The scheduled arrival of the all-new Toyota Hilux next week should confirm the fact that the Philippines has become a very good market for pickup trucks. While still not as big as Thailand's, our local pickup market has fast evolved into a dynamic and competitive one, with the likes of the Nissan Navara, the Isuzu D-Max, the Mitsubishi Strada, the Mazda BT-50, the Ford Ranger and the aforementioned Hilux all trying to outmuscle each other for a slice of the business.
Right now, the Ranger is the hottest-selling of the lot, with the Navara in spirited pursuit. Ford has already announced that an updated version is on its way to our market very soon, together with a revised Ranger Wildtrak. But although we agree that the Wildtrak is a truly badass truck, we also believe that a far more desirable pickup model resides in Ford Motor Company's stable--the F-150 Raptor.
The F-Series is no longer available in our market. It once was when the American carmaker made a comeback in the late '90s, but the company has since pulled it out, perhaps owing to the increased success of the Ranger and the escalating costs of fuel over the last decade. But that shouldn't stop us from dreaming of seeing the Raptor on our terra firma. It would surely make even the proud and mighty Ranger Wildtrak look puny in comparison.
Consider: An all-new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that is said to be more powerful than the current 6.2-liter V8 already rated at 411hp. An all-new 10-speed transmission. A military-grade, aluminum-alloy body that is touted as being more than 500lb lighter than the previous Raptor. An all-new four-wheel-drive, torque-on-demand transfer case complemented by an equally new terrain management system. Standard Fox Racing Shox with "custom internal bypass technology."
This is the pickup we'd want to be driving if we got caught in the middle of a natural calamity.
And this beast isn't just tough--it's gorgeous straight out of the showroom. Give us one in black and we guarantee you nobody will pay attention to a cruising Huracan.
The F-150 Raptor will officially go on sale in North America next year. We hope Ford Philippines can ship some units in.