Ford's tough new Ranger Raptor has some hard yards ahead of it, if our latest poll is anything to go by.
Revealed earlier this month, the Raptor debuts as the new hero model in Ford's popular Ranger line-up, more than two years after we first spied an early prototype in local testing.
The Raptor benefits from a host of mechanical enhancements to improve its off-road capability, along with a wider track, pumped and flared guards, and a number of cosmetic tweaks.
Why, then, has the Ranger Raptor achieved only a 32 per-cent approval rating from just over 1800 votes?
Driving the Ranger Raptor is a new 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine delivering 157kW of power and 500Nm of torque. While Ford's engineers are adamant the Raptor will impress, some punters - particularly those familiar with the powerful F-150 Raptor offered overseas - are not happy.
“The main intent of the Raptor DNA is to have a very sharp throttle response, and we think with this product that we’ve achieved that through our engineering, and especially in combination with our 10-speed auto transmission," diesel engine chief engineer Roland Ernst told CarAdvice.
“By combining the boost control with the smaller HP turbocharger sequentially with the larger LP turbo for the higher power, we think we’ve got a very responsive engine, a very powerful engine and a very tough engine.”
Performance chief Jamal Hameedi went one further, driving home the point that the Ranger Raptor program was only ever about the chassis.
“The Raptor is about the suspension, it’s about the chassis and it’s about breaking the bank on the entire architecture and platform that this vehicle is built on," he said.
“Quite literally, those four shock absorbers from Fox Racing Shox cost as much as a small engine, and that’s not an exaggeration, either."
As a point of comparison, the F-150 Raptor is powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V6 that generates anywhere from 280-336kW and 637-691Nm of torque, depending on variant.
That too is a downgrade in cylinder count, with the previous range featuring a hero SVT Raptor at the end of its life with a 306kW/588nm 6.2-litre V8. The new six is overall a more powerful unit, though.
Regardless of our poll (which is by no means a definitive measure of anything), Ford is confident the Raptor will help to push Ranger 4x4 sales further beyond the Toyota HiLux.
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THIS WEEK'S POLL
This week, we've thrown the new Toyota Supra out for your assessment. These images may not prove to be the real deal, but they're certainly close. What do you think of the styling? Vote below!