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Managing director of Sime Darby Auto Connexion, Syed Ahmad Muzri Syed Faiz (right) with managing director of Sime Darby Motors Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan, Dennis Ho pose with the new Ranger Raptor (centre) and Ranger lineup. (NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH)

FORD introduced an impressive list of new technology and features in the new Ranger pick-up truck line-up which include a 2.0-litre biturbo diesel engine that produces 213PS of power and 500Nm of torque, 10-speed gearbox, semi autonomous driving technology and pedestrian detection system.

Many of these features are making their debut in the pick-truck segment and will make some of the Ranger variants the best specified competitor in the mudpit.

The Ranger will appeal to abroad base of customers with eight standard variant together with the Raptor as standard-bearer.

While the Raptor is offered as a variant of the Ranger, the changes are so significant that it could almost be thought of as a competition version of the practical pick-up truck.

When it is officially launched at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show, the Raptor will set the bar on several fronts including performance, price and perception of what a pick-up truck can be.

Ford Ranger interior (NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH)

Specified with a bespoke strengthened chassis, aggressive wide-body and Fox competition coil-over dampers, the Raptor is likely to set a new ceiling price for showroom pick-up trucks. There are whispers that the tag will breach the RM200,000 mark by some margin, making it a genuine premium product.

While that estimated price may be seen as excessive by some, the Raptor nameplate is a genuine legend in the off-road world, striking fear into the competition with its impressive list of street and racing credentials State-side, not least of which is the fact that it the child if Ford Special Vehicles Team, the company Skunk Works for high performance vehicles.

Legends that have rolled out of the SVT works include Mustang Cobra, Ford GT90 and the Blue Oval's current supercar offering, the GT.

While the Raptor does not hold any power advantage over the Wildtrak 4x4 that is also powered by the new Duratorq Ecoblue Panther 2.0-litre twin turbo engine, the heavily reworked chassis gives it a clear leadership position not just among its siblings but within the compact pick-up truck market globally.

Ford Ranger Raptor truck bed. (NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH)

The wider stance of the Raptor hints at the dramatic surgery that transformed the bones of this vehicle from a tradesman special into a Baja special.

The Raptor is not engineered for rock crawling or mudplugging, instead it was born to attack fast off-road tracks at breakneck speeds.

The tasty Fox Racing shocks feature internal bypass that allows for longer suspension travel. The rear even has an external bottle to allow even more extreme suspension travel.

In other words this high performance vehicle is well suited for brisk mile munching on the highway.

Watch out for our review of it soon.

Moving down a notch we find the Wildtrak 4x4 which shares the Raptor's power train, and gets advanced driver assistance that makes it a semi autonomous vehicle.

At the heart of this system is the adaptive cruise control system which scans traffic in front of the car and slows it down if three cart in front is travelling slower than the cruise speed set in the Wildtrak.

It also comes with Lane Keeping Assist, a system that can read lane markings and detect if the vehicle is wandering off.

Art first it buzzes to remind the driver bury if no action is taken then the system would gently tug on the steering wheel to bring the car back into lane.

This suite of advanced driver assistance includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection and autonomous emergency braking.

The new Duratorq Ecoblue Panther 2.0-litre twin turbo engine. (NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH)

Another unique feature is the easy- lift tailgate which employs a pair of torsion beams to reduce the strength needed to lift and close the rear opening.

The Wildtrak 2x4 and XLT+ shares three basic engine block with the Raptor and Wildtrak 4x4 but they lose a turbocharger.

The loss of the second forced induction unit means a deficit of 30PS of power and 80Nm of torque. Thankfully both retain the 10-speed gearbox.

Three lower variants have to contend with the older 2.2 litre Puma engine which cranks 160PS and 385 Newtons, very respectable workhorse numbers.

All Rangers have a maximum load capacity off one tonne and can tow 3.5 tonne.

Prices of the Wildtrak variants start at RM134,888 while the XLT+ commands RM124,888.

The XLT models begins at RM109,888, meanwhile the base XL versions can be purchased from as low as RM90,888.

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