Long term review: Ford Ranger Raptor

G'day, fishos and fourby fans! Baz here, bringing you the lowdown on the Ford Ranger Raptor after a ripper 24 months on the road. Now, I've been living the dream with this beauty, and I reckon it's time to share the adventures, the tweaks, and why this Raptor is still the king of the off-road jungle.

First off, let's talk dirt, mud, and sand – the natural habitat of this beast. COVID might've tried to keep me home, but I've taken the Raptor everywhere from Point Plomer to Fraser Island, and it's handled it all like a champ. Lithgow, Barrington Tops, you name it, we've conquered it. And towing the Tvan? Like a breeze, mates! Added a bit of gear, but nothing that messes with the factory perfection.

Now, I've always said, a vehicle's only as good as its suspension, and the Raptor's got it right. Tough Dog levelling springs sorted out the weight distribution after we slapped on some barwork. Our Ranger Bull Bar contribution gave this beauty even better approach and departure angles. And don't get me started on those Toyo Open Country R/T tyres – extra clearance and grip that's like having Velcro on your wheels.

But it's not just about bumpy tracks; the Raptor shines on the highway too. Fraser to Outback Queensland, it's been like a magic carpet ride. The suspension's composure is next level – bumps, undulations, you name it, just turn them into minor hiccups. And I've got the pics to prove it, folks! My mate even filmed it for a TikTok because he couldn't believe how steady it looked.

Now, I've had this beauty in all sorts of terrain – sand, mud, rocks, ruts – and it's taken it like a duck to water. Rock sliders saved the day, flexing over the rocks like a yoga master. Front wheel off the ground? No worries, that rear diff lock is a godsend. And that extra wheel travel in the front, it's a game-changer. Barrington Tops mud? Piece of cake with the right rubber.

Towing the Tvan has been a pleasure too. Sand driving? Engage 4WD, switch off traction control, and off we go. Some rough rutty patches? Diff lock to the rescue. It's like a dance, and the Raptor's got the moves. Now, I've had my fair share of analogue 4WDs, but this electronic wizardry is growing on me. Rock drive mode, diff lock, it's like having a symphony of buttons for any tune the off-road throws at you.

On the bitumen, it's a different story. Sure, it's not what this beast was born for, but it's been my daily drive, the kids' school bus, and even the shopping trolley. Those seats, let me tell you, they're like sitting in an armchair. Ford nailed the interior, with just a hiccup in the gear shifter panel – a bit of delamination, nothing major, but hey, my OCD noticed.

And tech-wise, Ford's got it sorted. Sync 3 Infotainment system with Apple CarPlay – game-changer. Taking calls, sending messages, checking my calendar, all at my fingertips. Safety features like Lane Departure Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking are top-notch, though the AEB can be a bit too eager. But it's like insurance, better to have it and not need it, right?

Now, touring might not be the Raptor's first choice on paper, but with the Tvan hitched, it's my go-to adventure rig. Sure, you could get a Landcruiser for a bit more, but will it put a grin on your face like the Raptor? I doubt it. And the payload? Stick to the limits, and you'll be smiling all the way.

Fuel consumption? Yeah, it matters, especially when you're clocking 4,500 km in 12 days. Averaging 12.4L/100km ain't bad, considering the size of this beast. Towing the Tvan bumped it up a bit, but that's expected. And reliability? Flawless. No serious issues, just a hiccup with the trailer plug – a bit of dirt and corrosion. Lesson learned, folks!

So, in the grand scheme of things, the Raptor's been a winner. Off-road, on-road, touring – it's a jack of all trades, and master of 'em too. Sure, it's got its quirks, but show me a vehicle that doesn't. For now, this Rexy gives the Ford Ranger Raptor two thumbs up. Until next time, happy touring, fishos!