Don’t expect a road-biased version of the 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor, as the brand sticks to an off-road focus…for now – Auto News

Ford has canceled speculation that the new Ranger Raptor will produce a luxury highway version to sell alongside the focused off-road version.

Reports are starting to circulate that the company was considering a flagship GT or Lariat version of the new Raptor, which has a similarly aggressive design but with increased luxury features and a retuned suspension system that offers more steering, handling and a car-like ride, plus more road-friendly tires.

The goal was to expand the appeal of the Ranger Raptor to urban truck buyers who are looking for something with greater comfort, better dynamic performance and high-level technology features without this ultimate all-wheel drive capability.

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While Ford says the new Ranger Raptor is the most effective luxury off-road pickup and the most effective off-road pickup to wear the now-popular Ford Performance brand, it has chosen to focus on the former attribute because that’s what consumers expect first and foremost…the least at the moment.

“We don’t have any customers back, and we haven’t identified that yet as a sub-segment of customers who want this type of product,” said Ian Foston, Ford Australia’s head of engineering.

“But we always keep listening… we keep talking to our customers and we understand if this is something they would like.

“And if this becomes a subsector that we think is an opportunity, we’ll look at it in the future, but so far that’s not something we’ve looked at.”

When asked to offer — as a first step — a more road-biased tire than the new BF Goodrich K02 T285/70R17 All-Terrain Ranger Raptor 17-inch tire, Mr. Foston thinks the standard rubber specification offers the best compromise.

“I think the BF Goodrich tire we chose – specifically the KO2 because of its all-around ability – is not only good on rough material and obviously very durable, but it also gives great grip not only in acceleration and deceleration but also during cornering.

Combined with the two-speed electronic transfer case and permanent all-wheel drive we now have in the Raptor, the vehicle’s actual on-road capability is now just as good.

“So, in terms of traction on the road, regardless of the road conditions, even on wet roads, with a permanent torque vectoring all-wheel drive system, it puts performance in the part of the car that really needs it, as well as the ESC systems already providing a great deal of control over the road. All conditions, whether on or off-road.

“We are glad we had the right balance in terms of choosing the right tires. There was really no other choice for us in terms of what we thought was the right tire for the job – and that is for off-road as well as off-road.”

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