The Ford Ranger Raptor has set a new benchmark within the local bakkie segment in that it offers a dominating on road presence to match its remarkable off-road ability. It is no easy task to ensure that the vehicle is at its best to deal with the various conditions and many aspects of the Raptor have been meticulously engineered, like the tyres which will now be supplied by General Tire.
The Raptor was originally fitted with BF Goodrich tyres however Ford has now made the move to the award-winning General Grabber AT3. Matching the bespoke suspension and performance characteristics of the Ranger Raptor to the correct tyre is a task that the Ford engineers take very seriously. Accordingly, the tyres were subjected to a punishing range of tests before being selected as the new OE tyre fitted on all Ranger Raptors produced at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant for domestic sales and export markets around the world.
The tyre size (LT 285/70 R17 116/113 S) remains unchanged for the Ranger Raptor, with the LT (light truck) specification incorporating additional reinforcement for heavy-duty applications. This additional size was added to the local Grabber AT3 range during the development process with Ford, which bodes well for the replacement market as this identical tyre is now available off the shelf at your tyre dealer.
Independent testing has also proven the Grabber AT3 to be the benchmark in the all-terrain tyre segment, with its 50/50 on-road/off-road design delivering well-balanced performance for all surfaces. Local sourcing of an OE tyre provides additional benefits for Ford Motor Company in terms of increased local content, along with higher volumes to meet its production targets. The additional production volume for the Port Elizabeth plant is also a major boost for our operations, our employees and suppliers. It further strengthens Continental’s exclusive status as the only tyre company that supplies seven of the major vehicle manufacturers in South Africa.
Key features of the new rubber:
The key technologies that are stand-out features of the General Grabber AT3 include ‘TracGen’, which incorporates an open shoulder design, traction ridges for improved grip on all surfaces, slits arranged at different angles have been added to enhance water dispersion properties for optimal wet grip and braking performance.
‘DuraGen’ is a robust rubber compound that provides excellent cut and chip resistance and increases mileage in rough terrain, while reinforced tread blocks reduce deformation. This improves tread life in rugged terrain and maximises stability under load. Additionally, ultra-high-strength steel belts ensure an even footprint to further aid stability.
Furthermore, the Grabber AT3’s ‘ComfortBalance’ successfully overcomes the conflicting interests of on-road ride comfort and good off-road grip. The balanced block geometry of the tread, with low stiffness and the specially modified arrangement of the blocks in the centre of the tread, reduces vibration in the tyre for maximum comfort, matched to optimised acoustics for impressively low noise levels.