We were big fans of the brilliantly silly Ford Ranger Raptor when we first tried it in Morocco last year, so any part of it being used on a ‘lesser’ version of the Blue Oval’s global pick-up sounds like good news on paper. The only thing is, the Raptor component Ford has put into the third-generation Ranger Thunder is one of the few things we weren’t so keen on - the 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine.
It felt lethargic in the Raptor, but hopefully, it should feel peppier in the Thunder, given that it’ll have about 250kg less bulk to cart around. Also, there’ll be a lot less in the way of rotational mass since it doesn’t use hilarious 33-inch off-road tyres like the Raptor does.
The derv lump is good for 210bhp and 369lb ft of torque and as is the case with the Raptor, that’s sent to the wheels - the rears or all four, depending on how the all-wheel drive system is set - via a 10-speed automatic gearbox.
To set it apart from the Ranger Wildtrack upon which it’s based, the Thunder gets Sea Grey paint with red accents for the grille and ‘sports hoop’, and many ‘Thunder’ badges. There are 18-inch black wheels you won’t find on any other Ranger, plus Ebony Black touches on the grille, rear bumper, skid plates, fog light surrounds, load bay and door handles. Stealthy.
Step into the cabin on those darkened skid plates, and you’ll find Ebony leather seats with big ‘Thunder’ logos embroidered into the backrests. There’s also red stitching on the seats, steering wheel and centre console.
If you’re using it as a commercial vehicle, you can snag a Ranger Thunder for £32,965 - otherwise, you’ll need to add VAT. Production is limited to 4500 examples across Europe, with 1400 heading to the UK.