Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall
buildings dunes in a single bound! Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Superman the 2020 Hennessey Velociraptor Ranger!
With the reintroduction of the Ford Ranger in North America in 2019 after its 8 year absence, heavy metal alchemist John Hennessey of the eponymously named Hennessey Performance immediately got to work on a Raptor-ized version of the mid-size truck. Launching amid fanfare and some good reviews, the 2019 Hennessey Velociraptor was even compared - favorably! - against its big brother - the full size Ford Raptor based on the F-150. And while not the be all end all to automobile comparisons - but we do like drag races around here! - the Hennessey massaged Ranger bested the Ford Raptor in the quarter mile. Take that big brother!
Given what's under the hood of the Velociraptor, it's no surprise. Upping the horsepower of the stock Ford Ranger from 270 to 360 and torque from 310 to 440 ft-lbs was achieved without uncorking the motor. A good free flowing exhaust and software upgrade allowed the motor to breathe. Chassis and dyno tuning enabled Hennessey to dial-in the already excellent Ranger driving dynamics with the added power to make it an even more capable off-road performer.
Indeed, the Hennessey package is about more than straight line performance. While most of the enhancements are purely aesthetic, you can't very well call something a Velociraptor if it doesn't excel off road - a place where this beast truly shines!
And thankfully, Hennessey kept the formula simple for the 2020 model with little changed from the 2019 version. Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire recently put the 2020 Velociraptor Ranger through its paces. He came away genuinely impressed with its off road manners and ease of use. You can skip the first minute unless you want to see Matt cooking steak.
Farah did, however, raise an interesting point at the end of the video which definitely has merit. As the "new" Ford Ranger is based on the Ford of Australia Ranger T6 in production since 2011(!) there really isn't that much new about the truck. All this is true. But does this detract from the Ranger's performance and that of the Hennessey off-road variant? I don't think so.
The global Ranger was a mainstay in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America during those same years when there was no Ranger in the North American market. To be sure, European variants such as the Wildtrak and Asian versions based on the Mazda BT-50 - come on Mazda you can come up with something better than that! - continue to be popular. Ford found a recipe that worked and leveraged their global product portfolio to bring the much beloved truck back home. And once it arrived, Hennessey worked his magic on it, as he is wont to do. OK, too much talking. Let's hit the sand. Buckle up!