Trucks

12-speed gearbox studied for Ranger Raptor, but 10 was just right

In a most fortuitous case of hand-me-down engineering, Ford has bestowed the F-150 Raptor's excellent 10-speed on its scrappy little brother, the Ranger Raptor.

Ford

When Ford broke the news of the new Ranger Raptor last week, we were pretty jazzed on the spec sheet. It took all of the great equipment from the Ranger FX4 that we saw in Detroit, and took it to Flavortown with flared arches and Fox Shocks and a twin-turbo diesel engine making one metric boatload of torque. Its choice of transmission was interesting, opting to give it the 10-speed auto out of its big brother, the F-150 Raptor, but it very nearly had 12 cogs!

"We actually did simulations during the exhaustive testing process for the optimum number of gear ratios for a rear-wheel drive truck of this size and power… we looked at seven speeds, nine speeds all the way up to 12 speeds, to see if -- from a performance perspective and an efficiency perspective -- what truly is optimal for the design," said John Fallu, transmission and driveline engineering manager for Ford Asia Pacific, in a statement to CarAdvice. "The ratios are very evenly steeped, so the total span is a 7.4 gear ratio span in the transmission for a less perceptible shift characteristic. What we were looking for is that uniform shift feel as you're going up through the gears."

The Ranger Raptor very nearly had a 13-speed gearbox.

Ford

Confirmation that the Ranger Raptor is getting the 10-speed is good news. The big Raptor's transmission is excellent. Ten speeds seems a little weird on paper, but in operation, the shifts aren't noticeable, so you don't feel like the truck is hunting for a gear all the time. It's also able to jump multiple gears, just in case you need to go from freeway cruise to maximum attack at the drop of a hat. The Terrain Management system that we saw in the big Raptor is also making its way into the Ranger version, and the various modes are tied quite closely to transmission function and gear availability.

The exciting thing about the inclusion of such a beefy, complex transmission is that in the Ranger Raptor, which produces less than 300 horsepower and less than 400-foot-pounds of torque, it is wildly over-specced. Keep in mind that this transmission has to deal with a much heavier truck that produces 450 hp and 510 lb-ft in F-150 Raptor trim. This would lead us to speculate that maybe Ford has something up its sleeve when it comes to later, more powerful engine options though, as CarAdvice.co.au found out, bringing that up to a Ford exec will get the subject changed quickly.

All of this is cool and super interesting, but allow us to burst your bubble, in case you forgot, because the Ranger Raptor isn't currently destined for the US. You're welcome to join us as we pout in a corner until Ford caves and gives us what American truck buyers so richly deserve.