A product that Ford should have given us long back

Hennessey has been ripping up cars and trucks and turning them into something even more monstrous for quite some time now. We recently saw the tuner’s Jeep creation in the form of the Gladiator Maximus with the Hellcat engine and 1,000 horses that came with it. However, Hennessey is best-known for its Ford creations. Remember the 6x6 VelicoRaptor concept? The company already deals with the Raptor, Mustang, F-150, and GT, and will soon be adding the 2020 Bronco as well. But for now, the tuner has decided to expand the Ford portfolio by adding the 2019 Ranger. Although a clever word play back then, it’s clear now that ’VelociRaptor’ is not dedicated solely to the Ford Raptor anymore; perhaps, it refers to the dinosaur. So what if Ford does not want to give us the Ranger Raptor? Hennessey is here to listen to us.

Ford Ranger Overview

2019 Ford Ranger Exterior
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Let’s talk about the standard Ford Ranger a little first. The 2019 Ford Ranger has returned after an eight-year exile in the United States, and is offered in three trims - XL, XLT, and Lariat. The VelociRaptor is based on the Lariat trim itself. This top-of-the-line trim comes with all the bells and whistles that Ford has to offer on the truck. On the outside, it features a distinct grille when compared to the lower trims, and also comes with LED headlights and fog lamps. Like any other Ford, the Ranger, too, is offered with a plethora of optional accessories. On the inside, it features Dual-zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control, Ambient lighting, Cruise Control, and SYNC3 Entertainment System, to name a few.

As for the drivetrain, the Ranger is powered by a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder, EcoBoost engine that puts out 270 horses and 310 pound-feet of torque.

The mill is mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox that makes the engine feel sprightly and is eager to swipe through the gear range. The Ranger comes with a rear-wheel-drive configuration as standard, but can be bought in the four-wheel-drive avatar as well. As for the towing and payload capacities, they are rated at 7,500 and 1,860 pounds, respectively. Is the Ranger a good but smaller replacement for the base trims of the F-150?

Exterior

  • Hennessey-exclusive bumpers
  • Bullbar on the bumper
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • 18-inch wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich tires
  • Four-inch lift-kit
2019 Ford Ranger VelociRaptor by Hennessey
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Hennessey has given the Ranger the black treatment and it makes us go weak in our knees.

No matter how much the tuner chops and tweaks its vehicles, you can expect it to look smashing. Upfront, the stock bumper has been swapped with a Hennessey-exclusive VelociRaptor bumper with LED lights and ’VelociRaptor’ branding. The bumper is a short and stout unit that immensely increases the approach angle. It has a bullbar attached to it and the blackened grille looks exceptional with those two vertical slats and the Ford logo in between. The top end of the grille has RANGER embossed on it. The hood has been left untouched, but the windshield receives ’Hennessey’ branding on it. An underbody protection cover has been provided to make sure the parts underneath don’t get damaged when you take this baby off-roading.

2019 Ford Ranger VelociRaptor by Hennessey
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The side profile looks pretty cool, thanks to those bulbous tires and the flared wheel arches. The round wheel arches take up most of the space on the fenders and come with a pretty cool bullet-shot kind of design. Of course, there is no chrome treatment anywhere on the body. The wing mirrors house the turn signal indicators, while the fender wears an engine displacement badge. The Hennessey VelociRaptor Rangers rides on 18-inch wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich off-road tires. The front door and the side of the truck bed receive VelociRaptor and Hennessey stickers. Interestingly, Hennessey has not provided any side steps on the truck. I think they would have added a lot of character to the body.

2019 Ford Ranger VelociRaptor by Hennessey
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Somehow, Hennessey has managed to make the rear look very handsome. This is one aspect that many automakers have not been able to crack and generally end up making the derriere look very boring.

This truck's tailgate is slapped with the Ford logo in the center, the bottom part is embossed with RANGER, while the tuner's name is pasted on the left and 'VelociRaptor' on the right.

The taillights are LED units and look stunning in action. They protrude to the sidewall of the truck as well, thus making the lights visible when viewed from the side. The exhaust pipe peeps from the side, and for once, looks decently placed on a Hennessey product.

Interior

  • Hennessey embroidered headrests
  • Serial numbered plaques in the cabin
  • SYNC3 Entertainment system
  • Heated Leather Seats
  • Ambient Lighting
2019 Ford Ranger VelociRaptor by Hennessey
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Since the truck is based on the Lariat trim, it is loaded to the gills. This works in the favor of the customer because after-market companies don’t work as much on the interior as they do on the exterior or under the hood. The cabin follows the dark theme and exudes luxury all around. There is no dearth of space whatsoever and the cabin is comfortable for five people. Ford’s SYNC3 system takes care of the entertainment needs of the passengers. It supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with Navigation and Wi-Fi hotspot. Hennessey has not made a lot of changes inside, except for the Hennessey embroidering on the headrests and the serial number plaque below the central touchscreen.

2019 Ford Ranger VelociRaptor by Hennessey
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The standard Lariat features have been retained and I’ve listed them below:

  • Dual 4.2" Productivity Screens
  • Ambient lighting
  • Automatic high beams
  • Heated Leather Seats
  • Locking Glove Box
  • Leather-wrapped Steering wheel
  • Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Cruise control

Drivetrain

  • 2.3-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine
  • 360 Horsepower
  • 440 Pound-feet of torque
  • 10-speed automatic gearbox
  • 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds
  • Catback exhaust system
  • Increased Approach, Departure, and Breakover angles
2019 Ford Ranger VelociRaptor by Hennessey
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The most exciting part of the Hennessey VelociRaptor Ranger is what's under the hood.

Unlike the Jeep Gladiator mod where Hennessey swapped the stock 3.6-liter engine with the 6.2-liter, V-8 Hellcat engine, the one on this Ranger has been retained. However, thanks to a new engine management software and a high-flow air intake, the engine gets a power bump of 90 horses and 130 pound-feet of torque. This means the power figures stand at 360 ponies and 440 pound-feet of torque. The 0-60 mph figure has also come down by over two seconds, which means the Ranger can sprint to the mark in 4.9 seconds flat. To put things into perspective, this is the same figure as a Porsche 718 Cayman. Fancy, huh?

2019 Ford Ranger VelociRaptor by Hennessey
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The 10-speed automatic gearbox has been retained as it is. It works well with the stock engine on the Ranger, but not so well with the VelociRaptor mill on steroids. The peak torque is achieved at 3,800 rpm and this creates turbo lag at lower RPMs. On a modded truck like this, you need to have a gearbox that is eager is go all the way to the redline before upshifting. But this transmission is tuned to upshift earlier and does not justify the extra power available at your disposal. Hennessey has installed a stainless steel catback exhaust system which grunts sweetly when the engine is revved hard. There is no word on towing and payload capacities, so I’m guessing there’s no change in that. The stock Ford Ranger comes with towing and payload rating of 7,500 and 1,860 pounds, respectively.

2019 Ford Ranger VelociRaptor by Hennessey
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The ride and handling could have been better, to say the least.

The Hennessey VelociRaptor Ranger is offered with Hennessey's Stage 1 suspension lift-kit that raises the truck by four inches.

This means the truck ground clearance is now 12.4 inches. I think this was done to accommodate the huge 285/70 off-road tires. The high-profile tires, coupled with the lift kit offers a comfortable ride on tarmac, but loses out on the overall comfort experience. The feedback from the steering is not impressive and this has also increased the road noise on high speeds. We have seen better work from Hennessey and have higher expectations from the tuner. Perhaps, that’s why it feels a lot more disappointing that it should. However, the lift-kit raises the truck off the ground by four inches that has helped increased the approach, departure, and breakover angles. You can now get adventurous without having to hit the underbody when climbing grades or wading the water.

Pricing

2019 Ford Ranger VelociRaptor by Hennessey
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If you purchase this truck from Hennessey, it will cost you $64,950 - that includes the cost of the donor Ranger FX4 Lariat. However, if you want to source the truck yourself and just give it the Hennessey treatment, you can get it done for $19,950.

Final Thoughts

2019 Ford Ranger VelociRaptor by Hennessey
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Although $20,000 is not cheap by any means, I would still go for it if I were looking to get my Ranger modded. This is because another Ford-approved tuner, RTR, charges $12,750 to work on the F-150 for upgrades that are just aesthetic. It does not include any power bumps and is not as rich as the Hennessey’s upgrade on the Ranger. SVE charges $40,000 over the Canyon to make it a ’Syclone.’ Heck, even Tuscany makes you pay more than the VelociRaptor upgrade for the Black Ops Edition for your F-Series. When compared to all these tuners, the Hennessey one feels worth the money. Not to mention, you still get the 3 year/36,000 miles warranty as well. Only 500 units of the VelociRaptor Ranger will be produced in 2019.

With that said, if you are looking for a serious off-roader, I would suggest you look at the Ford F-150 Raptor or the Chevy Colrado ZR2 that will help fulfill the craving better. If you are hell-bent on getting the VelociRaptor Ranger with better off-roading prowess, you can wait for a little time as Hennessey will be offering Stage 2 and Stage 3 suspension upgrades soon.

  • Leave it
    • Not an off-roader despite having the credentials
    • The F-150 Raptor is priced lower and feels more competent
    • Gearbox does not complement the upgraded engine

Further Reading

2019 Ford Ranger Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Ranger.

2019 Ford Ranger Raptor Exterior
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2019 Ford Ranger Raptor

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor.

2017 Ford Ranger Black Edition High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Ranger Black Edition.

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