Published on July 3rd, 2023 | by Subhash Nair


2022 Ford Ranger Raptor 3.0L V6 Twin-Turbo Petrol Review

The Ford Ranger Raptor 3.0L V6 is the petrol-powered sports truck a select few have been waiting for.

When it comes to the American market, pick-up trucks are essential to just about every major player. The pick up trucks there may confuse Malaysian buyers as they’re often a whole segment larger than what we already consider large. What’s more, they’re almost always sold with a large displacement petrol engine, which is essentially a non-existent offering in our market today. That is until Sime Darby Auto Connexion brought in the 2022 Ford Ranger Raptor with a 3.0L Twin Turbo V6 petrol motor.

We already loved what the original Ranger Raptor had to offer in 2019 with the 2.0L Biturbo diesel. In fact if that’s the engine you want, the new generation Ranger Raptor also comes with that motor as a cheaper option, launched just last month. However, we think this petrol offering elevates the experience significantly and is worth every penny, especially in Malaysia.

Petrol Powered Performance

It’s hard to overstate just how revolutionary it is to have a powerful petrol motor in a truck designed for performance. In the Ranger Raptor, the 3.0L V6 has twin turbochargers that deliver power quite linearly, building up to a crescendo with 293 horsepower at 5,650 rpm! Let’s see your diesel-powered truck rev that high! Of course, this truck is still expected to do some hauling and towing even if its customer base here will never put that functionality to use. As such, the enormous peak torque of 583Nm comes in relatively quickly at just 3,500rpm.

The figures are pretty astonishing, but it’s the sensation that really gets you here. The sounds of this V6 are just plain exciting and the exhaust note can be dialed in with some steering-mounted buttons. 0-100km/h in just 6 seconds puts the Ranger Raptor 3.0L V6 squarely in sportscar territory, even though you are sitting quite high up and with 2,430kg underneath you to manage.

Still, for all its weight and height excess, the Ranger Raptor is incredibly adept at handling itself. Just give it a wide enough berth and all that power and torque can be put to very good use. Ultimately, it’s physics that holds this sports truck from its true potential, but the built-in electronics and well-tuned suspension work go a really long way to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

What really comes as a surprise is the ride comfort. Pick-up trucks are famous for their juddery ride quality. Most are incapable of masking this, as the primary concern for the engineers is durability, ability to handle huge cargo loads and simplicity of engineering. The Ranger Raptor’s Fox Live Valve dampers make a world of difference in this regard. There’s nothing simple about the work put in here and we honestly doubt if any of Ford’s rivals from Japan can pull off anything quite as impressive.

I’m not going to go into depth with the regards to off-roading capability. I did not want to risk the Ranger Raptor test unit I had by putting it through anything rougher than an empty lot near the showroom. Ford has clearly gone above and beyond with its suspension work here and they’ve even programmed in quite a few different driving scenarios for the all-wheel drive system, throttle and stability control to work with. It’d all accessible through a rotary dial. The fact that Ford put in a Baja mode shows where the intention of the engineers were with this product. They created something that took the challenging outback of California and made it into the Ranger Raptor’s playground. I still think 10-speeds are a bit excessive, but there must be a reason Ford went this route and stuck with it.

Finally, there’s the authoritative driving character of this truck. In Malaysia, pick-up trucks are about the largest things you can legally drive with your class D driving license. However, almost every pick-up truck comes with a bit of a ‘working man’ quality to it. After all, most of them were designed for contractor, SME and agricultural use, then dressed up for the urban cowboy.

Looks Like A Leader

The Ranger Raptor does not feel that way at all. It feels like the ‘Land Cruiser’ of pick-up trucks. Yes, capable and with blue collared heritage, but dressed presentably, at ease with itself, genuinely techy, and athletic. It’s the most self-assured and authoritative pick-up truck I’ve ever driven. It’s so capable and boss-like that you don’t even have to drive fast. People move out of your way out of respect. It’s just so much fun to be behind the wheel of the thing.

This feeling of authority comes partly from the way the Ranger Raptor was designed. It builds on the same panels as the standard Ranger models and even shares the same daytime running light signature. However, just about every other thing got a bit of a treatment on this model. Even the decals have their own graphic to them.

The most significant design changes are the big old ‘FORD’ grille, flared fenders, the metal side steps, a bunch of functional vents on the hood and fenders, some contrasting trim colours and a set of Adaptive Matrix headlamps.

The roof rails have also been deleted and the rims are just 17” across as the tyres on the Raptor are thick 285/70 rubbers designed for all-terrain use.

It’s a rugged, high-tech exterior for sure. It’s also highly functional around back with the integrated bumper step, a three-pin power socket, 12V socket, various accessory mounts and an easy-lift tailgate. The big omission is a soft-open tailgate, which at least one of its Japanese rivals has had for some time.

Inside, you’ll only be disappointed if orange is your least favourite colour. Ford has decided to ditch the subtle blue contrast colour of the last Ranger Raptor and have gone all-in on orange. It leads to a very ‘youthful’ and ‘athletic’ design for the cabin that may not speak to many.

However, those looking for such an interior will be absolutely delighted with the level of quality and expertise in the execution. Ford went with a dual digital screen layout for the first time in any pick-up truck the region and we think it was the right decision. It’s full of slick animations, a few essential physical controls, and tough looking materials.

There is only one major complaint and that is the gear selector. It’s a drive-by-wire unit and it feels weightless, which is extremely counterintuitive in a truck that looks this tough. I found myself constantly going into the wrong gear as the ‘steps’ between each gear was just lacking in resistance. At the same time, the selector knob was designed for a relaxed wide open palm grip, which removes the nuanced control required for such precise shifting. Why did Ford go in this direction? Well, to make their auto-parking feature look doubly impressive.

The auto-parking feature in the Ford Ranger Raptor (like in the Everest) takes full control of the steering, throttle and even gear selector. That’s right, the car will physically move that gear selector from Drive to Reverse by itself when parking! Very impressive, but like I said, the trade-off is that it has become the one big complaint in an otherwise very impressive interior.

Value Is A Subjective Thing

Value for money is a tough thing to quantify. Objectively speaking, RM260,000 is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a truck that is manufactured in Thailand. You can save RM100,000 and get a top spec Japanese rival, sometimes with pocket change to spare. You’ll also save loads in fuel costs as the 3.0L V6 turbo was built to treat petrol like an unlimited resource.

However, I think RM260,000 is the perfect price tag for such a pick-up truck. In fact, I think it’s actually potentially amazing value for money to the right customer. You see, it’s obviously not the farmer or contractor that the Ranger Raptor is targeting. It’s not even the one-car-garage urban cowboy bachelor. The Ranger Raptor is for those with multiple cars in their household. These customers already have a practical daily that’s easier to park or that won’t intimidate the wife.

rear of the Ford Ranger Raptor 3.0L V6

They also probably already have something to ferry their entire family, domestic helper and aging parents around in. With these two boxes checked, the Ranger Raptor comes in as a perfect statement car for the middle-aged successful Malaysian who doesn’t particularly like low-to-the-ground coupes and doesn’t want to splurge on a run-of-the-mill BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

Think about it. The Ranger Raptor is cheaper than the base model 3 Series, yet infinitely rarer, noticeably faster, more versatile, and more of a ‘I made it in life’ car. It’s literally the best vehicle in its category while a 320i is seen as a first step into luxury motoring. So, yes. To the right customer, the 2022 Ford Ranger Raptor 3.0L V6 is an absolute no-brainer. You just need to have other cars to do more practical things.

2022 Ford Ranger Raptor 3.0L V6 Specifications

Engine: V6, 24-Valve, DOHC, Petrol, Twin Turbocharged
Capacity: 2,956cc
Gearbox: 10-speed Conventional Automatic
Max power: 293hp @ 5650rpm
Max torque: 583Nm @ 3500rpm
Price: RM259,888

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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