Will Ford Keep Going With New Raptor Models?
Ford has taken the Raptor trim and ran with it. The Ford F-150 Raptor is one of the sportiest pickup trucks on the market. Loosely based on a desert racer, the F-150 Raptor earned its predatory name. Then the Raptor name made it to the new Ford Bronco. Ok, we still see the play there. But what if Ford keeps going? What if Ford takes the Raptor to the expressly average Ford Explorer? Short of some great Jurassic Park puns, that might be taking it a bit too far.
Is Ford making an Explorer Raptor?
MotorTrend was curious about the same question, and while there is no reason to believe Ford is actively working on such an SUV, MT still went down the rabbit hole on this one.
Despite that idea feeling a little silly, the thinking isn’t bad. MotorTrend figured since Ford has already made the Timberline off-road trim, maybe they could take that design mixed with the newly updated Chinese version with a new front fascia. The two models mushed together could make for a reasonable facsimile of a new performance Ford Explorer model. The renders of this fantasy Explorer Raptor are cool and even a little bit convincing.
Ford is interested in soft-roading
The Timberline Explorer shows where Ford’s head is at. Hell, it seems like every automaker these days wants to build an “off-road” version of everything. Lamborghini has even done it. It makes sense, though. Most people who buy actual off-roaders barely take their 4x4s anywhere muddy. What makes Ford think people will take an AWD SUV with semi-all-terrain tires? Ford knows they won’t, but adding some cool paint colors, a slight lift, and black wheels make people feel like they could go off-roading, and that’s enough to scratch the itch for many drivers.
While soft-roading trims are massively popular these days, they are still a far cry from the Raptor. It’s fair to say the Raptor trim is a different bird. But why would Ford ever pick the Explorer or even an Expedition? Aside from slightly more adventurous trims, the Expedition Timberline already borrows the Raptor’s high-output EcoBoost V6. While that clearly isn’t enough on its own, MotorTrend explains that it’s only a (massive) suspension and likely frame upgrade away from taking a shot at the F-150 Raptor’s all-terrain chops.
But the Explorer?
At least the Expedition is a body-on-frame SUV; the Explorer has fully crossed over into Crossover territory with its unibody design. In general, this is not a great recipe for an off-roader. Turning the Ford Explorer into a dune-jumping Raptor mobile requires a good bit of mental gymnastics and is probably a pretty bad, or at best, a pretty unnecessary idea. However, it is a fun thing to think through.
MotorTrend is right; making the Ford Expedition Raptor would be much simpler, and maybe, given the times, even make more sense than trying to shoehorn the Explorer into a desert racer. No matter what, though, it’s fun to think this way because, for the first time in a long time, it seems that the market is calling for more high-performance off-roaders (whether anyone is actually using them is a different story). This allows us to do some dreaming without feeling completely insane for asking, “What if….”