During our first drive of the Ford Ranger Raptor in the Australian outback (more of which you'll read about in the coming days), we were finally able to get a chance to talk to the engineers and executives from Ford who had a major role in the development of the Baja-inspired performance truck.
Amidst all the in-depth presentations and test drive activities that really showed us what the Ranger Raptor was all about, we had to ask them the question: can all this be applied to make a Raptor version of the Ford Everest?
As you may well know, the Everest is Ford's seven-seat SUV that shares its chassis and many of its mechanicals and systems with the Ranger. The first details of the new Ford Everest have surfaced, and the top spec models actually have the exact same bi-turbo 2.0L diesel engine as the Ranger Raptor.
The general answer we got from Trevor Worthington (Ford's Vice President for Product Development in Asia Pacific) is yes... sort of.
“All the basic elements are there, but it would take a lot of work.” answered the senior Ford executive that has presented most of the brand's major models during the press drives.
The Ranger Raptor is a result of 4 years of conception, development, and testing, and the measures that the Ford Performance team took to make it better go beyond merely putting in a new engine, putting on a body kit, and installing a set of Fox racing dampers.
Turning an Everest into a “Raptor” will not just be about getting the sum of all the Ranger Raptor's parts and installing them because the changes go right to the frame. Their vehicle team had modified the frame to take a lot of abuse, as evidenced by a variety of reinforcing brackets that had been welded into the frame. The seam welding on the chassis, the wider track (with forged upper front arms and cast lower arms), the extra brackets on the shock mounts, all have designed to provide a frame that can take all kinds of abuse off-road and at speed.
We pressed further, asking the senior Ford exec if they would develop a 'Raptor' version of the SUV, especially since interest in the Everest in the Philippine market is far greater than its pick-up brother, the Ranger.
“If there's demand for an Everest 'Raptor', I don't see why not,” said Worthington.
The Ford VP for Product Development stressed that the demand for such a model has to be bigger than one or two countries for them to consider developing an Everest “Raptor”. The primary reason that Ford spent a lot of money developing and producing the Ranger Raptor was because it was intended from the start to be a global product that can be available to most (if not all) of the markets that Ford is present in.
If a 7-seat Everest 'Raptor' is on your wish list, let them know. They do listen after all.