Last year I accompanied a colleague up the Breedtsnek Pass in Magaliesburg to test the capabilities of an R1-million 4×4 and see how it would stack up against the trail.
Mostly used for mountain biking, the gravel-and-rock trail also offers 4×4 riders a moderate to difficult challenge as you make your way across the provincial border between Gauteng and Northwest.
After completing this journey with my colleague, I was amazed at what we have achieved and I promised one day that my family would record this pass so that they too could experience the beauty in our backyard.
After equipping myself with the necessary knowledge about using a 4×4 for off-road purposes, I was ready to embark on my first solo trek over the Breedtsnek pass.
That’s why I was ecstatic when I got the news that I would be testing the Ford Ranger Raptor Special Edition. I knew I would finally be able to share the beautiful view at the top with my wife and children.
So I had her prepare a picnic for us to have when we reached the top of the mountain and we set out on a very cloudy Saturday morning.
I was a little nervous at first that the pass would be too muddy and challenging, but once I looked at the Raptor’s spec sheet, I was sure that this monster of a 4×4 would make it through this journey.
Fortunately, when we got to the pass, the weather had cleared and I started the short trek over the pass. I just switched the transmission to low range, changed the riding mode to gravel and we were off.
One thing I like about the Raptor is how easy it is to use off-road. Anyone could do it in this special edition Raptor, it’s that simple, especially with the raised suspension that gives you extra ground clearance.
The 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine gives the bakkie enough power to get going fairly quickly, 157 kW to be exact, but if you’re off-road you don’t need much speed – although the torque can be as high as 500 Nm useful on the more challenging rocky sections.
Being a double cab there was plenty of room for the kids and grandma in the back, but I would have preferred there might have been more storage under the rear seats. The model comes with a sliding door on the back, but it was unfortunately not waterproof.
The seats were comfortable, upholstered in Alcantara leather with Raptor logos on the headrests and you could tell special attention was paid to the dashboard, with red stitching on the seams, as well as the center console.
The media system was easy to operate and connect, and although it had integrated voice controls, I would have liked to have been able to operate the media system with buttons on the steering wheel. Instead, this device used the touchscreen, combined with voice control.
Overall, this is what I envision the perfect off-road car. It can switch from a road to an all-terrain vehicle in no time at all. Its sheer size shows you mean it, as you tower over the other cars in traffic.
Plus, ease of use is one of my favorite features. I love the fact that it is so easy to drive such a large vehicle and feel comfortable.
This ease of use allowed me to share this special experience with my family and create memories that will last forever.