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Raptor Rapture: A Short Drive with the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor

We were at the JSK Auto Fun Run 8, waiting for the convoy to start rolling. We were wondering what the fuzz was all about. Why were a lot of people attracted to our red 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor?Perhaps it has something to do with the widened front and rear fenders. Perhaps it’s all that aggression with that large grill and a mean-looking bumper. Perhaps it has something to do with those blacked-out 17-inch wheels and those meaty BF Goodrich all-terrain tires. Perhaps it’s the taller ride height. Perhaps it’s those headlights with those sinister-looking LED DRLs that look like they’re about to strike.Whatever it was, we were perplexed. And then someone finally had the nerve to approach us to ask a question: When did you get your Raptor? It was then we realized that those people who gave us envious looks were waiting for their Raptor. Some of them felt it unfair that we get one ahead of everyone else.We don’t blame them. The exterior of this beefed-up Ranger is, well uh, very beefy. And very macho. You know how we Filipinos like macho-looking vehicles. Inside, the interior has a new look, nice ergonomic seats, a leather-wrapped thick steering wheel with a red band at the top center, and “Raptor” badges all around. It’s as if you’ll ever forget that you’re in anything but a top-of-the-line high-performance Ford Ranger.Step on the gas pedal and its new 2.0-liter bi-turbo EcoBlue 4-cylinder diesel engine provides a smooth thrust not common in tall, mid-sized pickup trucks. The twin turbos force huge amounts of air into the engine to churn out 211 horsepower and 500 Newton-meters of torque. The 10-speed automatic transmission shifts seamlessly when left alone, but it can unleash the beast when shifted manually through the paddle shifters. On the highway, the coil springs-equipped rear suspension eliminates the choppy ride often associated with tall pickups while Fox Racing dampers all around further improve comfort and control on the road.We didn’t have time to test the Raptor’s off-road prowess or play with its new Terrain Management System but we saw what it can do. We know it’s a really capable hi-performance truck that deserves its Raptor badges. Besides, we’re guessing that majority of Raptor owners won’t be taking theirs on a hardcore flying Baja or Safari drive. The farthest off-road some of local Raptor owners may go on is the grassy strip in a crowded parking space.With an SRP of P1,898,000, we think the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor is a bargain. You’d be hard-pressed to replicate all the engineering that went into its suspension and power train with a lesser pickup, especially those being advertised with a catchy name, a lot of graphics, and not a lot of real performance. We’re pretty sure the Raptor will have these pretenders for lunch.