Why Does Ford Refuse to Sell the Ranger Raptor in America?

Ford’s Raptor pickups are popular on both sides of the Atlantic. But North America only has the F-150 Raptor, and the UK and Europe the Ranger Raptor. Off-roading enthusiasts were hoping when the Ranger Raptor was first announced, that it would eventually find its way to NA. And thanks to Texas tuner PaxPower, you can buy a Ford Ranger Raptor (kinda). But it’s not the real thing. So why? Ford offers off-road Rangers like the Ranger RTR and Ranger FX2. Why won’t Ford sell the Ranger Raptor in America?

Diesel Engine Issues

The base Ranger’s engine options differ significantly between North America and the rest of the world. Here, the exclusive engine is a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Everywhere else, the only engines are available are diesels, reports Motor1.

That’s why the factory Ranger Raptor comes with a diesel. More specifically, it comes with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder that isn’t US-certified. The smallest diesel Ford offers in the US is the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 in the F-150.

That’s not to say a US-legal diesel Ranger Raptor is completely impossible. Motor1 has spotted Ranger diesel test mules in the US. Also, The Drive reports that Ford is allegedly testing Rangers equipped with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6. That engine is already US emission-certified, meaning a potential future US-spec Ranger Raptor could use it. The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 can be ordered with a diesel engine, so Ford does have some incentive.

Ford Ranger Raptor
Ford Ranger Raptor | Smith and Sniff

However, if Ford had brought the diesel Ranger Raptor to the US, the company would have had to go through emissions testing and modifications. Not to mention making sure the frame and body met all the required safety regulations. In an interview with Autoblog, Ford Performance boss Hermann Salenbauch that federalizing the Ranger Raptor would be fairly expensive. That’s additional costs added onto an already pretty expensive truck.

Ford Ranger Raptor: Pricey and Unnecessary

2019 F-150 Raptor
2019 F-150 Raptor | Ford

Arguably, cost is the biggest reason Ford didn’t bring the Ranger Raptor to the US. In the UK, the Ranger Raptor retails for the equivalent of $63,000—and that’s with one option, the paint. Meanwhile, the Colorado ZR2 starts at about $46k, and the full-size F-150 Raptor is just over $52,000. As Autoblog points out, most American consumers would see the relatively small price difference and just opt for the bigger truck.

In fact, having the F-150 Raptor in the US is another reason why we don’t get the Ranger Raptor. In an interview with Road & Track, Salenbauch’s predecessor Jamal Hameedi expressed his desire to make Raptors accessible around the world. Here in the US, that means we have the F-150 Raptor. Elsewhere, the Ranger Raptor.

But North America has the base Ranger now. And that leaves the door open for future possibilities.

Out with the Old, (Maybe) In With the New

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor
2019 Ford Ranger Raptor | Ford UK

In discussing future possibilities for a US-spec Ranger Raptor, Road & Track made note of a few things. For one, the current US Ranger comes fairly late in the global Ranger’s lifecycle. We know that Ford is already working on the mid-size pickup’s next generation. Making a special edition of a truck that’s already on its way out—especially one that had to be modified for sale here—makes little financial sense. But that doesn’t mean Ford couldn’t bring the next-gen Ranger Raptor here.

2019 Ford Ranger
2019 Ford Ranger | Ford

The company had also announced another pickup with a unibody design, and we’ve speculated that it could become a baby Bronco pickup. Road & Track’s discoveries actually lend some support to both that idea, and speculation of a future US Ranger Raptor. Both the next-gen Ranger and the upcoming Bronco are being designed by the same team. The team has actually been posting small details about their work on social media. Road & Track dove deep into these posts, and uncovered one engineer discussing something called ‘Project Redback.’

‘Project Redback’ was also Ford’s internal code name for the current Ranger Raptor project. Because the Bronco and next-gen Ranger are so closely tied, a US Ranger Raptor is at least plausible. And if the next-gen truck comes with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel, it’s already EPA-certified.

In short, Ford didn’t bring the Ranger Raptor to the US because it was expensive, unnecessary, and not US-emission-compliant. But that doesn’t mean the Blue Oval won’t bring the next one over here.