As far as compact pick-up trucks go, the Ford Ranger Raptor is unprecedented, categorically speaking. There’s never been one quite like it, but for some reason the Blue Oval saw fit to build this beast of a vehicle, one that took no less than four years to develop.

This is a proper Raptor, in every sense of the word. Styling-wise, most owners would be able to slap on aftermarket kits for this look, but its true capabilities can never be matched. On the outside, the Ranger T6-based Raptor gets new xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights (high beam is still halogen), Dyno Grey front grille with huge Ford lettering, as well as LED projector fog lamps with air breathers.

It rides on 17-inch Raptor-specific alloys (8.5 inch across) wrapped with specially-designed 285/70 BF Goodrich high performance all-terrain tyres as standard, and between the drive axles are aluminium side steps built to protect the chassis and withstand damage sustained from hardcore off-roading. Extra protection comes from a metal bash plate that’s 2.3 mm thick, which shields parts such as the engine sump, transfer case, radiator, front differential and power steering system.

At the back, the tail lights remain unchanged, and the tailgate benefits from a new spring mechanism which lightens the process of opening and closing. Overall, the Ranger Raptor is 150 mm wider than the standard model, evident through the swelled exterior body panels and accentuated by the Dyno Grey bumper and wheel arches.

Other noteworthy features include keyless entry with push-start button, mud guards, reverse camera and dual tow hooks for the front and rear bumper respectively. A 12 volt socket on the left side of the cargo bed can also be found.

Inside, the top-of-the-line pick-up gets a brand new leather-wrapped steering wheel with a red marker at the 12 o’ clock position, machined magnesium paddle shifters, SYNC 3 head unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionalities, revised gear stick and unique leather-Alcantara sports seats with Raptor embroidery. The rear seats are also new; most stitchings used here are in blue.

If somehow you’ve found a way to dress up your Ranger to this extent, well, good luck sourcing for the following. Lurking under the bonnet is a brand new 2.0 litre EcoBlue bi-turbo diesel (Panther) engine, producing 213 PS and 500 Nm of torque. That’s 13 PS and 30 Nm more than what the 3.2 litre Puma straight-five makes, and power is channeled to the wheels through a brand new Getrag 10R80 10-speed automatic transmission with unique software algorithm.

For keen truckers, the 2,500 kg towing capacity might be off-putting (the standard Ranger has a 3,500 kg towing capacity), considering how much more powerful the new engine is. Bear in mind, the rear subframe no longer uses the rugged leaf spring setup. Instead, it uses a newly-developed coilover suspension with Watt’s linkage – the latter reduces lateral movement when driving, thereby increasing stability.

One of the most lauded components of the Ranger Raptor is the Fox Racing Shox dampers. It features several precisely drilled holes within the tubes (internal bypass system), designed to quickly and progressively displace fluids for optimal off-road performance and on-road comfort. It’s non-adaptive, but no less effective. According to Ford, it’s nearly twice as efficient in thermal performance compared to standard dampers.

Other stats include a taller ride height (up by 150 mm), increased ground clearance (up by 50 mm), approach angle of 32.5 degrees, as well as ramp over angle and departure angle of 24 degrees. Despite this, the centre of gravity is the same as before, and a full-sized spare tyre can be found under the truck bed.

I’ve only just gotten back from test driving it on the arid (and extremely dusty) expanse of the Australian Outback, and let me just say, there really is nothing quite like it. On this side of the world, that is. Stay tuned as we bring you the full review. Meanwhile, do enjoy the gallery below. Has this piqued your interest? Well, you may register your interest on Ford Malaysia’s website. How much would you pay for this?