The pickup truck segment in the passenger vehicle market in India never really kicked off, even though it had the potential to lure many enthusiasts. Pickup trucks, especially in western countries, are an ideal lifestyle vehicle for lifestyle adventures and weekend campings.
Unfortunately in India, barring one or two, all pickup trucks like Tata Xenon (renamed into Yoddha) and Mahindra Bolero Camper have been limited to performing commercial activities. However, it seems that things might change in future with more demands for lifestyle-oriented pickup trucks.
India’s homologation free rule for OEMs who plan to import cars and sell them under 2,500 units per year; has opened new gates. If a car maker wants to import a car which is already on sale outside India, and sell it in limited numbers of less than 2,500 per year, they do not have to go through the lengthy homologation process in India.
Thanks to this, more and more car brands are launching imported cars in India. A report now states that Ford India has plans to launch Ranger Raptor pickup as well as their premium hatchbacks Focus in India via this homologation-free route.
This report comes after images of a test mule of the pickup truck went viral a few weeks ago and generated quite a bit of buzz. Recently, images of a spanking new Ranger surfaced online which bore a temporary registration plate suggesting that the owner of the vehicle had most probably imported it privately.
It is clear there is a growing interest in lifestyle pickup trucks and Ford Ranger is arguably the most popular in this space. The report further suggests that Ford might import less than 2500 units of the performance pickup via the CBU (Completely Built Unit) route thus it wouldn’t require any homologation charges. The model spotted earlier was the standard Ranger but the Raptor is a completely different beast altogether.
Along with the Ranger Raptor, Ford will also introduce Focus and Focus ST premium hatchbacks in India in a similar fashion. Though hatchbacks, these will be more of a lifestyle statement. Focus sits above the Fiesta in the company’s global line-up.
It is offered with 1.0 liter turbo 3cyl petrol 125 PS option as well as 2.0 turbo 4cyl petrol 160 PS option. Top of the line Focus ST is offered with 2.3l EcoBoost motor, that generates 280 PS. Mated to 7 speed automatic, this can do 0-100 kmph in 5.7 seconds. If launched, this will be the most powerful hatchback ever to be launched in India.
Starting with its powertrain, it draws its power from a 2.0-litre twin-turbo Ecoboost diesel engine which cranks out 210 bhp and 500 Nm of peak torque. It sends power to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic unit. The 4×4 drivetrain comes with 6 modes within a Terrain Management System which include Normal, Grass / Gravel / Snow, Mud / Sand, Sport, Rock and Baja. The last one is by far the most intriguing one as it reduces chassis interventions for maximum attack over rough terrains.
Raptor also shares its underpinning with Endeavour (internationally known as Everest) and is based on the same ladder on frame chassis as its SUV sibling. The new Raptor comes with beefed up front suspension towers which further strengthens the chassis to take extra knocks and carry an extra load. At rear, the load bearing conventional leaf springs have been replaced by Watt’s linkage similar to the one found in Endeavour. This helps in gaining greater directional stability.
It is equipped with massive 285mm all-terrain tyres which offer impressive traction. Add to that it gets a huge 283 mm ground clearance and a water-wading depth of 800mm signifying its off-roading prowess. What enhances its off-roading ability is 2.5-inch off-road racing coil-overs which are sourced from race truck specialist Fox. This results in 30 percent more wheel travel. Elaborating on suspension setup, it gets special shocks that give Raptor the ability to fly over rough terrains at high speeds.
Both, Focus and Ranger Raptor is likely to hit showrooms in India in the second half of next year. One can expect this lifestyle performance off-roader to cost northwards of Rs 70 lakh while the Focus hatchback to cost around Rs 45 lakhs (ex-showroom, India).