Can this hunky Ford truck find an audience in urban Singapore?
Trucks have never really been a thing here in Singapore. They’re often seen as utilitarian delivery route appliances whose real job is to carry large amounts of goods or produce from one point to another. Lifestyle trucks? That’s something that sounds pretty alien in our landscape.
But we’ve had some pretty cool trucks come and go in our automotive landscape before, and in larger countries they would have been classed as excellent all-purpose vehicles.
Which brings us to Ford’s latest offering here in Singapore. The Ranger Raptor. It’s a twin-cab truck with 213 horsepower and plenty of high performance add-ons.
Wait, a high-performance truck?
It’s not as crazy as it sounds, especially if you’re American, which has an entire driving culture built around trucks and off road driving. The Raptor branding is used by Ford on its high performance trucks, and the Ranger Raptor is a fully decked out version of the base model Ford Ranger twin-cab truck, which can be bought here for $132,888 with COE. The Raptor version here goes for an additional $35k, which brings its price up to $177,888.
That’s quite a bit of dough to lay down for a commercial light goods vehicle, but the Raptor looks nothing like a delivery truck, and is like nothing else on the roads of Singapore today.
The huge tyres on 17-inch wheels give the truck’s ladder frame 239mm of ground clearance, a bold, black front intake grille with ‘Ford’ sculpted across it feeds air into the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder twin-turbodiesel engine. While 213hp doesn’t sound like much for a 2,435kg truck, there’s 500Nm of torque from just 2,000rpm, making the Ranger Raptor a pretty punchy truck. Plus, it has a 10-speed automatic gearbox and electronically selectable 4-wheel drive transfer case with differential locks to eliminate wheelspin on sand.
It’s not fast on prolonged sprints, but is torquey enough to pull off short bursts of immediate acceleration when you plant your right foot down.
Inside the spacious cabin you’ll find contoured, suede backed seats, an instrument cluster that looks more at home in a sports car than a truck, along with a chunky leather steering wheel with a red band stitched at the 12-o’clock position. It’s another detail used in sports vehicles to have a visual guide on where the wheels are pointing at any moment.
The back seats are spacious even for three passengers, but there’s little in the way of additional creature comforts besides the plush seats and commanding high view you get out of the large windows.
There is a proper three-pin electric power socket in the back seat and additional ones along the side of the flatbed, so you could really drive this off the grid and camp anywhere you feel like.
Outside, additional decals with bold graphical elements and matte black step boards set the truck apart from its base model sibling.
Here’s the thing though, because of the flatbed, the Ranger Raptor can only be registered as a commercial vehicle in Singapore, which means it uses the same ‘G’ license plates as any other pickup truck. Which also makes it illegal to drive it at anything faster than 70km/h.
The speed limit beeper fitted permanently chimes in every time the truck creeps over 70km/h.
Rolling along at or less than 70km/h is reasonable for most regular pickup trucks, but this is a twin-turbo truck with a 10-speed gearbox. We didn’t get to go that quickly but cruising comfortably at 90km/h should present no challenges. Actually, at the truck’s legally mandated speed limit on the highway, the gearbox is only in seventh gear. There are still three unused forward gear ratios.
We think that this truck is so far ahead of the curve that LTA has some catching up to do, again.
It’s fairly car-like to drive and does feel like a very big, comfortable SUV on the move, but it’s also a serious off road vehicle with sequential paddle shifters and a low-range 4WD mode for serious climbing. On tarmac though, the 2WD mode, which makes it a rear-wheel drive truck, or even 4WD high-range mode is where the dial is typically left at. 4WD does offer a traction advantage at the expense of fuel economy though.
The Ford Ranger is Southeast Asia’s best-selling truck and we can see why. In its base model form it’s competent, but the Raptor variant really takes things to the next level as a sports and lifestyle truck.
The only real competition here for the Ranger Raptor comes in the form of the Jeep Gladiator, another vehicle styled for the same aspirations. The Jeep is a much quicker drive in a straight line, and has arguably less muscular styling against the brawny Ranger. But the real question is, can you justify buying a $170k ‘G’ plate truck, even if it is the toughest looking mudder in Singapore right now?
Ford Ranger Raptor
|Engine||1,996cc, twin-turbo diesel in-line 4|
|Power||213hp at 3750rpm|
|Torque||500Nm at 2000rpm|
|CVES Band / CO2||B / 233g/km|
|Price||$177,888 with COE|
|Verdict||Tough and comfortable come together in this awesomely packaged truck, but it’s handicapped by local commercial vehicle regulations|