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REVIEW The new Ford Raptor is a lot of fun but comes at a price

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LOTS ON OFFER: The Raptor has it all, including a hefty price tag

LOTS ON OFFER: The Raptor has it all, including a hefty price tag

SPACIOUS: The Raptor can carry 620kg and is at its best off road

SPACIOUS: The Raptor can carry 620kg and is at its best off road

CABIN FEVER: The Raptor interior is glorious

CABIN FEVER: The Raptor interior is glorious

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LOTS ON OFFER: The Raptor has it all, including a hefty price tag

THIS was one of the most fun drives I’ve had in a long time yet I’d still find it hard to recommend the Ford Raptor to anyone. And this is why.

It may ooze power, strength, fun, safety and bucket loads of machismo but in reality it is very impractical for day-to-day use and when you see the asking price (which I will get to later) it is borderline absurd.

I know lots of people who would buy a double-cabin pick-up truck for work purposes but even they would scoff at a pimped-out version like this. They know all too well that within hours of driving it off the forecourt that it will be filled up with their filthy construction gear.

And despite the obvious gigantic boot space you get (you can carry 620kg) it is not a practical boot space for regular non-construction or non-agri folk, like the majority of us.

Case in point – our family trip to Tesco. Well actually, it was our journey back from Tesco when the groceries decided to take a tour of the cavernous space out back. Luckily, we had the foresight to put the fragile items at the kids’ feet in row two so nothing was lost or wasted.

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SPACIOUS: The Raptor can carry 620kg and is at its best off road

SPACIOUS: The Raptor can carry 620kg and is at its best off road

SPACIOUS: The Raptor can carry 620kg and is at its best off road

BUT…I still go back to my opening sentence. This is a lot of fun to drive. And it’s not just raw pedal-to-the-metal fun. It is enjoyable to drive to the shops and on the school run too. Obviously, it was a big hit with the kids because they almost need a step ladder just to get in.

By my calculations there are seven of these vehicles on the market today and in this Raptor I believe Ford have one of the best-looking ones. I should point out that the Raptor is a Ranger with attitude. It is the company’s ‘Performance’ sub brand which has trick suspension that delivers 30 per cent more travel than a standard Ranger.

There are no dodgy angles. It is gorgeous looking, no matter where you stand. It is big and fierce and oozes class. In fact, it is a shame it is such a niche vehicle because it is actually one of Ford’s best looking passenger cars. Perched up on 17”x 8.5” alloy wheels they almost look small but in truth act as a catalyst for making the vehicle itself look even bigger.

Powered by a 2-litre bi-turbo ‘EcoBlue’ diesel engine that uses a 10-speed automatic to deliver power to the rear or all four wheels depending on the driver’s selection, this tank has 213hp at your disposal but only a modest top speed of 170kph.

But with 500nm of torque it can tow a mind-boggling 2.5 tonnes and while the speed won’t win any races, that torque means it can maintain a hefty pace even on rugged terrain with a full load. In fact, it needs to be said that the Raptor far prefers being driven across fields, through forests and over construction sites. It eats bumps, ramps, potholes and pretty much anything thrown at it for breakfast.

But the beauty of this is that is smooth on motorways too. It gurgles and roars at everyone else on the road; it bullies other vehicles into submission.

Once you climb up to the cabin using the well-designed urban black chrome side-step you are greeted by the equally well-designed leather and suede Recaro sports seats. There is a giant ‘Ford Performance’ steering wheel, which has an unusual a red band at the 12 o’clock position (for the life of me I can’t figure out why).

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CABIN FEVER: The Raptor interior is glorious

CABIN FEVER: The Raptor interior is glorious

CABIN FEVER: The Raptor interior is glorious

Electric front seat adjustment (eight different ways) is standard, which is a good thing because very few people will feel right at home when you first get into this tank. It took me a few days to get the seat position right simply because the driver’s position is so uniquely elevated for a modern car. And in Ford’s defence I had just finished a week in the Suzuki Ignis, which is a universe away from everything to do with this bad boy.

There are seven different drive modes: Normal, Sport, Grass, Gravel, Snow, Mud & Sand and Rock mode – so you name it the Raptor can go anywhere, and ground clearance is 281mm. It can also wade through 850mm of water, if you ever need it.

Oh by the way…the shy and introvert types need not apply either. It was a head turner everywhere I went during my test week. And even though there is a rust orange paint option to really grab people’s attention, the ‘Conquer grey’ (an extra €900 by the way) didn’t do anything to make my test vehicle blend into its surroundings.

I was a hit on the road with both kids and parents; and I was constantly being gawked at in traffic. I am open to the idea that some of those gawkers thought I was a twat for driving such a vehicle on a school run but that’s okay.

This is not for everyone. And weirdly I find myself believing that this particular model is not even perfect for its double-cabin target market. It is too good for them. This wants to be looked after and a lot of people who ‘need’ one of these pick-up trucks will absolutely batter it once it is in use.

If, however, you are feeling flush and you have over €64k to spend on the closest thing to a monster truck that is technically street legal then you have your man right here. It has so much going for it but it is not practical for everyday use and if I was in construction I would be permanently nervous about scratching it as soon as I put my hammer drill or my con saw in the back. This too nice for any of that carry-on. It’s a show pony.

The Ford Ranger on the other hand starts from €32,295 (yes you read that right…half the price) and does a lot of what this does. That’s where I would send my recommendations to anyone looking for one of these giants.

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