History of the Ford Ranger Raptor

ford ranger raptor

The Ford Ranger Raptor pickup may be a new nameplate for the Blue Oval (it began life in 2019), but it has the rich, decades-old history of the Ranger pickup line (no pun intended) to back it up.

The name isn’t exclusive to these midsize trucks, as Ford experimented with the name on three model lines including a sedan, a variant for the F-Series, and a trim package for the Bronco.

Culled from the professional guardians of the forest, the Ranger name was finally bestowed its own lineup in 1982, when the first-generation Ranger midsize pickup was born. Intended as a replacement to the Ford Courier, which was manufactured by Mazda, Ford finally had its own midsize pickup built in-house, slotting below the F-150 in Ford’s light truck range, and serving as the smallest Ford pickup truck.

First-generation Ranger (1982-1992)

ford ranger

The first Ranger possessed many differences from the Courier model it replaced, including a single chassis architecture (which has been in use for all of the Ranger’s three generations), additional engine choices (including a standard inline-4, V6 and 4-cylinder diesel engine option), and a six or seven-foot-long bed.

Ford also introduced a bare-bones pickup for the first time, in the form of the Ranger S trim package. Unlike other trim levels that came with plenty of features and added options, the Ranger S was as Spartan as a pickup can get, and many pickup buyers looking for nothing more than a workhorse enjoyed the option.

In 1985, the Ranger sold about a quarter million units worldwide, thanks to a successful marketing campaign that focused on the truck’s versatile capabilities, courtesy of the frame construction and I-beam suspension.

Between 1987 and 1989, Ford embedded the Ranger with a 2.9-liter V6 engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Complete with sport bucket seats, the Ford Ranger GT gave buyers a performance-oriented option, although many found the offering a little bit peculiar.

Second-generation Ranger (1993 to 1997)

ford ranger

The design for the second generation Ranger was a far cry from the first. The major upheaval began with the grille size, which was reduced substantially, giving the façade a more streamlined look that aided the vehicle’s aerodynamics, according to the designers. Fender flares were added to give the sides a more beefy look. Aside from aesthetics, mechanical features relating to reliability and performance were also enhanced. Unfortunately, the truck’s fuel efficiency ratings suffered, partially due to the added weight of the new features.

Much like its F-series siblings, the Ranger got peppered with options, from six-disc CD changers to the “Splash” variant, another performance-oriented turn for the pickup. Aiming to be the truck for a wide range of customers, the Ranger sold more than 300,000 units per year between 1993 and 1995.

As mentioned, the Ford Ranger replaced the Ford Courier built by Mazda, but starting in 1994, a something surprising happened, and the tables were turned. That year, Mazda began selling a rebadged Ford Ranger as a Mazda B-Series. Though this series had different grilles than their Ford equivalents, it was basically the exact same truck inside and out. Mazda would continue to sell the Ford Ranger through 2004, after which they shifted the production of their B-Series truck to Isuzu.

Third-generation Ranger (1998 to present)

ford ranger

The previous generation of the current Ranger was endowed with more power than its predecessors and was given more versatility, offering features like an extended SuperCab. One of the most unique additions was a “suicide door”— a rear door hinged on the rear door pillar instead of the front. At the time, the Ranger was the only production model pickup truck to come with this feature.

Size-wise, the Ranger grew substantially wider, taller, and lengthier in the course of the 1998 redesign, but the hood line lowered and the rear window grew, allowing for improved visibility front and back. The entire front facade saw minor improvements, and the I-beam front suspension was replaced with the newer, and smoother, wishbone style suspension.

The Ford Ranger Raptor today

ford ranger raptor

Ford introduced the Ford Ranger Raptor for the 2019 model year, slotting it above the previously top-ranging Wildtrak package.

There’s no question that the Ford Ranger Raptor is one of the better pickup options in the Philippine auto market today. A seriously powerful and capable truck, the Raptor’s vibrant engine—a 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo Diesel (210hp, 500Nm)—makes it a veritable choice for any purpose for a pickup you can think of, and the 10-speed automatic transmission its mated to ensures shifting issues will be non-existent. Add to that the 4x4 system that comes with a shift-on-the-fly feature that lets drivers choose between 2WD and 4WD more easily, and you’ve got a truly versatile pickup in your hands.

2020 Ford Ranger Raptor creature comforts include navigation system, active park assist, smarter start button, voice-controlled SYNC 3, and a first-in-class tailgate lift assist that smoothens the drop of the tailgate, thereby easing the strain on the cables and hinge by preventing the gate from freefalling. Meanwhile, an 8-inch TFT touchscreen and leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls serve as the infotainment focal points for the entire cabin. Meanwhile, an 8-way power adjusted driver’s seat elevates driving convenience.

Needless to say, when it comes to buying a pickup, you can’t go wrong with this long-running pickup nameplate from arguably the most trusted American car brand.

Interested in shopping for a Ford Ranger Raptor? Check out what’s available here on Carmudi.

Photos from Ford

Also read:

2020 Ford EcoSport vs. the competition: Your other local subcompact SUV options

Car Comparison: 2020 Ford Territory vs. 2019 Mitsubishi Xpander

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