When Ford announced a Raptor version of its hot new Ranger midsize pickup, the internet collectively started looking like the giant cave rave scene from the second "Matrix" movie, and that's not exactly a surprise. I mean, what could be cooler than a bi-turbodiesel midsize with gnarly Fox suspension and Terrain Management? How about one we'd get in the USA? Because as of now, Ford's has no immediate plans to get the baby Raptor in our hot little hands anytime soon.
Engine: So, Ford tells us that the Ranger Raptor will come with a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine when it hits overseas showrooms. That's itty-bitty, even compared to the diesel in the, which comes in at 2.8 liters. The second turbo is worth its weight in gold though, as the Ford mill outperforms the Chevy unit in terms of horsepower (210 vs. 181) and matches it for torque (369 pound-feet). The makes 278 horsepower from its gasoline-powered naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 and just 265 lb-ft of torque. The is in a whole other class with its EcoBoost V6 producing 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque, but it's a full-size truck, so it doesn't really count here, considering how much more mass it has to schlep around.
Suspension: This is where things get interesting. The makers of these trucks are throwing some serious development money at the suspension system to outdo one another in the desert silliness category.
The gold standard for high-speed off-road truck suspension has been the Raptor since it debuted in 2009. Its high-perf Fox Racing Shox allow it to soak up washboard and jumps that would cripple most other trucks. Ford knew that if it was going to slap the Raptor name on the Ranger that people were going to treat it just as heinously as its big brother, so they put in another call to Fox. The Blue Oval hasn't given us many specs on the smaller truck's setup, but we're betting it didn't skimp here, given the Ranger Raptor's quoted 11.1 inches of ground clearance and a 32.5-degree approach angle. For reference, the F-150 Raptor has 11.5 inches of clearance and an approach angle of around 30 degrees.
The Toyota TRD Pro's suspension also comes from Fox. Its system is slightly less belt and bracers than the units affixed to the Fords, but it still acquits itself admirably off-road. It's probably a little cheaper to replace, too, if you are overzealous with a jump and manage to somehow blow one out. Toyota switched to Fox from Bilstein recently, and while the Bilsteins of previous TRD Pros were good, the new setup is a world away in terms of quality. The TRD Pro gets 9.4 inches of ground clearance and a 29-degree approach angle.
When Chevrolet was designing the Colorado ZR2, it had the F-150 Raptor squarely in its sights, and Chevy knew that if its midsize was going to have a chance, then it had to beat the Raptor at its own game. Rather than do what everyone else did and phone up Fox, Chevrolet reached out to the Canadian nutjobs at Multimatic and had them design a DSSV suspension setup using Spool Valve shock technology, much like what is being used on the Ford GT and the Camaro ZL1 1LE. Spool valve technology allows for much more precise control of the damping curve of a shock and pays dividends off-road at high speed. The ZR2 has the least amount of ground clearance here, with just 8.9 inches, and the approach angle is decent at 30 degrees.
Electronics: The Fords both get a very helpful six-way Terrain Management mode, both of which come with everyone's favorite: Baja Mode. The ZR2 gets something like nine different powertrain configurations with its series of locking diffs and various two and four-wheel-drive modes, plus "Off-Road Mode." The TRD Pro receives Toyota's excellent Crawl Control system which works like off-road cruise control to get you slowly up or down just about any obstacle.
Price: This is what it all comes down to, eventually. Let's start at the top with the F-150 Raptor, which starts at just a hair under $50,000 and can quickly jump into the mid-60s with options. The Colorado ZR2 is cheaper, starting at around $42,000 but again, the options list is deep, and you're going to pay extra for the diesel. The Tacoma TRD Pro starts at around $41K with a manual transmission (the only truck available with one in this group), and there are no packages to add. You'd be able to push it into the mid-40s with accessories, but overall, this is the bargain out of the group considering we don't have pricing yet for the Ranger Raptor, though we'd expect it to start somewhere in the low $40,000 range.
Keep your eye on Roadshow for more details on the Ranger Raptor as they become available, because we're at least as excited about this truck as you are and we can't wait to get Emme Hall behind the wheel of one, should it come stateside.