WITHIN the immediate vicinity of the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation’s (MRANTI’s) Outdoor Space in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, was where the latest offering from Sime Darby Auto ConneXion (SDAC) was sampled - the Ranger Raptor 2.0 Bi-Turbo Diesel pick-up truck.
Although iconic in its looks, the latest Ranger Raptor 4X4 to join the stable has yet to showcase any significant changes in the looks department, but then again, there aren’t any complaints - at least from this writer.
While this Ranger Raptor has been imbued with a sporty-masculine outlook, there’s much refinement accompanying it in the ride and handling department and the interior.
A minimalist approach would best describe the blacked-out cabin with its metallic dimpled inserts accompanied by suede on the dashboard and seats.
Matching body-coloured accents are found around the air vents, seats and stitches on the steering wheel with both tilt and rake adjustability to bring about a sporty aura and a reminder that this is no ordinary Ranger.
What’s impressive is the large portrait-oriented 12-inch touchscreen and 12.4-inch TFT multi-information display that delivers crisp details and graphics for great legibility that’s accompanied by a responsive touch experience.
A quick drive that included road and rougher terrain around the grounds of MRANTI revealed a rather plush suspension.
While riding on 17-inch alloys with 285/70 series All-Terrain BF Goodrich tyres, no complaints to be had thanks to the Ford performance-tuned Fox 2.5-inch Internal Bypass shock absorbers found up front that has been filled with Teflon-infused oil that’s said to reduce friction by about 50% as compared to the previous generation model.
The suspension provided for a highly supple experience when traversing over gravel surfaces, managing to mute any jolts from intruding into the cabin, and softening any landing when navigating off-road.
Inside, the cabin remains unruffled and there’s the low-riding camera system allows off-road enthusiasts to view the path ahead when navigating over large mounds - allowing for a view of the path ahead if the nose is pitched high up in the air.
Although the suspension can be said to be on the comfort side, this Ranger Raptor still allows for some good handling on dirt or tarmac especially so when tapping into the full extent of the twin-turbo diesel mill that punches out 210PS and 500Nm of torque.
With the engine being managed by a 10-speed automatic transmission, there’s nothing but smooth power delivery, unless in Baja mode which introduces some abruptness due to an almost immediate surge of power that’s quite an addictive experience.
Braking can be deemed as excellent on road-going surfaces as well as over rougher terrain and if this Raptor were to be going off-road, there’s the convenience of cruise control which can be set to crawl at low speeds.
Out on the roads, the Ranger Raptor will still be able to carve up corners but due to its high-profile all-terrain tyres, some pitch and roll will need some getting used to.
Again, due to the tyres, steering (with tilt and telescopic adjustabilities) may be slightly delayed yet it manages to remain somewhat responsive when being manhandled - a definite plus point here.
Overall, this Ranger Raptor’s power is always readily accessible and together with a highly compliant suspension, sharp-ish steering and strong brakes, it simply translates to an effortless drive in almost all situations.
Combining this with a feature-packed list for safety, comfort and convenience at RM248,888 (without insurance and road tax), it simply makes for a highly attractive package for pick-up truck fans.