By Reon Pillay
Johannesburg – Ever since I drove the Ford Ranger Raptor in 2020, I have been longing to get behind the wheel of this bakkie again. For the past month, I was fortunate enough to meet my “old friend” and get into the new Ford Ranger Raptor SE, which in my opinion, is the best bakkie out there.
The addition of the legendary Ford GT stripes is a small cosmetic change but this makes a huge, bold difference. The SE has the black sports hoop which I think was lacking on the standard Raptor. The addition of the red recovery hooks in the front also elevates the rough look of this bakkie.
The new colour variants in the SE range are limited, which make this bakkie stand out from the crowd. The Ranger Raptor’s purpose-built sports seats include unique headrests, enhanced bolsters and suede inserts for better body grip when driving off-road
Using The FordPass App
It's always fun connecting the new Ford Ranger to the FordPass app. Before getting started, you need to give the vehicle a name and after much thought, I went with Papa Smurf.
One of the coolest features on the app was starting the vehicle from my smartphone, which is so useful for cold Joburg mornings. The app has a memory feature and will start exactly the way it was switched off so just imagine a cold winter's morning and you get in with the seat warmer on – luxury personified!
Before I got to test the Raptor SE, the vehicle was due for its first service and using the FordPass App, I located the closest Ford dealership, called in and made a booking. Even beasts need their pampering.
Something that I was not aware of was that Ford dealerships now offer an express service. You get a dedicated service advisor along with 6 express technicians who ensure your Ford is fully serviced and ready to go in just one hour.
Living The Ranger Life
I’ve always wondered what this actually means and recently I found out how true this is. When you get closer to the weekend, all you think about is where you are going next.
Should we go on tar roads or off-road? Well, with the Ford Raptor you can do both. I headed off to Bronkhorstspruit Dam, which is about 80km from me, for a day visit. Nice four-lane, open highways but when I got to the entrance of the dam, my eyes lit up seeing that the drive to the fishing spots was still wet and muddied up from the previous week's heavy rains.
I looked for the furthest spot from the entrance and the Raptor eased through the mud. Once the four-wheel drive settings were on, I tried to drive as far as possible before I started fishing. The precise tread pattern, longer tread life, and tougher side walls on All-Terrain tyres which are standard on the new Ranger Raptor, say “bring it on” – no matter what type of terrain you plan on engaging.
The next week I drove down to KZN to attend my brother's wedding in Pietermaritzburg.
Now I know the first thought that comes to mind when you see a bakkie of this size, what the F cost is going to be, living in the times that we do. Yes, it does cost a bit to fill up nowadays as it has a 80-litre fuel tank but from my past experience in the Ford Raptor, I knew the trip would not break the bank, averaging only 9.5 litres/100km at an average of 1 700rpm.
I also love the 2.0-litre twin turbo and 10-speed automatic transmission. Quick, effortless changes; you reach your desired speed with no hassles, considering the weight it carries. I reached my destination, 490km later, with half a tank to spare. The Raptor felt perfect for the open road.
I am now probably the biggest fan of the Ford Ranger Raptor SE. It's a bakkie that ticks all the boxes in terms of off-road capabilities, space, power and most of all, the look. In my opinion, this is the best bakkie South Africa has to offer right now. And yes, it comes with a hefty price tag but with the amount of respect the Raptor commands on our streets, it is worth it.
The Raptor SE comes with a 4-year/120 000km warranty, 3-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and 5-year/unlimited kilometre corrosion warranty. A 6-year/90 000km service plan is included which covers six services.
Price: R965 300