Test Drive: The APG Ford Ranger ProRunner Unleashes the Ranger’s Inner Raptor
This bad-ass, off-road conversion kit transforms the Ranger into a reasonably priced, beefed-up desert runner.
U.S. sales figures of the Ford Ranger have climbed in recent months, with the Ranger moving more than 10,000 units combined in May and June-bouncing back from 4,501 total sales in April. The fact Ford doesn't offer the Ford Ranger Raptor in America isn't the most egregious situation in all of automobiledom, but if you're really bent about it, we have good news: The APG 2020 Ford Ranger ProRunner is a legitimate Raptor off-road conversion package designed and made in America.
Ford Performance chief engineer Jamal Hameedi in 2018 said that if the Ford Ranger Raptor made its way to the U.S., it would do well. So, while Ford is yet to confirm the Ranger Raptor's introduction here, Automotive Performance Group in Garden Grove, California, agreed with him, and it stepped into the void to create an off-road Ranger on steroids. We visited its shop for a detailed rundown of the APG 2020 Ford Ranger ProRunner, and we took a quick spin in the truck through the Orange County suburbs.
APG 2020 Ford Ranger ProRunner: The Series 1 Conversion Kit
Parts and installation included, APG for $15,948 transforms a crew-cab standard Ranger (XL, XLT, or Lariat) into a hardcore version of the Ranger Raptor. The APG Series 1 conversion adds an improved front suspension system and a carbon-fiber widebody kit that widens the Ranger's track by 10 inches. The body-panel system includes fenders, bedsides, a fuel-door assembly, an aluminum front winch bumper, and front bumper recovery shackles. Front suspension upgrades consist of upper and lower control arms, a tie rod extension kit, extended length axle shafts, and coilover spacers.
The APG Series 1 conversion allows for 12.5-inches of suspension travel and fitment of up to 35-inch tires; the results are a broader and stronger Ford Ranger with a provocative stance and sharp exterior styling. In practical terms, increased wheel travel and fenders with larger openings improve off-road performance when crawling over rocks, trees, deep ruts, or driving through challenging obstacles. To guarantee individual customization of every truck, the APG conversion kit does not include a preset package of wheels, tires, shocks, or other suspension add-ons.
APG 2020 Ford Ranger ProRunner: Engineered to OEM Standards
APG designs and manufactures all of its body panels and parts in California to, it says, maintain a high-quality build at a cost-effective price. APG recycles all factory ball joints and bushings and uses factory-rated parts in some areas, which means that the Ford Ranger ProRunner can receive service at any Ford dealership after undergoing the APG conversion. APG engineers its suspension components to OEM standards, which allows the parts to fit the truck just like when it rolled out of the factory.
Of its decision to design an off-road conversion kit for the Ford Ranger, APG president George Patrick says, "We chose to use a brand we have great respect for, Ford Motor Company, and took the Ford Ranger one step further. Ideally, we could have used another midsize truck, but we love the Blue Oval, and that's why we decided to work on the Ford platform."
APG says it completely broke apart the Ford Ranger to study its structure and to design a conversion kit that would deliver trail-devouring performance. Sticking to OEM standards in the creation of the APG 2020 Ford Ranger ProRunner, the company does not use overlay fenders or cut the bedsides to glue parts on; the carbon-fiber widebody kit is a complete bolt-on body-panel replacement package using OEM attachment points. The bedsides are deskinned, then re-bonded the same way a Ford-approved commercial body shop would repair any Ford vehicle using factory hardware, adhesives, paint, and body techniques.
2020 Ford Ranger ProRunner: A Drive Through the OC Suburbs
Built for wallowing and treacherous terrain, blasting around Baja, or creating dust storms on a dry lakebed, the APG 2020 Ford Ranger ProRunner's stability and nimbleness also make it a daily driver. We took the truck for a quick drive through the 'burbs on Orange County's smoothly paved roads and found it to be lightweight and easy to drive. To put it in perspective, the ProRunner weighs roughly 1,000 pounds lighter than the Ford F-150 Raptor.
Our ProRunner test model was a SEMA build dressed up to the max with every bell and whistle, a truck APG uses to showcase additional options to its customers. Because of the standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, we did not expect a crazy powerful truck. That said, the upgraded intake and exhaust do make the ProRunner sound more intimidating. Even with the conversion package, the ProRunner still feels nimble, is easy to park, and handles U-turns as a midsize truck should. There is a fair amount of expected road noise while driving on the freeway, but a premium audio system can drown that out if you don't always want an aural reminder of what you're driving.
APG 2020 Ford Ranger ProRunner: A Viable Midsize Truck Option
Serviceability, price, and warranty are three reasons the APG 2020 Ford Ranger ProRunner makes sense as the U.S.-market alternative to the official Ranger Raptor. The APG ProRunner conversion does not negatively impact the Ranger's performance in normal situations, and installing this conversion package does not void the factory Ford warranty.
In terms of pricing, a 4x4 SuperCrew 2020 Ford Ranger XL has a sticker price of roughly $32,165; add the APG Series 1 off-road package for $15,948, and that puts the total cost at just more than $48,100. Hennessey's Ranger Raptor conversion package, the VelociRaptor, costs approximately $4,000 more and is limited to 500 examples. There is, of course, another decked-out midsize truck, the 2020 Chevrolet-AEV Colorado ZR2 Bison, but that setup puts you past the $90,000 mark.
It takes seven days to convert a standard Ranger into an APG 2020 Ford Ranger ProRunner, and there is no limit on the number of conversion kits APG will produce; orders for the Series 1 conversion open on August 1, 2020. Though we can't, due to our limited test-drive experience, speak firsthand to how the truck feels and performs off-road, its apparent build-quality and specs say it should be a solid runner. Along with its on-road drivability and sensible price, Automotive Performance Group's 2020 Ford Ranger ProRunner should hold loads of appeal for a certain type of customer.
APG Series 1 Additional Available Accessories:
- APG rear aluminum bumper with D-rings
- Warn 8000S winch
- Factor 55 ProLink
- Factor 55 fairlead
- Front bumper-integrated KC flex LED lights
- Rear bumper-integrated KC flex LED lights
- KC aluminum roof rack
- LED light bar and side lights
- sPOD Bantam light-system controller