vehicle.
Only someone who has totally fallen in love with the Raptor will buy it.
Others after a sexy pick-up will make do with a VW Amarok or Merc X-Class, both of which have brawny V6 diesel engines and are rated as commercial vehicles.
Volkswagen Amarok Aventura
Special edition looks brawny and is powered by 258bhp V6.
£40,595 plus VAT
Looks great with classy interior. Element limited edition the most cool. Also has 258bhp V6.
£39,510 plus VAT
Isuzu D-Max AT35
These Arctic Trucks versions of Isuzu’s pick-up look the business.
The logical choice for the macho pick-up fan. £38,545 plus VAT