You\u2019d be forgiven for assuming most of Australia\u2019s automotive design and engineering talent had packed its bags and scattered around the globe. Car manufacturing went through a major global restructure and subsequently a lot of talent scattered to other pastures. But lurking on the outskirts of Melbourne, a group of highly skilled individuals have been working on something very special. That group is none other than Ford Asia Pacific\u2019s design team and that something special, is the Ford Ranger Raptor. The Raptor is a product of its environment in the truest sense of the phrase. Design director, Todd Willing, has previously worked on the Ford GT Supercar and \u201cMad Max\u201d interceptor concepts. And as I found out at the Asia Pacific launch up in Darwin, The Raptor doesn\u2019t fall far from the tree.\r\n\r\nAs first glimpses go, the Raptor casts an intimidating shadow. 5398mm of length, 2180mm of width, 283mm of ground clearance\u2026 if physicality was a numbers game, this thing would win the fields medal. But the Raptor isn\u2019t large for the sake of it, it\u2019s causality lies in its purpose; all terrain performance. \u00a0The front fenders are made from durable composite, flared to accommodate some stunning Fox Racing Shocks and Monstrous BF Goodrich Tread. The front bumper includes air-curtain ducts and that aggressive grill wears its brand loud and proud. Inside the cabin you\u2019ll find sports seats trimmed in suede, blue stitching and some magnesium paddle shifters that should hygienically resist the incoming flood of perspiration. Even at a standstill, you get a sense of durability and aggression, and whilst there was a lot of truck to take in, it was time to put the Raptor through its paces.\r\n\r\nDriving the 2.4 tonne beast through one of the Northern Territories largest cattle stations was something I won\u2019t forget in a hurry. Cruising along at 120 in the dirt almost felt like I was sitting on the autobahn (If it wasn\u2019t for the frequent dust clouds and wildlife). Torque was supplied in 500 ample doses and the 10-speed aluminium box (yes, 10) meant that you could fully utilize the pointy end of that curve. Once I arrived at the station, I was invited to turn on the taps, and that I did. The Raptor\u2019s Terrain Management System (TMS) includes a Baja mode (aka Baja Desert Rally) which sharpens up the steering and a tells the traction control to pipe down. Now, growing up on the outskirts of Tamworth, I\u2019d done some pretty \u2018spirited\u2019 off-road driving, but getting a truck airborne at 100 was not something I\u2019d ever experienced, and the Raptor made it look easy. A large part of this off-road wizardry is down to those race-bred suspension components. Fox Racing have provided Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) shocks all-round coupled with a Watt\u2019s rear linkage set-up. Whilst beautiful to look at, these components have been specifically engineered to tackle anything from Baja-style bush bashes to Soft sand slaloms. It\u2019s genuinely one of the most capable off-road production vehicles I\u2019ve ever driven.\r\n\r\nWhat about \u2018proper\u2019 four-wheel driving? I hear you ask\u2026 well, that\u2019s covered to. The claws on the Ranger Raptors are specially developed BF Goodrich All-Terrain KO2\u2019s that pack a sidewall stronger than Gennady Golovkin\u2019s jaw. The tyres are laced with tech claiming to resist splits and bruises and increase mud, snow & rock traction. Coupled with those mouth-watering Fox Racing shocks and you have a very gifted climber (and descender as it turns out). After an hour of constant abuse in the sand-pit, the Raptor didn\u2019t want to go home. This isn\u2019t all down to mechanical grip, the Terrain Management System does a fantastic job at managing drivetrain, braking and controlling hill descents. And as much as company\u2019s try and claim it, I think it\u2019s safe to bestow the title of \u2018all-rounder \u2018.\r\n\r\nIn pragmatic terms, the Ranger Raptor truly is a product if it\u2019s environments. It\u2019s design environment, seems to aptly embrace Todd Willing\u2019s duality of the Ford GT\u2019s momentousness with the rugged utility of Max Max. Its usable environment is harsh, unforgiving and extreme but the Raptor handles it reliably with a cheeky grin on its face.\r\nThere will inevitably be a few fans that want a little more \u2018 Veloci \u2018 in this \u2018 Velociraptor \u2018, \u00a0but you won\u2019t find many trucks quicker in the dirt once it digs it\u2019s claws in. It\u2019s a David Pocock of sorts; quiet most of the time, performances do the talking and fiercely strong once he burrows in. Will the Ranger Raptor be for everyone? Probably not. But if you have a property over 5 hectares, I think it should be a Federal offence not to own one.\r\n\r\nCheck it out\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHave you subscribed to\u00a0Man of Many? You can also follow us on\u00a0Facebook,\u00a0Twitter,\u00a0Instagram, and\u00a0YouTube.