2019 Hennessey VelociRaptor Ford Ranger first drive evaluation: Nearly well-known

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At a look, the Hennessey VelociRaptor appears to be the reply to a query many have requested: When will we get a Ford Ranger Raptor within the US? Ford sells a hard-core, off-road model of its midsize Ranger pickup in different nations, however has no plans to supply this decidedly badass truck on American soil (but). Fortunately, what the Blue Oval denies, Hennessey gives. However perhaps do not attain in your checkbook simply but.

Increase, child, enhance

Texas-based Hennessey Efficiency is aware of a factor or two about tuning Ford vans. The corporate builds a number of go-fast variations of the F-150, in addition to the already-bonkers, fullsize F-150-based Raptor. Right here, the Ranger’s 2.3-liter turbocharged I4 will get an influence bump, too, because of new engine administration software program and a high-flow air consumption. The result’s a wholesome 360 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque — features of 90 and 130, respectively, over the inventory pickup. Hennessey says this shaves greater than two seconds off the Ranger’s acceleration time, with 60 miles per hour arriving in a scant 4.9 seconds. That is as fast as a base Porsche 718 Cayman.

The Ranger’s 10-speed computerized gearbox carries over unchanged. I discover this transmission to be a pleasant match for the inventory engine, however it appears a bit dimwitted when tasked with delivering the VelociRaptor’s additional energy. Peak torque arrives at 3,800 rpm, so there’s some lag off the road, and the transmission is a bit too wanting to upshift as you dig into the center of the powerband.

Even so, the VelociRaptor will get up and goes with noticeable gusto, and its stainless-steel cat-back exhaust provides it a mightier roar because it rips down the highway. The added energy is admittedly, actually superior; the usual Ranger feels lots fast by itself, however this one is downright hilarious. On pavement, the VelociRaptor’s trip is cushier than the usual Ranger’s, because of these big BF Goodrich 285/70R18 tires and their hefty sidewalls. However, suggestions via the steering wheel takes a success, and people tires produce much more highway noise, too. Par for the course in a truck like this.

Off-road weaknesses

Sadly, this VelociRaptor makes use of Hennessey’s Stage 1 suspension tune, which merely raises the trip peak by 4 inches in an effort to accommodate these all-terrain tires. Peek behind the wheels and you may see the identical shocks as a 2019 Ranger FX4 — completely fantastic for the occasional dusty path or mud pit, however not the subtle Fox setup Ford suits to the F-150 Raptor.

On the tough fireplace roads heading into the Rowher Flats OHV park north of Los Angeles, I discovered the VelociRaptor has a tricky time dealing with the numerous ruts and whoops. Coming into a ragged nook at pace, the brief shock journey means I am hitting the suspension’s bump stops all too continuously. Plus, if I do not flip at a super-wide angle, the entrance tires will rub towards the fenders. Airing down the tires will add a bit extra cushion for the pushin’, however the lack of shock journey right here is the principle (and main) concern.

The Stage 1 suspension improve consists of a four-inch carry and… that is it. The shocks carry over from the inventory Ranger FX4.


Drew Phillips/Hennessey Efficiency

Because of the four-inch carry, the VelociRaptor has elevated method, breakover and departure angles, making it extra agile alongside slower-speed trails or whereas scaling rocks. The VelociRaptor makes use of the usual Ranger FX4’s four-wheel-drive system, with a excessive and low ranges, in addition to a locking rear differential. The VelociRaptor is greater than prepared to climb up and over no matter’s in entrance of you, however once more, the shortage of considerable suspension upgrades means the truck cannot deal with any severe articulation.

Contemplating the Raptor title is synonymous with high-speed, off-road working — the F-150 Raptor has a drive mode known as “Baja,” for Christ’s sake — the truth that the VelociRaptor isn’t any extra succesful than a inventory Ranger in lots of off-road facets is disappointing. Certain, it might probably negotiate gradual climbs with a bit extra ease, however a Jeep Wrangler or Gladiator will do it higher.

To its credit score, Hennessey says this Stage 1 suspension tune will not be the one one accessible on the VelociRaptor Ranger. “We are going to supply a Stage 2 and Stage Three with upgraded shocks with distant reservoir,” firm founder and CEO John Hennessey informed me. This is hoping this helps.

The VelociRaptor is predicated on the Ranger Lariat, which means you get leather-based, heated seats, in addition to Ford’s full Sync Three infotainment system inside.


Drew Phillips/Hennessey Efficiency

Ferocious facade

Nonetheless, the Hennessey VelociRaptor actually appears the a part of a Ranger Raptor, with its huge fender flares, particular 18-inch wheels and entrance LED mild bar (a second, roof-mounted row of sunshine bar can be included, however not fitted to the truck pictured right here). Distinctive entrance and rear bumpers are a pleasant contact, and neatly accommodate the Ranger’s parking sensors.

I truly assume the VelociRaptor appears superior, particularly in black. It isn’t fairly as cohesive because the not-for-US Ford Ranger Raptor, however this factor actually garnered a variety of consideration, each on the off-road park, in addition to on my approach to In-N-Out for a post-photoshoot burger.

Inside, the VelociRaptor is almost similar to the totally loaded Ranger Lariat mannequin on which it is based mostly, with heated leather-based seating surfaces and myriad consolation and comfort options. You even get Ford’s Sync Three infotainment system, full with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The one VelociRaptor-specific adjustments are the Hennessey embroidering on the headrests and the serial quantity plaque beneath the central touchscreen.

With 360 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, the VelociRaptor is noticeably faster than a normal Ranger.


Drew Phillips/Hennessey Efficiency

It ain’t low-cost, both

All informed, the Hennessey VelociRaptor Ranger prices $64,950, which incorporates the value of a donor Ranger FX4 Lariat. Hennessey says you possibly can supply the truck your self, if you want, and the VelociRaptor improve prices $19,950, not together with getting the truck to and from the corporate’s Sealy, Texas headquarters. The VelociRaptor Ranger is even accessible via plenty of Ford sellers — John Hennessey tells me one in every of his Tennessee-based sellers is “sending 20 of the brand new Rangers to us to improve to our VelociRaptor Ranger spec.” No matter the way you go about getting the VelociRaptor, the improve comes with its personal three-year/36,000-mile guarantee.

The factor is, $65,000 is a heck of some huge cash to spend on one thing like this. Certain, the VelociRaptor Ranger is noticeably faster, however it’s solely ever-so-slightly extra succesful off highway. For those who’re hoping for some honest-to-goodness desert working, the $43,995 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is likely to be extra your pace. And remember, a base Ford F-150 Raptor is available in a full $12,000 lower than this Hennessey Ranger, too.

I do not doubt that many of the people who plunk down for one in every of these are doing so as a result of they’re prioritizing it as a present truck above all. And I am going to admit, on the floor, the Hennessey VelociRaptor is fairly rad. I will be keen to check it once more as soon as the Stage 2 and three suspension upgrades come on-line. Till then, I am going to proceed to lust for the correct Ranger Raptor from afar.

It might have weaknesses, however the VelociRaptor actually appears badass.


Drew Phillips/Hennessey Efficiency

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